9 most iconic vigilantes in gaming, ranked

9 most iconic vigilantes in gaming, ranked

Video game developers like to create evil villainous antagonists, who are ready to cause anarchy in their title. But their ability to combat this evil with good gives them even more satisfaction, often allowing the player to control this determined vigilante.

With most games today consisting of brutally challenging enemies, it’s only fitting that these despicable characters are met with force. Usually masked, these individuals range far beyond pointless battles, offering storied lore, intimate ambitions, and even personal vendettas. Despite not all having the same morals and values, these select few share the same interest in taking the law into their own hands, cementing their position as icons in the gaming industry.

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9/9 Aiden Pearce – Watch Dogs

Aiden Pearce with hacking device and mask

Ubisoft’s was unleashed in 2014 Watchdogs sought dominance within the gaming industry, aiming to take the throne in regards to hacking-related titles. This third-person RPG allows the player to take full control of the eminent Aiden Pearce, infiltrating the likes of trains, traffic lights and security cameras via his plethora of high-tech devices.

Despite Watchdogs‘ soft-sounding nature, the violently menacing antagonists, ctOS, retaliate with death when Aiden crosses the line, thus creating a destructive vigilante with a sworn vendetta. From his ingenious hacking strategies to his witty dialogue with NPCs, Aiden always manages to right what’s wrong, whether it’s a stranger’s dilemma, or the vicious revenge he seeks, ultimately confirming his place as an icon among vigilantes.

Snake holding up night vision goggles

Konami’s acclaimed stealth series dates back to 1987 Metal Gear has paved the way for gaming, establishing the action-adventure scene as fans may know it today. With the ultimate premise revolving around saving the world, players are tasked with controlling a special forces operative known as Venom Snake in an attempt to prevent nuclear fanatics from destroying the planet.

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Though enormous, each member of Snake Solid shares the same mission: to take down the belligerent Outer Sky Enemy. Known for his stealthy nature, Venom Snake prides himself on his stealth tactics, strategically concealing his identity while quietly yet violently assassinating his antagonists. Despite his rough-and-tumble persona, devoted fans of Metal Gear franchise admires his vengeful outlook, placing him in the circle of iconic vigilantes.

7/9 Rico Rodriguez – Just Cause

Rico Rodriguez

Avalanche Studios broke out with an explosive launch in 2006 with its long-awaited Just Reason franchise, which provides players with a chaotic, physics-defying role-playing game. From its wide variety of gadgets and traversal methods to its destructive pyrotechnic weapons, this lawlessly anarchic title is cherished by fans worldwide, largely due to Avalanche Studios’ renowned Rico Rodriguez.

Loyal to the agency, Rico Rodriguez is placed at the heart of Just Reason‘s San Esperito, roughly tasked with overthrowing Salvador Mendoza’s miserable dictatorship. Despite his vicious nature when faced with corrupt military, Rico Rodriguez develops a vigilante persona, helping those affected by the barbaric government inflicted upon them. Combining elements of stealth, dialogue and highly intellectual strategy, Rico Rodriguez cements his place as a vigilante icon in modern gaming.

6/9 Jason Brody – Far Cry

Jason Brody

With its first release in 2004, Ubisoft’s Far Cry franchise boasted a prosperous attendance, picking up awards along the way. Although a relatively common genre for titles at the time, Far Cryits assertive position in the RPG scene was clear, depicting aspects other developers had not dared to delve into. Expensive, crazy and downright bizarre, Ubisoft’s open world first-person shooter had players captivated by the scenery, character interactions and traversal techniques, but most importantly everything, their standout memorable Jason Brody.

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Once an innocent thrill seeker, Jason’s overall character development can be seen as an example of incorporating backstory, as his violent nature, in regards to fighting pirates, contrasts with his personality at the beginning of the title. Although his vendetta against Vaas Montenegro is a brutal one, his vigilante essence is strongly prevalent, albeit through his NPC interactions. He is determined to rid the island of evil, and cement his position as an icon in the gaming industry.

5/9 Soldier: 76 – Overwatch

Soldier: 76 Running with Pulse Rifle

Released in 2016, Blizzard’s Overwatch franchise burst onto the scene with tremendous force, offering players a huge variety of playable heroes, each unique in abilities. From its deep lore to its drastically competitive battles, Overwatch has confirmed its place as a first-person shooter classic in modern gaming, setting the bar high for contenders.

Within the ever-evolving roster sits the beloved Soldier: 76, an original cast member from Blizzard’s lucrative launch. Equipped with a destructive Heavy Pulse Rifle, Soldier: 76’s history gives rise to his iconic status among vigilantes. His undying loyalty to protecting innocent lives from the villainous Talon, sworn to serve Overwatch, contrasts with his tough personality as he constantly puts himself in great danger to save the world. As iconic vigilantes go, Soldier:76’s place in this collective group is a well-deserved one.

4/9 Miles Morales – Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Miles Morales maskless in spider suit

Insomniac Games’ 2020 release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales was everything the superhero community asked for, and more. Players were surprised by the sheer level of customization offered, in terms of suits, weapons and combat combinations, and the freedom given to swing around New York City. Gamers were engrossed in this title.

Loyal to the comics, Spider-Man: Miles Morales accurately portraying Miles Morales’ most admirable qualities, defending the lush city from malevolent antagonists. In keeping with the other iterations of the beloved superhero, Miles Morales does not take credit for his laudable efforts, nor does he reveal his identity, ensuring his position as a vigilante icon.

3/9 Batman – Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman in front of Gotham City

Rocksteady Studios continued with the superhero awakening theme and saw the impactful launch of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009, boasting an acclamation from devoted fans. This immersive role-playing game places players in the heart of Gotham City’s mental asylum, ready to face Batman’s archenemy, the Joker.

RELATED: Games That Let You Control the Villain for a Short Period of Time

Although repeated in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bruce Wayne’s secretive Batman persona comes to most players’ minds when considering vigilante icons, recalling his highly effective skill set. Armed with a plethora of technologically advanced equipment, Batman takes the vigilante motif to another level, never once impugning his hidden identity, or taking credit for his actions, definitively defining him as a memorable vigilante icon.

2/9 John Marston – Read Dead Redemption

John Marston with gun in hand

The transformation of the gaming industry was achieved in part through Rockstar’s historic Red Dead Redemption franchise, released to the public in 2010. Positioning itself directly on the throne of role-playing games, Red Dead Redemption has inevitably classified itself as a critically acclaimed title, curating the foundation for game developers alike.

Set in 1911, players are thrust into a lawless Western North America, depicted through the eyes of John Marston, a former outlaw. After his family is captured, his personal vendetta is fueled by anxiety, which consequently rekindles his gun-toting mind into a maddened rage. Whether on foot or on horseback, John Marston consistently rightes wrongs, albeit under circumstances that best suit his nature, be it helping NPCs in great danger or need, or even framing criminals the court. As far as ruthless cowboys go, John Marston’s heroic actions speak for themselves, solidifying his position as an iconic vigilante.

1/9 Ezio Auditore da Firenze — Assassin’s Creed

Ezio Auditore De Firenze

Arguably one of the most venerable franchises of all time, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed took to the scene in 2007, treading through uncharted territory within the gaming industry. With a poignant immersive story, Assassin’s Creed boasted elements of parkour and stealth in an attempt to dominate the RPG genre, inevitably resulting in a masterpiece of modern gaming.

Finding iconic vigilantes in games can be a painstaking task, but a certified name would be that of Ezio Auditore De Firenze, an Italian master assassin, member of the extremely hidden brotherhood. Equipped with various damage-inflicted devices, this renaissance assassin never fails to mask his identity, blending into crowds and bringing those who pose an evil threat to justice, undoubtedly cementing his place as an icon among vigilantes.

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