The Top 7... Most giving characters in gaming

5. Commander Shepard

From: Mass Effect series

How many people can say they've risked their lives to save mankind not once, but twice? That's the story with Commander Shepard, who sacrificed her/himself to save the galaxy, only to do it all again when he/she is resurrected by Project Lazarus. Shepard doesn't just care about humanity as a whole, though; behind the galaxy-saving heroics is someone who is deeply empathetic for every member of his/her crew and any person who is willing to battle just as hard as she/he is for the greater good. There's a reason there's so much emphasis placed on getting to know your shipmates beyond just discovering their reach and flexibility; these people are so inspired by Shepard's generosity and drive that they're willing to do exactly what Shepard did: give their lives for the cause. You've got to be doing something right if people are willing to risk that much for your mission.

Whether you play Shepard as renegade or paragon, you're still left with the same fearless resistance, the same desire to take the best course of action, defeat evil, and ensure the galaxy doesn't fade away forever. If Shepard had a code for infinite lives, she/he would give every single one of them to fight the Geth, the Reapers and anyone else who would stand in humanity's way. These are the things that heroes are made of.

4. Subject Delta

From: Bioshock 2

Some bonds are unbreakable; and that's exactly the case for Subject Delta and Eleanor Lamb in BioShock 2. They’re tied together eternally when they are forced to become the original Big Daddy and Little Sister. Their love never dies, not even when their bond is severed by Eleanor’s lunatic mother, Sofia, in an attempt to reclaim her daughter for some twisted higher purpose. Taking on the leader of Rapture, a completely psychotic woman set on some manifest-destiny ideal in an underwater world, Delta is out to set things right in this false utopia. But what sets Delta apart is that he's never really about revenge. He carries only a single thought in his head, and that’s to rescue Eleanor.

While some might argue that Delta is driven by his irresistible, genetically programmed bond with Eleanor, he goes far above the call of duty during his journey. He proves he's not simply in it for himself, ensuring that Eleanor has a shot to live her own life. It's worth the wrath of Sofia and all her fanatical Splicers just to see Eleanor alive and happy. In the end, his bond with Eleanor is broken again, but that does nothing to deter him, and he sacrifices his own life to see Eleanor escape safely.It's strange to think that a bond created so artificially would feel so genuine, but Subject Delta gave Eleanor a life – and depending on your choices, he gave Eleanor a part of himself, too.

3. Ethan Mars

From: Heavy Rain

How far would you go to save someone you love? If you're Ethan Mars, you're not only willing to give your own life, but also torture yourself to save your son. Mars isn't a superhero, space marine or knight; he's just a father looking for his son. Throughout Heavy Rain, he's pitted against increasingly dangerous trials by the evil Origami Killer, one of the more sadistic villains in games today. Ethan doesn't care about getting shocked by high-voltage wires, driving the wrong way down a busy freeway, cutting off his own finger or (in a totally dramatic, this-is-what-it-all-comes-down-to-moment) drinking deadly poison, so long as it means he’ll get a hint on how to see his son again. 

Sometimes, love is stronger than our Darwinian predisposition to stay alive. Putting the life of a single person above your own is the most selfless act we can think of. What would you have done against the Origami killer? It takes an intense amount of willpower to do what Ethan did to prove that love is worth everything, and that when faced with the greatest fear of his life, a man is capable of doing just about anything. As Ethan himself says, "Everything I did, I did for love."


Top 7


  • oddprophet - November 23, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    What about Tom Nook from Animal Crossing? He gave you an entire house! And all he asked for in return was your love (and your wallet)
  • Darkhawk - November 27, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    Don't get me started on that bastard. "Oh, here's a house. Now you owe me 8 million Animal-Bucks." "Oh, so you've paid off your debt, eh? Well good thing I ordered that addition for 4 million more... MWAHAHAHAHAHA~"
  • ranivus - November 23, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    Female sheperd... good choice.
  • CitizenWolfie - November 23, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Wow, a GR article where Heavy Rain gets a POSITIVE mention? April Fool's was ages ago guys! But seriously, what about Agro from SOTC? He goes through the whole game asking nothing from Wander yet willingly takes him to the furthest reaches of the map and help you fight huge monsters. And even, EVEN after all that, (spoilers) sacrifices himself to ensure you complete your task. And even THEN, (spoilers again) manages to limp ALL the way back to the temple out of loyalty to his master. Agro is surely the most heroically selfless character in recent gaming history.
  • El Dango - November 23, 2011 7:10 a.m.

    Jade can also give people some of her stuff, so that's like a literal thing. Hurray!
  • jmcgrotty - November 23, 2011 1:36 a.m.

    I would have said the Hot Coffee girl.
  • phoenix_wings - November 22, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    :( I cried.
  • EBAX1 - November 22, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    Depending on who you play as in skyrim, you gould be the most generous person ever. My misc quest list is overflowing from people asking me to find them crap
  • KoRLumen - November 22, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    *ahem* Ramirez... do everything! No? Though, I guess he kinda has no choice, being a solider and everything.
  • shawksta - November 22, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    Great list, I never thought of whats-his-face from scribblenauts, nice one! Here's a stupid but reasonable choice: The Judge from Ace Attorney, he gives the defence too many Godamn chances, the prosecution are pretty pissed off.
  • Whoissheandwhydidshesayit - November 22, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Real thanksgiving was just over a month ago...
  • Whoissheandwhydidshesayit - November 22, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Real thanksgiving was a month ago...o
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - November 22, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    I would almost argue for John Marston being on the list. He does a dozen tasks for everyone he meets, and what does he get in the end? Exactly.
  • BladedFalcon - November 24, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    Most of those tasks he didn't really do them out of true generosity though. The man was ridden with guilt, so a lot of those acts can't really be considered selfless when what you are trying to do is to seek forgiveness for yourself. And this is because in the past, Marston had done a lot of damage to other people. His is a tragic story, and i would never deny that, but I don't believe he qualifies as selfless, much less giving. And then there's the fact that he also does tasks for a tyrant and a rapist... (Allende) so you gotta wonder how great his moral compass was even when he was trying to find redemption.
  • JoeMasturbaby - November 22, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    thought Charlie Barratt wrote this one, but then I saw Persona and Beyond Good and Evil and knew It had to be written by somebody else. I agree with #1.
  • coryhendetta - November 22, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    Nice to see Persona getting some recognition.
  • revrock - November 22, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    Hamlet from Illusion of Gaia!!!!!!
  • ShowMeYourKitties - November 22, 2011 6:59 a.m.

    Kinda surprised you went with Frog instead of Robo. I love Frog, but Robo sacrificed 400 years just to plant a forest...
  • Asloveszuko - November 22, 2011 5:21 a.m.

    So glad Jade was #1 on this list, as soon as I saw the title it just whispered to me "Jade". Amazing game, one that everyone should play!

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