Video game characters can sometimes fall into certain character tropes, specifically true for action-adventure games, which require their cast to be badass in some way or the other. The Wild Western gunslinger and the sword wielder from the future are two recurring character tropes.
While one embodies the effectiveness of the phrase “one shot, one kill,” the other prefer to get in close quarters and deal damage through precision slashes of a blade.
Despite the polar opposite nature of these weapons, these two types of characters represent how sticking to an old-school technique at a time when new technology has been invented isn’t an impediment.
These characters can be the game’s protagonist, side characters, or even the antagonist, but they should still be given a chance to take the spotlight if the occasion calls for it.
Video game gunslingers in a Western setting
1) Arthur Morgan – Red Dead Redemption 2
Of all the video game cowboys outlaws available to play, Arthur Morgan is possibly the most likable protagonist. In the game Red Dead Redemption 2, this character stole the hearts of many gamers, whittling them down to tears by the end.
Arthur is a proficient gunslinger, as shown by his innate ability to enter deadeye, deliver dealy shots, using any long-range weapon. Arthur also defeated more than a handful of legendary gunslingers throughout one of the side missions in the video game.
Players can also choose to play Arthur as a high morality honor-bound cowboy or a low morality heartless criminal outlaw. Through this, as well as a variety of other small choices scattered about the game world, players can live out their desired wild west fantasy through Arthur Morgan.
2) Silas Greaves – Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
With a red poncho fully allowing him to embrace his role, Silas Greaves is a bounty hunter and protagonist of the video game Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. However, Greaves’ many deeds of gunslinging valor come from his mouth rather than his reputation.
As seen in the video game, this crime fighter in the wild west steps into a salon and starts his tale, narrating events from his life. This takes place in the form of actual gameplay, which follows Silas from 30 years ago, starting on his adventure. As a first-person shooter, the game’s fictional story takes place across much of the real-life US west.
Silas was soon established as an unreliable narrator, though, as some of his activities seemed too outlandish to believe. The crowd in the salon often challenged his version of events, which led to sudden changes in gameplay, with objects and characters completely disappearing. This was the result of a full rewind.
3) Raul Tejada – Fallout: New Vegas
This ghoul mechanic is a potential NPC companion character found in the world of Fallout: New Vegas. In the radioactive apocalypse, Fallout’s wide-open world gave rise to mutated humans and animals, termed ghouls, which have no trouble traversing the irradiated landscape.
Raul has a long, storied past, which sees him as an expert marksman. However, the players will first encounter this NPC in the Black Mountain prison facility, where they may choose to free him. If freed, he will become a potential follower, in gratitude to the player, accompanying them till the end of the video game.
As a companion, Raul wields a .44 Magnum and can deal a lot of damage from long range. This action-filled life with the player character ultimately forces Raul to choose what kind of life he wants to lead, whether to embrace his old Gunslinger ways or a more peaceful life.
4) Erron Black – Mortal Kombat
First appearing in the video game Mortal Kombat X, Erron Black is an Earthrealm-born individual who serves Outworld, or in simple terms, he sides with the bad guys. Throughout the game’s story, he ends up in the service of Kotal Khan, a relatively good ruler of Outworld, and later even under Kitana.
Born and raised in 19th-century texas, Black speaks in a southern drawl and has many such mannerisms. He dresses in similar cowboy attire, along with a cowboy hat at times, and uses many idioms the lot uses.
In Kombat, he uses twin revolvers with an inhuman level of accuracy, dealing with shots that he rarely misses. He makes further use of rifles, dynamites, and various traps in his fatalities, probably a homage to how cowboys used various hunting equipment. This mercenary for hire will work for whoever is the highest bidder.
5) Revolver Ocelot – Metal Gear series
The son of two legendary figures from the Metal Gear universe, The Sorrow and the Boss, this individual was originally named in Russian Adamska. He later took on the title of Revolver Ocelot. Appearing for the first time in the original video game Metal Gear Solid, Ocelot has been a primary recurring character throughout the series.
Known for his trademark marksmanship abilities and utilizing two Colt Single Action Army Revolvers, Ocelot was a fan of old-school Spaghetti Westerns. This led to him fashioning himself after the old Western Cowboys, sporting dusters and spurs. His proficiency with guns earned him the nickname “ricochet genius.”
Ocelot’s appearance across several of the Metal Gear video games had him come in contact with a number of agents codenamed ‘Snake,’ with him playing different roles in their lives. He was a friendly rival to Big Boss or Naked Snake, a right-hand man for Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake, a top advisor to Venom Snake, and a nemesis to Solid Snake.
Video game that showcased futuristic sword masters
1) Cal Kestis – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
While it is stated that the events of all Star Wars media happen “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” considering that it takes light several million years to travel large distances, these events might still be set in the future. At least the fact that space travel is so accessible and the guns shoot lasers instead of bullets corroborates the fact that the technology is far ahead of us.
Thus, this makes the lightsaber an elegant weapon of a more civilized age. One of the more recent protagonists in a video game to take up this weapon is Cal Kestis in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, who uses a single-bladed saber for most of the game. He can later upgrade it to a double-bladed lightsaber, using it as adeptly in combat as in its previous version.
As a Jedi, Cal is educated in seven forms of lightsaber combat, himself preferring Form I: Shii-Cho and Form VI: Niman, being proficient in single-bladed and double-bladed styles. He is highly knowledgeable in the technique of building lightsabers, as seen when he can construct a new splitsaber from broken parts.
2) 2B – NieR Automata
2B, or its full designation YoRHa No.2 Type B, is an android designed to battle against machine lifeforms that have invaded the earth. Equipped with various close combat weapons for combat purposes, 2B is an expert sword master aided in her mission by fellow android 9S.
Of all the three playable characters in the video game NieR: Automata, 2B is the one with a slight bias towards the offensive side. Mostly embodying the strong silent personality, 2B prefers to let her actions do the talking. Although, at times, she can be seen to deliver some witty remarks, while once in a blue moon, she may become hot-headed.
In the video game history of NieR: Automata, the YoRHa project exists as a cover so that the war against humanity would never end, requiring the androids to keep being manufactured. In this larger narrative, 2B’s primary function was to keep her companion 9S from learning the truth, failure of which would mean that she would need to eliminate and erase 9S’s memories.
3) Jack – Ghostrunner
Set in a futuristic cyberpunk setting, Ghostrunner is a first-person action platformer video game developed by Slipgate Ironworks which was released in September 2021. The game follows the story of Jack, the eponymous Ghostrunner, who must follow the directives of the Architect to restore it to power.
In this game, the protagonist is equivalent to a technologically powered ninja, able to jump and dash between platforms to get to enemies quickly. The Ghostrunner is also equipped with an atomic-edged katana-like sword, able to slice through enemies in one hit. Along with these, Jack is also equipped with biomechanically enhanced powers and abilities.
Unlike most Ghostrunners, Jack shows signs of deviating from his programming, displaying sentience throughout the video game’s story. This is proven true when Jack is willing to sacrifice himself by killing the Architect to save the rest of the humans.
4) Kai Leng – Mass Effect 3
When thinking of futuristic assassins, one does not normally imagine them wielding a sword, yet that is exactly Kai Leng’s whole deal. As an agent of Cerberus and the Illusive Man, as a replacement for Commander Shepard, Leng sports a slim outfit and a sword as his primary weapon.
Appearing in the video game Mass Effect 3, Leng is a secondary antagonist, crossing paths with Shepard many times throughout the story. He manages to get the best out of Shepard on multiple occasions, mainly because he is generally aided by his reinforcements, giving him the advantage.
Improved by various robotic implants, this cybernetic ninja becomes quite a thorn for Shepard and an annoyance for the player throughout the video game. However, Shepard finally got the upper hand on Leng during the assault on the Illusive man’s base, where he is finally defeated.
5) The Arbiter – Halo series
One of the fan-favorite characters from the Halo series, aside from the Master Chief himself, is Thel Vadam, the Sangheili warrior who once served the Covenant, more commonly known for the role assigned to him: The Arbiter. This character first appeared in Halo 2 as the leader of the Covenant forces who assaulted the Alpha Halo in the previous video game.
Being a high-ranking Sangheili, Vadam is often seen using an energy sword, one of the strongest weapons in the video game series. Being quite adept at using this weapon for close encounters, Vadam later serves as an assassin, taking out many important targets under the Covenant’s orders.
After failing to defeat ‘the demon’ known as the Master Chief, Vadam was due to be executed but was given a second chance. As a form of punishment, he was given the title of Arbiter, a once prestigious rank now granted only to ones carrying out suicide missions.
Tasked with bringing the head of the demon, Vadam realizes the flaws of the covenant and leads a resistance group against them, ultimately helping bring down the empire.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s opinion.
Q. Do you enjoy shooters or slashers in video games?
I like to use a gun from long range
I like to get in close with a blade