Who are the best female video game characters?
When it comes to characters (and this applies both to males and females), one has to ask: what makes a strong character? Its background? Story? The coherency and logic behind their choices?
Whatever criteria you apply, whether or not a character can be considered ‘’strong’’ is still a very subjective thing.
All logistics and philosophical dilemmas aside, we’ve gathered here today to celebrate some of the most powerful female characters in video gaming history. For this purpose, we’ve taken the following criteria into consideration:
- Must be a protagonist in the game.
- The quality of the writing.
- Well-developed personality.
- Choices must make sense in the context of the character’s personality.
The 15 Best Female Video Game Characters
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 15 best female video game characters of all time:
15. Kassandra (AC: Odyssey)
- Badass mercenary
- Willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission
- Highly-skilled fighter
- Great-granddaughter of freaking King Leonidas of Sparta.
Kassandra: “We have a lot in common. I was hoping when the smoke clears, we could find somewhere quiet.”
Kyra: “And what exactly do we have in common?”
Kassandra: “I just… We… I just thought that’s what people said to each other. I wasn’t expecting a follow-up.”
While the Assassin’s Creed series had its fair share of strong female characters, nobody can hold a candle to Kassandra, one of the toughest characters in the series.
Descended from King Leonidas of Sparta, she faced condemnation and an execution attempt due to alleged betrayal. Surviving the fall, she found refuge with Markos and transformed into a formidable mercenary in the Mediterranean.
Driven by a desire for wealth and escape, Kassandra remains opportunistic, aligning with whichever side suits her interests. Holding grudges and lacking social finesse, her occupation justifies these traits.
Nonetheless, she possesses a personal code of honor and displays compassion toward children.
With her toughness, resilience, and undeniable badassery, Kassandra undoubtedly ranks among the greatest female video game characters.
14. Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2)
- Can kill you with a finger
- A strong sense of morality and justice
Emily: “Yes, this place is home to cutthroats and villains. Are you not becoming one of them?”
Emily Drexel Lela Kaldwin the First defies expectations with her impressive character. Despite her regal upbringing, she is far from a spoiled brat lounging on a throne.
As the daughter of a beloved empress and the skilled fighter Corvo Attano, she was trained in combat from a young age for her safety.
In Dishonored 2, Emily’s combat skills prove invaluable as she fights to save Corvo and reclaim her throne from the powerful witch Delilah Copperspoon. Determined and proud, Emily possesses a strong sense of justice and loyalty.
In her quest for vengeance, she accepts the Outsider’s Mark, granting her extraordinary abilities – from agile maneuvers to transforming into a formidable smoke monster. The intensity of her transformation is truly remarkable.
13. Kara (Detroit: Become Human)
- Makes an effort to understand humans
Kara, one of the protagonists in Detroit: Become Human, stands out for her empathy and bravery throughout the game. Originally designed as a common housemaid android, she possesses impressive abilities like multilingualism, culinary skills, and storytelling.
However, it is her defining qualities beyond these capabilities that make her a strong character.
Kara’s primary purpose becomes protecting Alice, a young girl who suffers abuse from her father. Witnessing the violence inflicted on the innocent child, Kara deviates from her programming, defying orders and displaying compassion. This act of breaking free and being driven by empathy becomes her defining trait, showcasing the potential of androids to possess free will and compassion.
Unlike the other protagonists, Kara lacks combat experience and weaponry. Instead, she relies on quick thinking, caution, and her caring nature to navigate a treacherous world. Though naive in some aspects, her gentleness and determination aid her in survival. While her story seems separate from rA9, the mysterious entity believed to be the first awakened android and the catalyst for the android revolution, theories propose that Kara may actually be rA9.
Videos released by Quantic Dream, such as “Kara: Story of the First Deviant,” support this idea, as Kara is the first android to deviate and exhibit human emotions.
Kara’s character is defined by her ability to think and feel, qualities considered errors in machines created to serve humans. However, these qualities make her an exceptional character and potentially the most significant one in the game’s universe.
12. Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn)
- Curious person
- Doesn’t take anything for granted; very determined to uncover the mysteries of her world
- Open-minded when it comes to the use of technology, unlike her peers
- Sympathetic towards outcasts and people in need
- Tremendous physical and emotional resilience
Alloy, a standout modern female game character, distinguishes herself through her unconventional background and rebellious nature.
As an orphan with no known special lineage, she possesses a deep disdain for authority and skepticism toward tribal beliefs.
Unlike her tribe, she embraces technology as a tool, utilizing it extensively in her travels and hunting pursuits. This differing perspective led to her banishment from the tribe, shaping her personality and interactions with others.
Although Alloy struggles with social skills, displaying bitterness and sarcasm, her character exhibits compassion for outcasts and disdain for arrogance. Despite her flaws, she actively seeks personal growth, maturing and gaining self-confidence throughout the game.
Horizon Zero Dawn showcases one of the most captivating character developments in gaming history, making Alloy a compelling protagonist to experience firsthand.
11. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
- Skilled tactician
- Strong sense of humor
- Talented bomb defusal specialist
- Stoic, loyal, dogged determination
- Cheerful nature
- The strongest/tragic/relatable character arc in the series
Jill: “It was Raccoon City’s last chance… And my last chance… My last escape…”
Jill Valentine, the embodiment of the Resident Evil series, surpasses even prominent characters like Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and Claire Redfield in capturing the heart and soul of the franchise.
As a highly skilled rear security and bomb disposal specialist, her abilities acquired as a Delta Force specialist are especially noteworthy, considering the rarity of women in such roles.
Jill is revered for her exceptional composure in the face of extreme situations, as her quick thinking has repeatedly saved herself and her comrades.
With her innate leadership qualities, Jill epitomizes strength, determination, and a profound sense of justice.
Her military and S.T.A.R.S. experiences attest to her unwavering dedication to combat bioterror and safeguard the innocent. Admirably, she maintains a cheerful and optimistic demeanor despite witnessing horrifying events and enduring personal tragedies, such as being brainwashed by Wesker and forced to confront her former comrades.
Furthermore, Jill’s enduring sense of humor injects much-needed levity into a dark and somber world. These qualities, among others, solidify Jill as one of the most remarkable female characters in the gaming industry.
10. Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
- Rebellious attitude
- Brave and nonchalant in the face of danger
- Sharp tongue, snarky, sarcastic
- Quite mature and insightful for a teenager
Heather: “Listen, suffering is a fact of life. Either you learn how to deal with that or you go under. You can stay in your own little dream world, but you can’t keep hurting other people! Besides, I’ll never forgive you for hurting my father!”
Heather Mason, the protagonist of Silent Hill 3, defies the stereotype of a seemingly whiny teenager by embodying true badassery.
While displaying typical teenage traits like snarkiness, hot-headedness, and sarcasm, Heather’s journey through unimaginable horrors strips away her innocence and shapes her nonchalant yet reckless attitude in the face of danger.
Ironically, Heather’s affinity for horror films and the supernatural aligns with the terrifying experiences she endures. Amidst her peers enjoying concerts and youthful pursuits, Heather encounters feverish illusions in mirrors, evades deranged nurses and other monstrous creatures, witnesses countless eviscerated bodies, and tragically loses her father.
Given these traumatic events, her occasional whininess is understandable and justified.
Heather Mason’s resilience and the transformation she undergoes make her a compelling character deserving of respect and empathy.
9. Clementine (The Walking Dead)
- As a child, displays remarkable intelligence and maturity for her age
- Fast learner
- Highly adaptive
- Natural leader
- Becomes a hardened survivalist as a teenager
- The ability to juggle multiple people’s egos and biases to ensure social harmony and the survival of the group.
Clementine: “I’ve searched for a long time… Just when I gave up hope, I found him. We’re searching together now, for a place we can call home. I’m all AJ has, and he’s all I have, and I will protect him with my life… Just like Lee did for me.”
Clementine, the deuteragonist and later protagonist of the Walking Dead video game series, captured the hearts of gamers with her compelling character development.
Despite the familiar trope of placing a child at the center of a game’s story, Clementine stands out due to exceptional writing, a well-executed personality, and remarkable growth.
Initially, a frightened child traumatized by the loss of her parents, Clementine quickly learns to adapt for survival.
While she retains some aspects of her young age, such as her lack of understanding about certain topics, Clementine often displays greater maturity than her adult companions. Despite witnessing horrors, she maintains a kind-hearted and polite demeanor, showing respect to adults even when treated as an equal.
Her adaptiveness, pragmatism, improvisation skills, optimism, strong moral compass, and conflict resolution abilities repeatedly save the group from certain death.
Clementine’s nonconformist nature and fearlessness in speaking her mind further contribute to her compelling character.
As Clementine transitions into adolescence, her experiences lead to a more bitter and dismissive demeanor.
However, it becomes evident that her cold exterior is a result of her past rather than an inherent personality trait. Overall, Clementine’s outstanding character development remains a standout aspect.
Witnessing her transformation from an intelligent, adaptable, yet frightened girl into a formidable and inspiring badass stands as one of the most memorable experiences in gaming history.
8. Lara Croft (Lara Croft Series)
- Displays tremendous physical and emotional resilience
- Accomplished archeologist, adventurer, and explorer
- Highly skilled fighter
- Strong moral compass Loyal to her friends and loved ones.
Reyes: “Seems anyone caught with you has a pretty low survival rate.”
Lara: “Better keep your distance then.”
It would be remiss to celebrate the best female video game characters without recognizing Lara Croft, one of the industry’s most iconic figures.
While she initially started as a heavily sexualized bootleg version of Indiana Jones, Lara has undergone significant transformations over numerous sequels, reimaginations, and adjustments.
Throughout her journey, Lara has seen misinterpretations of her character, ranging from excessive sexualization to an overly sassy demeanor.
However, the recent reboots have brought about a complete transformation for Lara.
She has evolved into a strong, physically and emotionally resilient character who showcases resourcefulness and, importantly, feels like a relatable human being.
The modern interpretation of Lara Croft is a testament to her enduring legacy and her status as one of gaming’s most iconic characters.
7. The Jedi Exile/Meetra Surik (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2)
- Natural leader
- Quick learner
- Generous, kind
- Able to make difficult decisions
Atton: “So, uh, how long have you been a Jedi? Must be tough, you know… no family, no husband…”
Exile: “No tougher than enduring your false sympathy while you’re staring at my chest.”
Meetra Surik, also known as The Jedi Exile, defies the typical Jedi archetype.
In the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, she stands out as a character who questions the moral implications of the Force and challenges the rigid beliefs of the Jedi Order.
Exiled for her actions during the Mandalorian Wars, Meetra Surik joins Revan’s renegade Jedi faction due to her compassion for the war’s victims and her dissatisfaction with the Order’s resistance to change.
A natural leader, she fearlessly challenges the status quo and shows unwavering compassion for others, even in the face of danger.
Meetra Surik’s unique perspective, bravery, and charisma make her one of the best female video game characters.
6. D’arci Stern (Urban Chaos)
- Game ahead of its time – African-American woman protagonist
- Street-wise, wise-cracking cop
- Has integrity, does her job flawlessly
- Very good at her job – has both fighting and investigative skills
D’arci: “You better listen to your mother good, boy!”
In the midst of the Y2K scare and Britney Spears’ rise to fame in 1999, Mucky Foot Productions released Urban Chaos, an open-world action-adventure game set in a fictional counterpart of New York City called Union City.
What makes Urban Chaos unique is that it preceded Grand Theft Auto by two years and featured a female cop as its protagonist, specifically an African-American female cop.
This was a remarkable feat considering the time period, as non-lethal approaches to situations were provided in a game where players took on the role of a cop.
D’arci Stern, the protagonist of Urban Chaos, deserves recognition not only for her ethnicity and gender but also because she is a well-crafted character in her own right. While some aspects of her background may seem clichéd by modern standards, such as her father’s line-of-duty death and her following in his footsteps, D’arci compensates with her no-nonsense attitude, strict adherence to protocol, and unwavering belief in the duty and integrity of her job.
These traits are tested as she confronts rampant corruption throughout Union City, from the Mayor’s office to the police department itself, with levels of corruption reminiscent of Netflix’s Daredevil series.
It takes a sassy and wisecracking cop like D’arci to challenge and confront the cartoonishly corrupt individuals and restore order.
D’arci Stern stands as one of the best female video game characters on this side of the pond (referring to the game’s British origins). Urban Chaos, though underrated, showcases her remarkable qualities and offers a unique gaming experience that deserves more attention.
5. Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
- Very intelligent
- A capable professional who is very good at her job
- Level-headed Patient
Tom Goodman: “Head for the roof, they won’t expect that. [Later, Cate escapes to the roof only to find groups of henchmen staking out the escape route]”
Cate Archer: “[sarcastically quoting Goodman] Head for the roof, they won’t expect that.”
Cate Archer, the protagonist of No One Lives Forever, is a remarkable female character deserving of recognition.
A former skilled cat burglar turned spy, she catches the attention of UNITY, a pan-governmental agency, and excels in their training program.
As a spy, Cate combats H.A.R.M., a terrorist organization set on world domination, using an array of clever gadgets disguised as feminine fashion items.
Set in the 1960s, the game addresses the prevalent sexism of the era. Despite facing misogynistic remarks from her male colleagues, Cate remains composed and focused on her mission, proving her capabilities time and time again. Her resilience and determination shine through as she saves the world while brushing off the dismissive attitudes of her superiors.
Cate Archer’s character is defined by her ability to thrive in a world that downplays her accomplishments. Her cool demeanor and unwavering dedication make her a compelling and inspiring protagonist.
It would be satisfying to imagine her rising through the ranks to become the agency’s director, much to the chagrin of her former bosses.
4. Lohse (Divinity: Original Sin 2)
- Vivacious, gregarious
- Great sense of humor/sarcasm
- Famous artist (vocals and instrumentals)
Lohse: “All my life I’ve been a performer, a musician; beloved and celebrated by all. But I have a secret: I’m also a playground for sprites and spirits and… worse. The voice that rings inside me now is darker than any that came before. Almost caused a bunch of my fans to rip each other to pieces… But you can trust me: I’ve got this under control. Step one: Find out who – or what – is trying to take control of my mind. Step two: Make it sorry it ever tried.”
Lohse, a character from the game Divinity: Original Sin 2, defies the expectations of a classic damsel in distress.
While she possesses elements of ditziness and naivety, Lohse’s character goes far deeper than surface traits. As a famous performer, she attracts attention and trouble, fully aware of the dangers that come with fame.
However, Lohse carries a dark secret. Something is attempting to take control of her mind, and she is determined to uncover the source and protect her life. Despite facing terrifying challenges, Lohse approaches them with a nonchalant demeanor, as if brushing off a minor inconvenience.
Additionally, she has a unique role as Divinity, requiring her to work towards ascending, adding further complexity to her character.
Despite the weight of her circumstances, Lohse refuses to take herself or her situation too seriously. Even in the face of death, she maintains a lightheartedness and cracks jokes.
This blend of darkness and humor adds depth to her character, making her a compelling and memorable female video game character.
3. Margaret “Mae” Borowski (Night in the Woods)
- Great sense of humor
- Compassionate as the game progresses
- Plays a mean bass guitar
- Highly flawed and at times dismissive of other people’s feelings. However, she’s fully aware of this and tries to fix this.
- Quirky, playful mature (if Juno and Zooey Deschanel’s character from 500 Days of Summer had a baby).
Mae: “Obviously the world is seriously screwed up, but we’re all gonna die if we don’t keep living.”
Mae, the protagonist of Night in the Woods, is a deserving addition to the list of best female video game characters. In this unique game, which delves into the struggles of a small town grappling with economic stagnancy, Mae stands out as a flawed yet relatable character.
Returning to her hometown after dropping out of college, Mae hopes to find solace and healing, only to discover the significant changes that have occurred since her departure.
The game’s characters reflect the town’s economic hardships, with Gregg working long hours at a convenience store, Gus manning a video rental store in a digital age, and Bea forced to manage her father’s struggling business after her mother’s death. Amidst this backdrop, Mae grapples with her own troubled past, marked by depression, anger issues, and a bad reputation due to a high school incident.
Despite her flaws, Mae exhibits self-awareness and makes genuine efforts to better herself throughout the game.
As the story progresses, Mae’s growth becomes evident as she develops compassion and learns to confront her problems openly. While not serving as the moral compass of the game, Mae’s relatability and journey of self-improvement make her one of the best female video game characters.
Night in the Woods provides a refreshing and realistic exploration of adulthood and the challenges faced by ordinary individuals in a changing world.
2. Jade (Beyond Good & Evil)
- Generous to those in need
- Dogged determination; never gives up on her tasks
- Stubborn, never gives up
- Talented photographer and skilled photojournalist
- Loyal to her friends and family.
Jade: “Yeah, I’d like to know too, like who’s actually telling the truth and all this.”
Jade from Beyond Good & Evil hit the screens during an era when strong female game characters were a rarity.
Her unique design emphasized her “real person” appearance, with tasteful clothing.
Living in an island lighthouse with her uncle Pey’j, she works as a talented photojournalist and cares for orphaned children while maintaining a shield generator. At just 20 years old, she is also an expert in martial arts.
Recruited by the IRIS Network, Jade uses her skills and determination to expose the collaboration between the DomZ and Alpha Sections, a military organization involved in human trafficking.
Her story combines elements of a journalist’s dream and nightmare, but Jade’s sense of justice and dogged determination drive her to uncover the truth.
Jade’s character stands out due to her relatable qualities and the way she navigates an unusual situation.
With her wit, street-smarts, and determination, she exemplifies one of the best female video game characters.
1. Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
- Self-taught warrior with a deep understanding of combat strategies
- Able to overcome her vulnerabilities and fears
- Comes to terms with who she is, her past, and her future
- Relentless and fierce.
Senua: “Maybe that’s why people fear seeing the world through her eyes. Because if you believe Senua’s reality is twisted, you must also accept yours might be too…”
Senua, the protagonist of Hellblade, stands out as a unique character representing the game’s sincere and accurate portrayal of mental illness. Grief-stricken and suffering from psychosis, she embarks on a perilous journey through Viking lands, navigating Hell itself to resurrect her lover and find her own redemption.
In a society that segregates individuals with mental illness, Senua’s bravery and fierceness stem from the necessity of survival in an unforgiving world.
However, her true strength lies in her inner growth, healing, and pursuit of redemption. The game’s sound design plays a pivotal role, with haunting voices in Senua’s head offering insight into her struggles and creating a terrifying yet immersive experience.
Senua’s character resonates deeply because she is both fearsome and vulnerable, embodying the complexities and flaws of humanity. She represents the hopes, fears, and dreams of all people, transcending the boundaries of pop culture and gaming. For those who battle mental illness, Senua offers hope, challenging the stigma and advocating for greater understanding and empathy.
Her significance extends beyond the game, making her one of the most profound and compelling female video game characters of all time. This is further elevated by Melina Juergens’ brilliant portrayal of Senua.
So there you have it, our absolute favorite and best female video game characters of all time.
Here’s a quick recap of the 15 best female video game characters of all time:
- Senua (Hellblade)
- Jade (Beyond Good & Evil)
- Margaret “Mae” Borowski (Night in the Woods)
- Lohse (Divinity: Original Sin II)
- Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
- D’arci Stern (Urban Chaos)
- The Jedi Exile/Meetra Surik (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2)
- Lara Croft (Lara Croft Series)
- Clementine (The Walking Dead)
- Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
- Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
- Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn)
- Kara (Detroit: Become Human)
- Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2)
- Kassandra (AC: Odyssey)
Who are your favorite female video game characters? Leave a comment below.
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