41. Captain John Price (Call of Duty series)
Arguably no other character in the history of games goes harder than Captain John Price. Let's just talk about three scenes here. First, Modern Warfare's ending, Zakhaev is ascendent, walking over your way to put a bullet in your brain... until Price, ostensibly bleeding out, slides a pistol your way to finish the job. Scene two: Price, years earlier, having just penetrated Pripyat in a goddamn ghillie suit, blows the arm off Zakhaev as he, ironically, is engaged in an illicit arms deal. Lastly: Price, avenging the death of his friend Yuri, brutally beats preeminent villain Makarov before tying a steel noose about his neck and tossing him through a glass roof. Truly, the man is a badass.
40. Meat Boy (Super Meat Boy)
He never utters a word and his body is little more than ground beef, yet Meat Boy's undoubtedly a hero for the ages. He can run and jump with the best of them, overcoming innumerable pitfalls and countless fatalities to rescue his beau, Bandage Girl. Plus, he's secure enough in his masculinity to try out a little role reversal, giving his girlfriend the spotlight in what is arguably the hardest world in the game: Cotton Alley. Know why Dr. Fetus is so hateful? He's just jealous of Meat Boy's death-defying agility and effortless cool.
39. Alan Wake (Alan Wake)
The team at Remedy made a bold statement when they eschewed the traditional shaven-headed-hunk-of-meat hero in favour of a slightly confused novelist who wears jackets with elbow patches. OK, so Wake is handy in a fight, knows how to handle a gun, and can spot a concealed thermos flask at 50 paces, but hes not your average protagonist. Hes far from the best character of this generation, and he doesnt half ham it up in both speech and writing, but A. Wake (get it?) harks back to the sinister bastards of previous generations, like Silent Hill 2s James Sunderland, who werent just designed to appeal to core demographics. Whatever the hell that means.
38. Ellie (The Last of Us)
Not to be confused with Ellen Page, Ellie from The Last of Us is the sort of brave yet naive teenager you can't help but want to protect. In a normal life, most kids her age would be hanging out with friends and learning what it means to be a teenager. Ellie, on the other hand, must learn what it means to survive; to maintain her sanity even when those she loves are torn apart by the ravenous jaws of the infected. Her sense of courage far exceeds that of even the most macho of men, and though she sometimes makes questionable decisions--what teen doesn't?--she makes the most of the hand she's been dealt.
37. Alistair (Dragon Age: Origins)
Dragon Age: Origins had plenty of memorable characters, but chief among them was the would-be bastard king Alistair. He's often the target of your other companions' jokes, but only because he hands out wisecracks like they're candy. And although he's a jokester, he's also a proficient warrior with one of the most fascinating personal backstories out of all of the companions. His former affiliation to the mage-subjugating templars and relation to the royal family put him in some awkward (and entertaining) situations. But those relationships also make him one of the most important characters in the series.
36. Yuri Lowell (Tales of Vesperia)
In a world of super-duper-ultra peppy JRPG protagonists, Yuri Lowell stands out. Hes everything they are not: he doesnt believe in the power of friendship, he will kill when necessary and have no issue with it, and he honestly doesnt have too much growth throughout the game. He's a well-written character that was meant to say,Hey, have you ever thought how impossible it is to go through all of this as a kid and emerge unscathed? If youre sick of saccharine super heroes, Yuris the man for you.
35. Kaim Argonar (Lost Odyssey)
Kaim is living proof that being immortal probably isn't all it's cracked up to be. Having been around for a thousand years, the dude has seen a lot of pretty terrible things--including the loss of, oh, ten generations' worth of friends--so he tries not to get too close to those around him. But it's hard not to admire a man who manages to still empathize with others, despite being desensitized by some absolutely crushing scenarios of human struggle. His existence has a sort of poetic sadness about it, yet he remains vigilant in his quest to protect mankind.
34. Starkiller/Galen Marek (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
Starkiller is a supercharged dark Jedi with the ability to catch TIE Fighters mid-flight, hunt down the most powerful Jedi, and rip Star Destroyers out of the sky with the Force. But the young Force user is far from a mindless killing machine--it's just that being raised by an evil Sith Lord can mess with your head. Starkiller constantly struggles with the contention bred from what he feels is right, and what his master commands. With engrossing elements like Starkiller's conflict between the light and dark sides of the Force, the charming love story, and the character's transformation as the story progresses, the tale of Darth Vader's secret apprentice is definitely one we'll remember when this console generation comes to a close.
33. Death (Darksiders 2)
For being one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death isn't the emotionless, cold-hearted embodiment of...well, death that his name implies. He has unwavering determination in his mission, but subtle spots of humor peek out from behind his mask, revealing that there's more to this dual scythe-wielding badass than you might expect. Death is the oldest of the Horsemen, and sets out to free his (big) little brother War from imprisonment by the all-powerful Charred Council. Along the way, you uncover the deep regrets of a past that gnaws away at the unstoppable warrior, bestowing upon him a surprising sense of humanity. You'll never see his face and he's a man of few words, but when you meet Death, you won't soon forget him.
32. King Bohan (Heavenly Sword)
Undoubtedly the finest element of Sony's 2007 PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword--aside from Nariko, of course--is the dastardly King Bohan. This villain had presence. In his eyes were pure madness, at one moment amused like a child, in the next lashing out like a deranged psychopath. Only one man could pull off such a performance--acclaimed Hollywood mo-cap actor Andy Serkis--and Sony nabbed him. Serkis, who is best known for his work as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Planet of the Apes, breathed life into Bohan. Just forgive him for that final boss fight, OK?