20 of the Best Female Video Game Characters

Best Female Video Game Characters

In the 80s, when women first started appearing in video games, there were not many characteristics that distinguished them from the male characters, other than long eyelashes or doe eyes. The media then began to present female characters as prizes, often zoning in on the sexualization of that character.

Despite history, female representation has improved in video games over the past couple of decades. Here are 20 of the best female video game characters of all-time. 

20. Best Female Video Game Characters: Aveline de Grandpré

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Released in 2012, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is the fourth spin-off in the action-adventure video game series, Assassin’s Creed. It is also the installment in which Aveline de Grandpré, an Assassin of African and French heritage, becomes the series’ first playable female assassin.

A baby step in terms of female empowerment, of course, but it has to start somewhere. Aveline is described as adept and brutal in her use of weapons, making her not only a female video game character that women can take a liking to, but one who deserves to be played because of her skills (she has a sugarcane machete, people), and not because of her looks or gender. 

19. Best Female Video Game Characters: Mona Sax

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Mona Sax is a contract killer in the third-person shooter video game, Max Payne. She’s an interesting character in the sense that from the moment we meet Mona, we know her to be an efficient stone-cold killer. If she’s in doubt, she kills. There’s no hesitation. Sure, it’s obvious she develops feelings for Max, who is also a stone-cold killer, but she makes it clear to him that she is no damsel in distress. Until she becomes one.

It’s the character development of Mona Sax that makes her an interesting and relatable female video game character. Women are not one or the other. It doesn’t have to be a choice between being a professional and experiencing emotions and feelings for other people. Females can experience both. And that’s what makes Mona Sax so great.

Oh, and it also helps that her storyline will never cause you to fall asleep on the couch while playing.  

18. Best Female Video Game Characters: Chloe Frazer

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If someone brings the video game Uncharted into the conversation, most people think of Nathan Drake. But they shouldn’t. Hands down, Chloe Frazer is one of the best characters in the game, and she really comes into her own in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is the first game to not feature the infamous Nathan Drake.

Chloe is a highly skilled treasure hunter who sports a girl-next-door-look but has a complicated personality and a dry sense of humor. That doesn’t stop her from being there for her peers, though. If you need someone to talk to, Chloe is the person to go to. She values her well-being and is a survivor, first and foremost. She knows when to walk away, when to take action, and how to stay positive in dangerous situations.

In short: we can all learn a little something from Chloe Frazer.

17. Best Female Video Game Characters: Heather Mason

Source: YouTube/History Behind The Horror

Heather Mason changed the Silent Hill video game franchise, and for that, she deserves a shout out. 

In the original Silent Hill, Heather Mason had a small role, but in Silent Hill 3, she turns into the protagonist. That’s right, people. No longer is the horror franchise led by a male, but rather, it lands in the hands of a very capable female teenager, who is a refreshing upgrade from the traditional male archetype displayed in horror video games.

Heather may be young, but she’s tough. And she may be a female video game character, but for the first time in a while, she added something new to the Silent Hill franchise. 

16. Best Female Video Game Characters: Jill Valentine

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Jill Valentine is one of the best female video game characters because she pushes boundaries. Introduced in the original Resident Evil, Jill Valentine is the protagonist in several of the games and has been praised as being one of the most likable characters in the franchise. 

It’s the skills that Jill Valentine brings to the table that makes her an ideal video game character. However, many have also taken a liking to her because she is less sexualized than other game characters, which is a route many developers have taken in the past when developing females.

Jill is as competent as her male counterparts, and she’s not a walking target. There are millions of Jill Valentines out in the real world, and playing her can bring those attributes out in people.

15. Best Female Video Game Characters: Princess Peach

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Look, we’re all for female empowerment, and we’ll be the first to say Princess Peach doesn’t exactly sport that. The whole damsel in distress storyline takes us back a couple of years in terms of the movement, but something changes in Super Mario Odyssey, and Peach (in our opinion) becomes a female icon.

The long-running character in Super Mario Odyssey finally shows both her tormentor, Bowser, and her rescuer, Mario, that she’s a strong, independent woman, and she can get out of situations on her own.

And that, fellow females, is a mentality we should all inspire to have. 

14. Best Female Video Game Characters: Ellie

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I’m not going to lie: I have a soft spot for Ellie, a fictional character in the 2013 game The Last of Us. The original game displays the growth of her relationship with Joel extremely well, and you really feel the strength and complexity of her character. She undermines the damsel in distress stereotype, and her character has opened up important conversations such as those exploring LGBT themes. 

What’s better is that Ellie is going to be the protagonist of the upcoming game, The Last of Us Part II. The game will be released in May 2020, and after that, you can expect Ellie to be listed as a top female heroine. 

13. Best Female Video Game Characters: Billie Lurk

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Billie Lurk is a cunning and deceptive assassin, first introduced in the action-adventure video game Dishonoured 2. In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Billie Lurk snags a starring role, showing off her serious and straightforward personality even more. She is blunt, and, we admit it, a big fan of justice and revenge, but she also has a lot of respect for her peers. She doesn’t shy away from letting them know that, either. 

Perhaps she’s not an ideal real-life role model for women, but she is definitely one of the more interesting assassins in the Dishonored series. And that counts for something, right? 

12. Best Female Video Game Characters: Tifa Lockhart

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A playable character in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa Lockhart is a bright and optimistic character who is always capable of cheering up those around her. But don’t be fooled. She’s got a mean streak in her, too, especially when it comes to the enemy.

In regards to outfits, Tifa Lockhart doesn’t make a lot of progress in terms of appearing less sexualized than other female characters, often seen in shirts that expose her midriff and in miniskirts. That said, Tifa Lockhart helped to execute the idea of a tough, independent heroine, and for that, Lockhart deserves a special shoutout.

11. Best Female Video Game Characters: Cortana

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A female video game character that is less sexualized and as powerful as her male counterparts deserves to be on this list, but so does a female character that inspired Windows 10 to add the personal assistant feature. Yup, that’s right. Cortana, the virtual assistant created by Microsoft for Windows 10, was inspired by Cortana from Halo: Combat Evolved. Who would of that, huh?

Cortana’s a smart, female-form assuming AI, and not only has she led to changes in the gaming world, but she’s been powerful enough to move from the screen to real-life. That counts for something, and don’t even try to argue it: Cortana might be listening. 

10. Best Female Video Game Characters: Shodan

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System Shock, the 1994 first-person action-adventure video game, first introduced us to Shodan, yet another female-form assuming AI. But unlike Cortana, Shodan is terrifying. We’re talking psychologically disturbing, and those aren’t even our own words.

According to Empire, Shodan is the most “psychologically disturbing and downright memorable evil mastermind in video games.”

Need we say more? 

9. Best Female Video Game Characters: Ms. Pac-Man

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You knew it was coming, right? She’s a classic, people.

She may look like Betty Boop, with her doe eyes and freshly blushed cheeks, but she’s a tough nut to crack. Don’t believe me? Just play the game. You will soon see that the game is much more challenging than Pac-Man. 

Take that, gender inequality.

8. Best Female Video Game Characters: Joanna Dark

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Introduced in the shooter game Perfect Dark, Joanna Dark is a spy who can shoot (and we mean, really shoot a gun).

James Bond wants to be Joanna Dark when he falls asleep. And again, those aren’t our words. Entertainment Weekly said that, and we’re pretty sure that’s enough reason to put Miss Dark on this list. 

7. Best Female Video Game Characters: Samus Aran

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Like Ellie in The Last of Us, I have a special spot in my heart for Samus Aran, one of the original characters in the 1986 game Metroid. 

Why? Does she have cool outfits? Ridiculous powers? Yes, but it goes beyond that. I’m a fan of Samus because, until players get to the end of the game, they have no idea that the armored bounty hunter is a female. Just imagine the thoughts running through the minds of fans of the patriarchy when they find that out.

Priceless. 

6. Best Female Video Game Characters: Faith Connors

Source: YouTube/Mirror’s Edge

Faith Connors from Mirror’s Edge, a first-person action-adventure platform video game, has been called by Complex one of the “most badass video characters of all-time.” 

With an alias of Phoenix Carpenter, you just know you’ve met a great new character. Faith is a “runner” in the game, transporting items to the revolutionary groups hiding from the totalitarian government ruling this game’s universe.

5. Best Female Video Game Characters: Sonya Blade

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Sonya Blade might be one of the original Mortal Kombat characters, but her strength, survival skills, and transition from being just a pretty face make her one of the best female video characters of all time.  

4. Best Female Video Game Characters: Harley Quinn

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Crazy, willing to do anything for The Joker, and have a good time while she’s at it, Harley Quinn may not be originally associated with the gaming world, but the Harley Quinn from the Batman: Arkham series will always have a special place in our hearts. She may not be the most independent female video game character, either, but she steps into her own in Harley’s Revenge, one of the DLCs created for Batman: Arkham City.

From her wacky one-liners to her iconic voice, Harley is, without a doubt, one entertaining character to watch.

3. Best Female Video Game Characters: Princess Zelda

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An icon. A legend. Link who?

That’s all we’re going to say on that one.

2. Best Female Video Game Characters: Cassandra

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Introduced in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cassandra has a tough storyline, dealing with the death of her friend, and having her faith tested when she least expects it. But she’s strong. Really strong. And a lot of females can look up to her resilience, and her ability to know when to bend and when to hold fast.

Cassandra roots out injustice and brings a calming and quiet presence to an otherwise unstoppable storm. 

1. Best Female Video Game Characters: Lara Croft

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Badass, iconic, and later portrayed in films by Angelina Jolie and other actresses, Lara Croft, of course, makes number one on this list. Discuss the topic of female video game characters with anyone, and you will be shocked if Lara Croft does not come up in the conversation.

She’s the epitome of cool and was a trailblazer for strong female characters to come in the gaming world. And always will be.

Featured image: PixaBay

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