The coolest masked characters in video games

Hollywood has a constant problem in movies where the setting demands that the character wear masks, but that doesn’t translate well to a relatable character. This isn’t as much of a problem in video games as it takes more hours to establish a character even if you can’t see their facial expressions.

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Sometimes the mask makes the character much more exciting and mysterious. Much like the Mandalorian has an overall cool factor for refusing to take the mask off, these characters stand out.


10/10 Scorpion and Sub Zero in Mortal Kombat

These two of the Mortal Kombat series’ most iconic characters may have started out as the same ninja sprites with different colors, but their backstories to fill in the blanks were extensive. Scorpion is actually Hanzo Hasahi who has been resurrected and was initially a villain just seeking revenge for the death of his family.

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Aside from the first game, Sub-Zero is actually Kuai Liang, the younger brother of the original blue-robed ninja Bi-Han. While Bi-Han could have been considered more of a villain in the Mortal Kombat universe, Kuai Liang is much more just and level-headed. Bi-Han was originally killed by Scorpion, prompting Kuai to seek revenge. Eventually, however, the two ninjas made peace with each other. That’s quite the setting for two of the most iconic masked characters in fighting games.

9/10 Tyson Rios in Army of Two

Army of the Two Tyson Rios

Army of Two, released in 2008 as a third-person shooter, is grossly underrated for its two-person co-op mechanics that are fondly remembered. Both characters, Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, stand out from other shooter protagonists because they wear ballistic masks.

While Salem eventually becomes a villain in the series, Rios had to end his fighting career early due to a car explosion that injured his leg, but he had quite a reputation as a mercenary. The 6ft 4in human tank loved heavy artillery and thrived under pressure. Mask or not, you won’t get much expression out of him.

8/10 Vega in Street Fighter

Vega streetfighter

One of the most iconic fighters in the Street Fighter series, Vega has both a claw on one of his hands and a mask to keep his face from bruising. As bodyguard to M. Bison. Vega is portrayed as a vain, cocky idiot in most entries.

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Still, you’d be hard pressed to find a middle school student during Street Fighter II’s heyday who didn’t mention Vega when discussing the game.

7/10 Handsome Jack in Borderlands

Handsome Jack Borderlands

Handsome Jack is the main villain of Borderlands 2, and he’s a maniac. As the President of Hyperion Corporation, he gives a great performance of a guy who feels like he’s a good person fighting filthy bandits on Pandora.

After getting a scar on his face, Jack wears a mask that looks like his own face, which really shows off his narcissism. His quips are great throughout the game, matching Borderlands’ brilliance.

Gray Fox Metal Gear Solid

We’re not saying being a cyborg in a ninja mask is the coolest thing ever, but it’s up there. Metal Gear’s Gray Fox (or Frank Jaeger)’s background as a child soldier, US Special Forces member and mercenary shows what a warrior this guy was.

Originally Solid Snake’s friend, he was forced by Big Boss to fight Snake and ended up with serious injuries requiring an exoskeleton. While Gray Fox would eventually meet his end on the series, there’s no doubting the coolness factor he brought to it.

5/10 Darth Revan in KOTOR

Darth Revan Knight of the Old Republic

Knights of The Old Republic is one of the best Star Wars games of all time. It also has one of the best reveals of a masked character as the player eventually discovers that the Sith Lord Darth Revan was left to die by his Sith apprentice Darth Malak.

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After being captured by the Jedi, Revan’s memory was erased and given a false identity. This mistaken identity? The character of the player they built in KOTOR. Revan has become one of the most popular Star Wars characters not to appear in the films. The mask he wears is also stylish and is reminiscent of a medieval knight’s helmet.

4/10 Tale from Mass Effect

Tali Mass Effect

Tali doesn’t just wear a mask because it looks cool. Tali wears a suit that protects her from disease due to her quarian immune system, but her face will eventually be revealed if the player shows enough affection towards her.

Tali is such a popular character on the series that when Mass Effect Legendary Edition came out, they changed the famous cabin photo of her without a mask from a stock photo-like image into a totally original piece of game art that has been a delight for many Mass Effect fans.

3/10 The Shy Guy in Mario Bros.

Shy Guy Super Mario 3D world

Shy Guy shouldn’t even be here. The now popular character in the Super Mario Bros. series is actually from the game Doki Doki Panic. Nintendo repackaged Doki Doki Panic as Super Mario Bros. 2, and now this guy can be found in everything Mario-related.

While he always comes across as a villain in a variety of Mario games, he can also appear as a friendly character in many spin-offs. Dare we say Shy Guy is an anti-hero? Does there need to be an Origin series on Netflix about him? Yes. yes there is

2/10 Skull Child in Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Skull Kid Zelda Majora's Mask

Oh, a kid with the power to make the moon fall into the world of Legend of Zelda? Move over Gannon, you can’t defeat a princess trapped in a castle for decades. He starts out as a kid in the Lost Woods area that you encounter in Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

When the second Zelda game came out for Nintendo 64, he became a powerful wizard after stealing Majora’s Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman. Skull himself isn’t evil, but much like Jim Carrey in The Mask, Majora’s Mask makes him do some horrible things.

1/10 Corvo Attano in Dishonored

Dishonored Corvo Attano trailer

In Dishonored, Corvo Attano is forced to wear a mask to hide his identity as he has been framed for the assassination of the Empress. Not only does it offer protection and a protected identity, but the mask also has cool things like a high-powered telescope and a look designed to strike fear into the hearts of its enemies.

Corvo’s mask is both a statement and a piece of gear, which hits him that much harder.

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