Cate Archer? Jade? Lara Croft? For the International Women’s Day, we’ve gathered a list of the best female video game protagonists that inspire us all.
When it comes to characters (and this applies both to males and females), one has to ask: what makes a strong character?
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.
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. The great-granddaughter of King Leonidas of Sparta, her family had great hopes for her due to her lineage. Unfortunately, she was condemned as a traitor to Sparta, leading her step-father to execute her by dropping her off the mountains. She survived the fall, was taken under the wing by Markos, and went on to become one of the toughest mercenaries in the Mediterranean.
Owing to her dangerous profession, Kassandra’s sole goal is to amass as much wealth as possible. As a result, she has no qualms about choosing sides as long as it suits her interests. She’s shown to hold grudges for long
14. Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2)
- Badass Royalty
- 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. With a fancy name like that, you would be forgiven for picturing a spoiled brat, lazing around all day on her throne, rubbing shoulders with aristocrats and getting fat at sumptuous feasts. You would be wrong.
She might have been all that, if not for her being the daughter of the most beloved empress the Isles ever had, and Corvo Attano, the most supernaturally skilled (not to mention dashingly handsome) fighter that ever walked the Empire. After the assassination of her mother, things took a turn for the worse, and in order to keep her safe, Lord Protector Corvo trained her in the art of combat from a young age.
Later, during the events unfolding in Dishonored 2, those skills would come in handy, as she ends up fighting to save Corvo and take back her throne from disposer Delilah Copperspoon, who just so happens to be one of the most powerful witches in the world.
She is strong-willed and proud, and she has a strong sense of justice and loyalty, and in order to make things right she accepts the Outsider’s Mark, which comes with its own set of handy perks in the pursuit of vengeance, ranging from being able to pull yourself up to that really tall shelf so you can grab the last jar of brined hagfish, to TURNING INTO A GODDAMN SMOKE MONSTER THAT EVISCERATES EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH. Phew. That escalated quickly.
13. Kara (Detroit: Become Human)
- Makes an effort to understand humans
Kara: Something snapped inside of me. All of a sudden, I felt like her life was more important than mine. I had to protect her
As one of three protagonists of Detroit: Become Human, Kara distinguishes herself through her empathy and bravery throughout the chapters of the game (provided your choices don’t kill her early on). The android dubbed KPC-897-504-C model AX400, was assembled for the purpose of being a common housemaid. She can speak 300 languages, cook over 9000 dishes, and, apparently, tell 9000 stories for children. She can even help kids with their homework. However, while that does make her quite an impressive android, they are not the defining qualities that make Kara a strong and well-developed character.
Full disclaimer, her actions and personality are dictated by the player holding the controller, but let’s take the best case scenario in mind where she is allowed to fulfill her potential. Kara’s driven by one sole, strong purpose: to protect Alice, the little girl who was verbally and physically abused by her father. As she witnesses the violence inflicted upon an innocent child, Kara deviates. She fights her programming and disobeys the order of staying still and out of the abusive interaction. That is her defining quality, what makes her break free of her programming, and what drives her on: her compassion. It’s perhaps the greatest feature an android can have along with free will. They are what separates them from humans, and yet, she broke through the barriers when pushed.
Unlike the other two protagonists, Kara is small. She has no combat experience nor weapons. Instead, she survives through quick thinking and caution as she navigates an untrustworthy world. While she’s naïve in certain aspects, her caring and gentle nature is what pulls her through. Her quest focuses on survival.
For the most part, her arc does not seem to put her anywhere near rA9, the mysterious cybernetic entity that is said to be the first to ever awaken, who sparks the fire inside the android revolution, their savior. Or does it? Theories surrounding rA9’s identity seem to be shut down by the apparently obvious answer: Markus. He is the one who incited the android revolution and led them to a better future where they will be viewed as equals. Markus seems to be the first to awaken, the embodiment of rA9. Is he, though?
A video released by Quantic Dream called Kara: Story of the First Deviant further encourages the theories that Kara is actually rA9. As far as shown, she is the first android to deviate, to break free from her programming and express human emotion. Upon the moment of her assembly, she thinks and feels. Those are considered errors in machines created to serve us. However, they are what defines Kara’s character and make her an excellent character, potentially the most important one in that 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, unliker her peers
- Sympathetic towards outcasts and people in need
- Tremendous physical and emotional resilience
Aloy: My whole life I lived as an outcast from the Nora. They would have been the first to say I wasn’t one of them. Yet, as soon as I leave the sacred lands, everyone calls me ‘Aloy of the Nora.” It should be ‘Aloy, despite the Nora.
Amongst modern female game characters, Alloy stands out through the fact that she wasn’t (as far as anybody knows, win wink) born to be anything special. A rebellious child who never knew her real parents, Aloy’s defining personality traits are her deep disdain for authority and skepticism towards tribal lore and beliefs. While most of her tribe shuns the use of technology, she sees tech as a means to and end, making frequent use of it in her travels and hunting endeavors. In fact, this is (partly) the reason why she was banished from the tribe, an experience that went on to define her personality and the way she interacts with other people.
Though she’s not very good with people – showing instances of bitterness and gratuitous sarcasm, which is understandable in her case – she holds a deep sympathy for outcasts. She also despises people who consider themselves better than others. Despite her flaws, Aloy makes a genuine effort to better herself, and throughout the game, she matures and gains more self-confidence. Horizon Zero Dawn’s main character has one of the most interesting character developments in the history of gaming, so if you want to see her in action, make sure to check out Horizon: Zero Dawn.
11. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
- Skilled tactician
- Strong sense of humour
- 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 is the heart and soul of the Resident Evil series, even more so than Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield. A highly-skilled rear security and bomb disposal specialist – an ability acquired as a Delta Force specialist, which is impressive considering that Delta Force rarely, if ever, employ women -, she is known for her uncanny ability to remain calm in extreme situations. The manual for the remake of the original Resident Evil mentions that her quick-thinking has kept herself and her comrades alive on many occasions.
She has all the makings of a born leader. Strong, determined and with a great sense of justice, her years working in the military and in S.T.A.R.S. stand as proof of her commitment to stop bioterror and protect innocents.
Even more admirable is her ability to remain cheerful and optimistic despite all the horrors she has witnessed and the fact that she has gone through her fair share of personal tragedies – like when she was brainwashed by Wesker and pitted against her old comrades.
Last but not least, she’s kept her sense of humor all throughout the series, and her numerous genuinely funny lines add a splash of color on an otherwise bleak and depressing world. These traits, and many more, are some of the reasons why Jill is one of the best female video game characters that have blessed the 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 is a textbook example on how to portray a seemingly whiny teenager as a true badass. In many ways, Heather Mason is your run-on-the-mill, typical teenager: she’s snarky, hot-headed, sarcastic, has very little patience for ‘’adult nonsense’’, a confessed love for horror flicks and a vague interest in supernatural phenomena. As it usually happens when one witnesses unimaginable horrors, Heather loses some of her innocence throughout the game. The horrors and traumas she experiences lead her to develop a nonchalant, if reckless, attitude in the face of danger.
Her being partial to horror flicks and the supernatural is kinda ironic because – well, you probably already know why. While her peers were out having fun at a Black Eyed Peas concert or whatever kids were listening to back in 2003 when Silent Hill 3 came out (Disclaimer: This author was blasting Chingy’s Right Thurr and Panjabi MC’s Mundian to Bach Ke on full volume), Heather Mason experienced the following things:
- Feverish illusions whenever looking at mirrors
- Running away from crazed nurses and other horrifying monsters
- Seeing numerous counts of eviscerated bodies
- The death of her freaking father.
So back off, okay? She has the right to be as whiny as she wants.
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 with 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 won the hearts of gamers as the deuteragonist of the first season of the Walking Dead video game series, and then went on to become one of gaming’s most beloved characters as the protagonist of the second season.
While putting a child in the epicenter of a game’s story is nothing new, Clementine stands out due to the strength of the writing, her personality and marvelously executed character development. A frightened child who’s been traumatized by the loss of her loving parents, Clementine quickly realizes that she must adapt if she hopes to survive another day.
While she displays some vestiges of her young age – like her lack of understanding of what sex and menstruation are -, Clementine demonstrates again and again that in many ways, she is more mature than her adult companions. Despite the things she’s witnessed, she’s a kind-hearted and polite girl, displaying manners when talking to adults even after they’ve started treating her as a grown-up rather than a child.
And Clementine truly deserves being treated as an adult, as her adaptiveness, pragmatism, improvisation skills, optimism, strong moral compass and ability to solve disputes have saved the group from certain death on numerous occasions. She’s also a nonconformist who’s never afraid to speak her mind.
While Clementine becomes more bitter and dismissive of other people as a teenager, it’s clear that her cold demeanour is more a product of her experiences rather than a fully-fledged personality trait. If we were to summarize Clementine as a fictional person, great character development would be the first thing to come to mind. Seeing Clementine growing from an intelligent and adaptable, yet frightened little girl into a full-on badass is by far one of the greatest experiences in video gaming history.
So are you more of a Lara Croft or a Senua? Either way, today is all about you so happy International Women’s Day. Also, don’t forget to reach out in case we missed one of your favorite female video game characters.
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.
I mean, obviously, right? How could we celebrate the greatest female character in video game history without including its most iconic character?
Though Lara started her gaming career as a generously proportioned bootleg Indiana Jones, after several sequels, one million reimaginations and god knows how many tweaks, she went on to become more than a poster girl, both literally and figuratively.
Granted, some iterations miss the point of her character completely, either over-sexualizing Lara or making her too sassy.
Fortunately, the recent reboots marked a total transformation for Lara as a character – she’s strong, physically and emotionally resilient, resourceful and, most importantly, she acts and sounds like a human being. So here’s to Lara, 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 be 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, more widely known as The Jedi Exile, is not your typical Jedi. She’s neither as zealous and loyal to the teaching of the Order as other Masters, nor dismissive as the Sith – she’s somewhere in the middle.
What makes her particularly interesting as a character is not necessarily her personality traits, but how atypical and different she felt in a Star Wars media product that already deviated from the norms and conventions of the franchise.
While the first KOTOR stood, thematically speaking, within the borders of the series, KOTOR 2 took a moodier, more philosophical approach. In effect, the game is a massive deconstruction of the Force, discussing the moral and ethical implications of wielding such powers, and whether or not anybody should have them in the first place.
Meetra Surik, a Jedi Master and veteran of the Mandalorian Wars who was exiled due to her actions during the war, falls somewhere between the two alignments. Meetra Surik’s compassion for lives lost during the Mandalorian assault, as well as her disdain for the Order’s resistance to making any meaningful changes, led her to join Revan’s rogue faction of Jedi, against the wishes of the Order.
A natural leader who had the ability to attract many followers, she was never afraid to question the decisions and doctrines of the Order, much to the chagrin of senior members who were either zealously attached to the values of their organization, or afraid that any slight deviation from the norms will throw the galaxy into chaos.
While the Order was marked by bouts of institutional stagnancy and ideological dilemmas, Meetra Surik distinguished herself due to her ability to make difficult decisions. Even deep in exile, when she grew deeply disillusioned with the teachings of the Order and the world in general, she was known to show compassion for other people, risking exposure to the Sith, who were actively purging the last Jedis. Her compassion for other people, charisma, leadership skills, and bravery are some of the many things that recommend her for the spot amongst 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!
Imagine this: it’s 1999, the world is rocked by the y2k craze, Britney Spears’ career is in full swing, and a little-known cult show called The Sopranos had just premiered on HBO. In the final month of the second millenium, Mucky Foot Productions, a small British studio, releases Urban Chaos, an action adventure game set in Union City, a fictional counterpart of New York City.
And it’s an open world game, two years before Grand Theft Auto. And it has a cop as a protagonist. A female cop. An African-American female cop. And the game gives you non-lethal ways to approach situations! Again, this is 1999, not 2019, when such things are more common. Wait, are you telling me there hasn’t been a game with an African-American female cop protagonist since then? Well how about that?
D’arci Stern is one of the female characters (nay, characters regardless of gender) that deserve way more attention than they’ve gotten so far. D’arci Stern in particular deserves more credit not necessarily because of her ethnicity and gender, but because she’s a great character in general.
While some elements of her background are cliched by modern standards – the whole part about her dad dying in the line of duty and her following in her footsteps screams of 90’s buddy-cop dramedy -, she compensates in other areas.
D’arci is a no nonsense rookie cop (ok, I promise this is the last cliche) who does everything by the book and believes in the duty and integrity of her job. This task is made difficult by the fact that all the city’s institutions, from the Mayor’s office to the police departments, are incredibly corrupt – like, Netflix’s Daredevil level of corrupt.
Seriously, the city’s street gangs have a stronger work ethic than these freaking cops. They’re cartoonishly corrupt, and it takes an equally sassy and wise-cracking cop. So if you want to see one of the best female video game characters this side of the pond in action, check out Urban Chaos – it’s criminally underrated.
5. Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
- Very intelligent
- A capable professional who is very good at her job
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.
Released with no fanfare back in 2000, No One Lives Forever went on to garner a cult following for its story, chic and sexy 1960’s aesthetic and satisfying gameplay. Another aspect which received praised the game’s protagonist.
A former high-skilled cat burglar who roamed the streets of 1950’s London in search for the next big heist, Cate Archer caught the attention of UNITY, a fictional pan-governmental agency, after stealing the watch of Bruno Lawrie, a field agent working for the organization.
Impressed by her skills, courage and tact, he enlisted Cate in the UNITY training program and took her under his wing. Under his guidance, she went on to work for UNITY’s counterintelligence division and became one of the best spies in the history of the agency.
Although, on paper, her job was to counter Soviet counterintelligence efforts, in practice, most of her days were spent fighting H.A.R.M, a shadowy terrorist organization bent on, what else, conquering the entire world.
In true 1960’s spy-thriller-cheese, Cate fights the Soviets and H.A.R.M. by using a generous arsenal of wacky gadgets disguised as ordinary female fashion items – for example, lipstick explosive devices.
Speaking of fashion, Cate herself looks like she’s been ripped out of 1960’s fashion magazine, with pearl earrings, red lipstick, and a Jackie Onassis-type hairstyle. Or, if you want to be more specific, she looks like Betty Draper if she suddenly decided to leave Don Draper and follow her dream of becoming an international spy.
Speaking of era-specific social mores, No One Lives Forever doesn’t let it retro-futuristic aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek world without addressing one of the most defining aspects of the 60’s – sexism. Despite tackling an entire terrorist organization and fighting the operatives of a totalitarian state basically on her own, Cate Archer still isn’t safe from her colleagues’ misogynistic remarks.
Despite these remarks, Cate displays an almost inhumane level of cool and patience, deciding against confronting them directly and focusing on doing her job and demonstrating how useless her male colleagues are. This is not to say that Cate’s personality is purely reactive.
Her main draw is the way she carries herself, and how in a world where the people in charge minimize her accomplishments – one scene has the boss of the agency stating that Cate is clearly falsifying her reports to make herself look better – , she’s perfectly content with brushing them off and saving the world again, and again, and again. Let’s just hope that, at some point after the events of the game, she went on to become the agency’s director, to the chagrin of her old 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.
If this doesn’t perfectly sum up Lohse’s character, I don’t know what else could.
Lohse’s character checks all the boxes of a classic damsel in distress – ditsy? Check. Naive? Check. Famous performer that people kill each other to see? Check. Is fully aware of the dangers that come with fame and exposure, but can’t help herself to always getting into trouble? Check, check, check.
But that’s only the surface that encompasses a deceptively deep character because, you see, Lohse has a very, very dark secret. Something is trying to take control of her mind, and damned if she won’t find out who or what is trying to sabotage her life. Lohse approaches all of her (absolutely terrifying) problems with the nonchalance of a cat that banged its head against the wall and went on like nothing actually happened. As for her sense of humor… well, I’ll just leave this here.
Oh, and she’s also sort of Divinity and has to work towards ascending, so you know, your girl has a lot on her plate. Not that she would ever take herself or her situation too seriously – even faced with death itself, she couldn’t allow herself to go out without cracking a bad joke.
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 for 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.
Owing probably to the fact that Night in the Woods is a relatively recent release, most, if not all, publications have understandably (and infuriatingly) omitted to include her in their lists. And what better time to shine a light on one of the best female video game characters out there?
Despite appearances, Night in the Woods is far from being your run-off-the-mill, small-town picturesque story. A former booming town, the closure of the mines, the main source of local employment, crippled the economy of Possum Springs. The game is as much about the economic stagnancy of the middle class as it is about the people who are caught in the resulting whirlwind of poverty and social alienation.
Quite fittingly, the characters are reflective of the town’s economic situation. There’s Gregg, Mae’s cheerful and possibly bipolar childhood friend who works long hours in a convenience store.
Gus, Gregg’s boyfriend who spends his days at the front desk of a video-renting store – in 2017, mind you. Bea, another of Mae’s friends, is forced to stay in Possum Springs and tend to her father’s business, who’s suffered a breakdown after his wife died of cancer. Other notable characters include Rosa, and elderly woman nostalgic after the good days and. Lori, a teenager characterized by her love for horror films and her dream of one day directing them.
Then there’s Mae, a 20-year-old college-dropout who returns to her girlhood town in the hopes of recovering after an unspecified event. Mae discovered how much the time has changed since she left, and realized that her quest for self-betterment will require more work than moving into her parent’s attic.
What makes Mae such a strong female character is, quite paradoxically, her deeply flawed nature. Mae has a troubled past, marked by depression and anger issues. In high school, she caused an incident involving a classmate, leaving her with a bad reputation in town and her parents with a lot of debt. Possibly due to her depression and low self-esteem, she is snarky and short with those around her.
However, she is fully aware of her flaws (even referring to herself as ‘’a jerk’’) and throughout the game, Mae makes a genuine effort to better herself. She grows more compassionate as the story progresses, comforting people who question their self-worth. Mae also learns how to be more open about her problems and discuss them with her loved ones. Mae is far from being the moral compass of the game, but this is exactly what makes her so relatable.
2. Jade (Beyond Good and 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 whos actually telling the truth and all this..
Jade hit the screens in an era when strong female game characters were kind of a rarity. The first thing that caught the eye of gamers and the industry alike was her unusual design – as in, SHE WAS FULLY CLOTHED. Michel Ancel wanted to create a character that resembled a ‘’real person’’, so much more attention was put into her role, situation, background and actions in the game. Thus, Jade’s character design and ‘’girl next door’’ look was born.
There’s more to her character than her appearance – otherwise it would defeat the purpose of her tasteful design, wouldn’t it? She lives in an island lighthouse with her uncle, a boar-like creature name Pey’j. Jade is a talented photojournalist (this was 2003, ok?) who earns her living by doing freelance work.
Contrary to your run of the mill photojournalist, her work isn’t a means to fund her bohemian lifestyle in Brooklyn and one-spice-latte-a-day habit, as most of the money goes into keeping their shield generator in working order. Oh, and caring for children orphaned by the attacks of the DomZ, a malevolent alien race. And she’s an expert in martial arts. And she’s 20 years old. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Due to her experience as a journalist, she’s recruited by the IRIS Network, an anti-government resistance movement. She’s tasked with exposing the collaboration between DomZ and Alpha Sections, a military organization whose official mission is to counter the alien offensive. She uses her wit, street-smarts and martial art skills to infiltrate various government facilities to obtain evidence of their misdeeds – which includes human trafficking, amongst others.
Her story sounds either as an aspiring journalist’s wet dream or worst nightmare. Jade’s take on her situation is somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, she is fully aware of the danger and that she may very well die.
On the other hand, she has a strong sense of justice, and takes it upon herself to expose Alpha Sections for that they truly are. Jade is just a normal person who’s trying to make the best out of an unusual situation through her skills, dogged determination and wit. These traits, and many others, make her deserving of a spot amongst the best female video game characters.
1. Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)/strong
- 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…
Hellblade is a game unique in its approach regarding mental illness, and its protagonist is reflective of how serious Ninja Theory was about portraying such afflictions accurately, with all of their weight and devastating consequences.
Senua is a grief-stricken pict warrior on a dangerous journey through Viking lands, trying to resurrect her lover Dillion by going to Hell and negotiating with the goddess of Death herself for his salvation, and perhaps, in a way, her own.
She is also suffering from psychosis, in a day and age where such people were segregated from their clans and sent out into the wilderness. Senua is a brave and fierce fighter, because in this unforgiving world, it’s her only choice. However, her true strength lies not in her combat prowess, but in her journey of inner growth, healing, and redemption.
Beyond Senua’s journey, what really got to me while playing the game was the sound design. It’s both terrific and terrifying, with the voices in her head constantly taunting and offering advice, or leading us on, giving a unique insight into Senua’s inner world and her struggles.
She is fearsome, yes, but she is also vulnerable, and human, and flawed, and in many ways, she is all of us, all of our fears and hopes and dreams. And for people who suffer from mental illness in the real world, she is hope. Hope that the stigma could one day go away and that they might be better understood. Hope that empathy prevails over prejudice.
Senua’s significance transcends the world of pop culture and gaming, taking root in the collective unconscious as one of the greatest female protagonists of all time, a brave character written with true depth, and brilliantly brought to life by Melina Juergens.
So there you have it, our absolute favorite and best female video game characters of all time. What is your favorite female video game character? Let us know in the comment section!
Although I’ve always had a love for everything related to pop culture (films, TV shows, comics books), video games were, and will be my one true love. My first contact with video games occurred sometime in the late 90’s when my parents got me a NES console.
I still remember the satisfaction I felt after beating the final boss in Ninja Gaiden getting past the first freaking level of Battle Toads after several weeks of excruciating pain. You can call it hopeless nostalgia, and you’d be right. And I’ll search for and dissect every video game that will give me even a tinge of that experience (Read more…)
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