10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

10 Best Anti-Heroes In Gaming History

From Joel’s traumatic experiences in The Last of Us to Kratos’ violent past in God of War, there are some unforgettable anti-heroes in popular games.

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10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

As narratives in games become more complex over time, protagonists’ story arcs have veered away from typical heroism. Anti-heroes have become increasingly popular over the years, in large part thanks to iconic characters that players know and love.

An anti-hero is a character who lacks the typical heroic traits. Their mistakes are part of what makes them so appealing to players. From Arthur Morgan’s questionable decisions in Red Dead Redemption 2 to Kratos’ violent past in God of War, the best anti-heroes prove that flaws can improve and contribute to creating a likable in-game character.

Arthur Morgan – Red Dead Redemption 2

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

There are many things that make Red Dead Redemption 2 an engrossing RPG, from historically accurate characters like the Aberdeens to the numerous side quests and compelling narrative. One thing that makes the Western-inspired title a cut above the rest is its complicated protagonist, Arthur Morgan.

Arthur’s story arc takes several twists and turns, starting from his daring heist with his friends to his difficult decision to choose his newfound principles over his group. His guilt-ridden actions towards the end are part of what makes him such a powerful and unforgettable anti-hero.

Agent 47 – Hitman

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

The entertainment value of the Hitman series is heavily centered on Agent 47’s ability to murder whoever gets in his way. As the 47th and most effective clone, he’s used by the International Contract Agency to assassinate high-value targets.

There’s no denying that the protagonist’s story arc is a dark one, but it’s still easy to empathize with him during his more vulnerable moments. He does show that despite the intense gene modification and brutal training, he still has human traits that occasionally compel him to do the right thing, however twisted it may seem.

Johnny Gat – Saints Row

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

One of the most disappointing facts about the highly anticipated Saints Row reboot is that it won’t feature any of the lovable and wacky characters from the previous games in the series. Johnny Gat is one of the Saints Row staples whom gamers will definitely miss, although fans who followed his story know that it makes sense that he won’t be around.

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The complicated character originally joined the Saints because of his hatred for violence and all the pain it causes. He ironically turns into an aggressive and trigger-happy character despite this motivation, but his carefree personality, fierce loyalty, and crass humor make him nearly impossible to hate.

Trevor Philips – Grand Theft Auto V

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

Grand Theft Auto V is unsurprisingly full of zany and often violent characters, with Trevor standing out as a prominent anti-hero in the game. Trevor often makes GTA V’s story more unpredictable and exciting, as he has the unfortunate tendency of murdering anyone who annoys him.

Although he may seem like an unstable brute on the surface, Trevor’s chaotic past is revealed to be more complex than it initially seems. He has to learn to come to terms with his friends’ betrayal and he starts to trust again thanks to Franklin — in between killing and maiming NPCs, of course.

Max Payne – Max Payne

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

The protagonist’s descent into the seedy underworld is masterfully portrayed in the Max Payne series. After Max’s family is mercilessly murdered, he turns into an anti-hero whose only goal is to exact vengeance on those responsible for his wife and daughter’s deaths.

His story arc is brilliantly designed in a way that allows players to empathize with the increasingly aggressive character. Despite his drug and alcohol addiction and his eventual ties with the mafia, fans can’t help but root for Max, whose only major mistake was arguably being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bayonetta – Bayonetta Series

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

It’s rare for a female character to be cast as an anti-hero, which is part of what makes the Bayonetta series’ eponymous protagonist so special. Bayonetta embodies the traits that women are often wrongly criticized for, which include her lust for power, confidence, and attitude towards sexuality.

Her character embraces all these traits and they make her an unstoppable force in the face of angels and demons. She’s unapologetic and brave, as she can courageously navigate the world without her memories and save her best friend from the depths of hell in style.

Geralt Of Rivia – The Witcher

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

Fans of Geralt don’t just admire him for his strength in The Witcher games, as it’s his story arc that really makes it easy to empathize with him. As a “witcher,” Geralt’s brutal training and genetic modifications make it easy for him to take down the foulest creatures, whether they’re monsters or humans.

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The way his kind is treated by others has contributed to his general pessimism and despise for humanity. The anti-hero’s obvious shift in his beliefs is endearing, especially because it involves equally compelling characters like Ciri and Yennefer.

Dante – Devil May Cry Series

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

As the recurring protagonist in the Devil May Cry series, fans have watched Dante grow and change over time. The Devil Hunter’s motivation for killing evil creatures is clear, as gamers know about his tragic experience with his family.

What makes him so charming is his personality, as he’s mostly a flippant and seemingly uncaring character during the first games, even when up against terrifying creatures and unfortunate odds. Players eventually learn that his laidback demeanor doesn’t take away from his intense drive to rid the world of malevolent forces, even if it means turning his back on his own family.

Joel Miller – The Last Of Us

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

In a world ravaged by the Infected, it’s not surprising to find questionable characters like Joel who are willing to do anything to survive. The Last of Us underscores the morally gray actions people have to resort to in order to stay alive and players can’t be blamed for cheering Joel on despite his flaws.

His relationship with the relatively naïve Ellie highlights how jaded he has become after his daughter’s death. Because the anti-hero finds himself inevitably attached to her, he ends up making the best or worst decision in the franchise, depending on how players look at it.

Kratos – God Of War

10 Best AntiHeroes In Gaming History

God of War’s Kratos is the epitome of the classic anti-hero. As a Spartan warrior who reluctantly takes his seat among the gods, he has gone through countless horrifying experiences, which are often caused by his own decisions.

Although the gods are far from perfect in the popular RPG, Kratos’ heinous actions are still ultimately his own. He has repeatedly killed or caused the deaths of those around him, yet somehow manages to be a likable protagonist. His struggle with his bloody past is especially highlighted in the 2018 game, as he comes to terms with who he is and what he has done. Fans will have to wait a bit longer to see how he changes and sets an example for Atreus in Ragnarök.

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