Top 10 Badass Games With Playable Female Characters
For the past decade or so, the gaming industry has been under scrutiny for not having enough female characters and female protagonists in games. This issue still plagues today. Gaming is a more welcoming hobby for women than it’s ever been, but there’s still a relative dearth of female protagonists in video games. Thankfully, there are also quite a few video games which showcase them being just as capable as their male counterparts (if not more so). This list isn’t just comprised of some of the most memorable women in video games, these ladies also happen to be total bad-asses.
Let’s begin with the top 10 bad-ass games with even more bad-ass female characters:-
10. Bayonetta – Bayonetta (PlaySation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
Bayonetta is a begrudging, but caring ‘mother’ figure, a jumble of contradictions. She’s one of the most provocative video game characters around but exhibits no interest in the men that populate her story. Bayonetta is more than comfortable in her own skin and embraces her body, something that is completely avoided in most games. As a witch, she has extremely powerful magic that is able to take down many enemies at once.
Her clothes might fly when she jumps or shoots bullets out of her heels, you can never bring her spirit down. Some gamers think Bayonetta is pandering; others think she’s subversive. Either way, she’s one of the most unusual ladies in gaming. Badass nonetheless.
For most older gamers, their first foray into survival horror would have been filtered through the lens of S.T.A.R.S officer, Jill Valentine first took the stage in 1996’s “Resident Evil” on the PlayStation, where she proved her worth as a calm, loyal counterterrorism officer, fighting off zombies in the doomed Raccoon City. Players instantly fell in love with the vulnerable but quick-witted “master of unlocking” – and not just because she had a larger inventory and bigger guns than her male counterpart.
Equally good at gunning down the undead and solving tricky puzzles, Jill set a high standard for heroines in survival-horror games: smart, capable and devoted to her partners. Although she has appeared in numerous “Resident Evil” games, she only takes a starring role in three, Jill no doubt holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers simply because she was the first person they ever associated with the terror of those early games in the franchise.
Usually, a protagonist needs a voice and a character arc to be compelling, but Chell sidesteps these requirements. Chell never says a word, but communicates a lot about herself through her actions and a few small environmental details; in fact, you won’t even see her unless you position her in between two nearby portals. Chell is resolute. On her own and armed with nothing but a gun that shoots space-bending portals, Chell stands against not one, but two sociopathic AIs while working her way through twisted, mind-bending test chambers.
She is more or less immune to psychological warfare and does not let simple things like pits of fire or being cryogenically frozen for centuries stop her from her single-minded quest to escape the testing facility. Chell represents a part of the feministic whole that is the game and the symbolism it carries. A powerful character indeed.
The Mass Effect series allows you to choose your gender, playing as a male or female Commander Shepherd. Developers at BioWare gave equal attention to both characters during the series’ creation, giving both versions of the Commander their own voice actors, making her successful in capturing as one of our top female protagonist in video games.
Female Shepard follows the same plot as the male version of the character, but much of her appeal comes from the voice acting done by Jennifer Hale. Hale’s voice for Shepard is both commanding and compassionate and she has created a multi-layered character that just works well. While the development team sought to give the two Shepherds equal treatment, the marketing team choose to sell the male Commander Shepherd as the game’s champion. The actions of Shepard, too, seem to merge better with a female protagonist. The story itself seems more interesting with Female Shepard in charge.
Elizabeth is the very definition of a femme fatale: smart, strong, and not afraid to look great while doing it. Seeing Elizabeth transform from a wide-eyed, wonder-struck, innocent girl to a hardened woman with a drive to protect and help those she loves and cares about is one of the greatest character transformations in recent gaming memory. With the ability to pull much-needed items in from other dimensions that could change the structure of a combat area, many players probably would have preferred to play as the character herself.
And that was only her importance in the moment-to-moment combat, never mind her significance to the overall story. The most sympathetic character in Infinite’s narrative, Elizabeth’s descent from an innocent damsel in distress to morally gray killer provided players with the most emotionally-charged story in a Bioshock game yet. And that’s without even mentioning her brilliant turn in that title’s DLC.
5. Aveline de Grandpré – Assassin’s Creed: Liberation – (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS Vita)
Assassin’s Creed has incorporated nuanced female characters with a lot of agency since its very first installment, but it wasn’t until “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” on the PlayStation Vita in 2012 that one took center stage. Aveline de Grandpré is the child of a wealthy French merchant and a freed African slave who becomes an Assassin to fight injustice in colonial America.
In addition to the hallmark parkour and weapons expertise that comes with the Assassin mantle, Aveline can also disguise herself as a highborn lady or a lowly slave in order to end the Templar influence from New Orleans all the way to Mexico. Determined and thoughtful, Aveline is brave enough to question the beliefs of the Assassins and wise enough to carry out her mission regardless.
In a way it’s kind of weird to see so many silent, first-person protagonists populating the lists of the greatest gaming characters of all time. It doesn’t matter if a playable protagonist is barely seen and never speaks a word, they can still generate an iconic and distinctive allure around them that sets them apart from even some of the best-written characters in the medium.
Faith definitely takes inspiration from them, with her limited dialogue only adding to her cool mystique. Throw in Faith’s healthy disrespect for a corrupt government, and her willingness to stick up for weaker characters while putting her own life at risk, and it’s safe to say she’s a first-class female protagonist.
Her extreme athletic abilities have helped her become a runner, a person who carries sensitive information only made for a few eyes to see. Protective of her sister and others she cares about, and rebellious but still logical, Faith knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it done. As a truly inspiring female lead, Faith is more than willing to put her own life at risk to protect the powerless.
Little things DO come in small packages. Clementine is not just a good, but a perfect example for that. Telltale games created such a character as great as Clementine, it’s actually quite amazing that the developers crafted her to be more than just a ploy to get players emotionally invested in the story. Though this could have been easily backfired when they decided to make Clem the playable character of The Walking Dead’s season two, but Telltale managed to balance this perfectly, focusing on fleshing her out as a character.
After the emotional ending to Season 1, Clem is alone in the world again. With only a gun and basic supplies, Clementine’s character begins to shine. She comes to grips with the reality of the world she’s in. She is a walker killing machine, with the charisma and drive to get what she wants and protect what she needs. Tough decisions cause her to lose those she loves, but every scar, both emotional and physical, builds her character to one everyone aspires to be with. No longer the lovable innocent companion, season two Clementine felt just as complex as the grown up characters, and the release was all the better for it.
2. Ellie – The Last Of Us (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4)
Ellie is one of the most modern, realistic characters ever designed–regardless of gender. She is a survivor, been through hell and back forming a product of her environment. While she could easily have been designed as a damsel in distress, used to reinforce the surrogate father / daughter relationship in The Last of Us, Naughty Dog was smart enough to dodge such simple stereotyping. She is a capable fighter and isn’t afraid to fight or even kill if she has to, though this does not make her stand out as a strong female character, but her ability to accept the world that’s falling apart around her does.
Ellie is one of the most complex, dynamic, and best-written characters in all of the video games and shows what the medium as a whole can become in character-based storytelling. However, it was probably the Left Behind DLC that cemented Ellie as a defining character in gaming. Instead of the action-packed campaign, this side-story opted to focus more on subtle world-building than it did on fire-fights. Nothing can do justice as to what an incredible character she is, and if you haven’t played The Last of Us, I urge you to do so as soon as possible, it might just change your life.
Taking into account the massive amount of portrayals the character has seen since her initial conception in the original ‘Tomb Raider’, her legacy alone would more than make her a candidate for the top spot, but really, until the 2013 reboot, the character never really felt like more than a gaming symbol or an exaggerated archetype. This protagonist isn’t just an Indiana Jones knock-off; she’s a full-on hardened survivor who fills her own adventuring shoes. Whether scaling ruins or blasting holes in baddies four times her size, Lara manages to hold her own as one of the toughest video game female protagonists ever to grace our gaming screens.
Lara proved charming and competent: flirtatious, funny and absolutely relentless in her pursuit of priceless treasures and lost civilizations. Recently, developer Crystal Dynamics rebooted the “Tomb Raider” series with “Rise Of The Tomb Raider” being the front-runner of the lineup, turning Lara from a battle-hardened adventurer into a young student thrust into a deadly environment, frightened by what’s around her, but ready to fight tooth and nail for her survival. No wonder her skills and dedication make her the best. She still exudes that confidence and gravitas that would sculpt her character for what she is famous for, all the way through the plot of the game.
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