Though games with female protagonists are not as commonplace as their male counterparts, there still are many fantastic female games characters.
Over the years, we’ve seen games with female protagonists like Juliet Starling from Chainsaw Lollipop, Candy Suxxx from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury 2 and Eve from Soul Calibur, characters who were all basically just objects.
Thankfully, we’ve also seen some extremely strong and well represented female games character. Of the games with female protagonists who present women realistically and in a positive way, some of the best include Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite and Chun Li from the Street Fighter series.
Now that more and more women are playing games, we’re beginning to see better and better representation of women in video games. This has led to the creation of numerous excellent games with female protagonists.
The Longest Journey’s April Ryan is a positive role model for female gamers
You could be forgiven for getting the wrong first impression of April Ryan. She is first seen in The Longest Journey in her pants, which naturally makes you wonder if she’s going to be another object. Fear not, however, as she soon becomes one of gaming’s best female protagonists.
April Ryan from The Longest Journey : the tenth best
female games character
An art student, April Ryan accidentally finds herself in a fantasy world called Arcadia. Despite being a typical point n click adventure game, April Ryan makes The Longest Journey epic thanks to her wit and intelligence. April Ryan is a strong and honourable female protagonist who has captured the heart of many female gamers.
The only problem with April Ryan is that in The Longest Journey’s sequel, Dreamfall, she becomes moody and sullen, losing her character and even renaming herself (urgggh. .. ) Raven. . . . sigh.
Anyway, The Longest Journey is an excellent point and click adventure game April Ryan a very realistic and strong female protagonist.
Hildegard Von Krone from Soul Calibur is one of those all too rare characters that show that female protagonists don’t need to be highly overtly good looking in order to work.
Hildegard Von Krone: the 9th best female protagonist
Soul Calibur has been blamed of been less than respectful to women (little surprise given the curves of Eve on the Soul Calibur 5 cover). One female character Soul Calibur gets right, however, is Hildegard Von Krone, a strong, noble and brave character whose life cause is to uphold her family name.
Unlike most female characters, Hildegard Von Krone wears a sensible outfit (and alternative outfit) that looks elegant and noble. Though her story is (in my opinion) not the most original or inspiring, she is a strong role model for young female gamers.
Lara Croft from Tomb Raider might be one of gaming’s most attractive female characters, but she’s also one of the most positive
Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft: Beautiful AND A Role Model
Lara Croft is one of those truly exceptional games characters who manages to be both beautiful and a positive representation of women.
There was a time when Lara Croft was definitely just an object, a time when Tomb Raider profited off of the size of her breasts. That time, however, is passed.
With the new Lara Croft Tomb Raider reboot, we see a much more realistic and more positive representation of Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider reboot shows Lara’s more compassionate side (where she struggles to come to terms with her first kill) as well as her bravery and kindness (in helping other characters in the game).
If Lara Croft was once an object, she is now a genuine role model; smart, compassionate and kind, Lara Croft deserves her spot at number 8.
Samus Aran from Metroid is Nintendo’s strongest leading lady and a great female game protagonist.
7: Samus Aran from Metroid
Original, Nintendo hadn’t expected Samus Aran from Metroid to be a female character. Back in the early 90s, games treated women even worse than today, with strong games characters almost invariably being male (mosly because the gamers themselves were male) Nintendo, however, were inspired by the movie Alien and its female star, Rippley.
Seeing Metroid as a similar sci-fi IP, decided to make Samus Aran female and in doing so created one of the earliest and best female games protagonists.
The female Commander Shepard from Mass Effect earns our respect because. . . well, it’s hard NOT to respect the woman who save the universe, right?
6: Commander Shepard from Mass Effect
It’s not easy saving the entire universe, but Mass Effects female Commander Shepard is up to the challenge. Though the majority of Mass Effects marketing effort was based on the male Commander Shepard, the majority of gamers actually think that female Shepard is a strong character (so, that’s one for the girls, then).
Not only is Mass Effect’s Female Shepard a brilliant character, she is brought to life through stellar voice acting, performed by Jennifer Hale. Hopefully next time around, BioWare can share the marketing effort 50 / 50 between the male and female protagonists. . . still, great character.
Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is one of the bravest and kindest female games characters ever.
5: Jade from Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil didn’t earn the popularity that it so richly deserved when it was initially released. As a result, Jade has been somewhat neglected, which is a shame given that she’s the fifth best female games protagonist of all time.
Finding a job as a photo journalist in order to help to financially support her guardian, Jade happens to get caught up in a resistance that is determined to reveal the corruption of the government. Begin a martial artists, athlete and journalist, Jade has a few cards up her sleeve that can help the resistance out.
Believing in justice and with the strength and bravery to back it up, Jade is a great role model. And when she’s not risking her life for a righteous cause, she’s helping support a group of orphans. Truly, a great female protagonist.
Chun Li from Street Fighter is the best female games character in any fighting game.
When Street Fighter 2 game on the scene with it’s amazing (for the time) eight different playable characters, Chun Li captured the heart of fighting game fans around the world.
Chun Li is one of the earliest games characters to truly provide a positive representation of women in games. Noble, honourable and extremely strong, Chun Li became one of Street Fighter’s most popular characters ever (quite the accomplishment given the number of characters in Street Fighter games).
Chun Li is also one of the most prolific games characters, being features in the vast majority of Street Fighter’s numerous games. She’s also been portrayed in the Street Fighter movies, in comics and in other areas of popular culture.
Faith Connors from Mirror’s Edge is one of the toughest females in gaming and number 3 in our list of the best female games protagonists.
3: Faith Connors from Mirror’s Edge
Mirror’s Edge’s female protagonist Faith Connors grew up on the streets after losing her mother and leaving her home age 16. To survive, Faith Connor spent time as a thief, but stopped after being caught by ex-Runner Mercury, who decided to become her guardian.
Mercury trained Faith Connors to be a Runner and to become a part of a group of illegal couriers.
Faith is a strong willed female protagonist, continuing to be a Runner despite the threat of city authorities.
Faith Connors is one of gaming’s most athletic characters, running through and traversing the city with ease. She believes in freedom for all and fights to achieve it.
Kate Walker from Syberia is one of the lesser-well-known characters in our list, but her story and strength of character sees her at number 2.
2: Kate Walker from Syberia
Kate Walker from Syberia is a lawyer who is assigned a mission to France to oversee the financial take-over of a company. She soon gets more than she expected, however, as she is caught up in the mythology of the island of Syberia.
Kate Walker is the quintessential intelligent female games protagonist, solving puzzles and problems as she investigates Syberia. She’s also a great resource gatherer, gathering information important to her case.
Kate Walker also stars in the sequel Syberia 2, which follows the same basic formula as its predeccesor.
Bayonetta is the most empowered of all female games characters and number 1 in our list of the best female games protagonists of all time.
1 Bayonetta, The Best Female Games Protagonist
In our list of the best female games protagonists we’ve covered all sorts of characters. Some were intelligent, like Kate Walker from syberia. Some were brave, like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Others were kind, like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. Bayonetta, however, is an extremely powerful, ass kicking machine.
Why is Bayonetta number one in our list? Because she, above all other female games characters, show that women can be just as powerful as men. Bayonetta could easily compete with the likes of Master Chief, Dante and Ryu. She is the strongest female in the history of gaming and deserves her place at number one in this list. Besides, if we didn’t give Bayonetta this award, she’d probably kick our asses.