aloy women in gaming

The Top Five: Women in Games

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

If there’s one thing I appreciate in gaming, it’s a strong female character. In recent years, we’ve seen countless women in games, ranging from fierce warriors to masters of the supernatural. These days, if a game doesn’t have a female lead, you at least have the choice to select one.

I’ve played so many games with brilliant female protagonists in the last decade. It was honestly difficult getting this list down to just five!

So, which of these characters rank the highest in my opinion? Read on to find out…

And as always – beware of spoilers!

1. Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn, 2017)

The Top Five: Women in Games

I almost… almost missed Horizon. When I first played it, I wasn’t immediately taken by it, and it hit the shelf again for a couple of months. However, the second outing was much more successful and I all but fell in love with it. The gorgeous world, the brilliant story, the innovative combat… It was awesome.

Aloy – voiced by the amazing Ashly Burch – was a fantastic protagonist. She was headstrong, determined, skilled, and very well designed. She can hold her own against an onslaught of maniacal robots with nothing more than a bow and a pointy stick. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but it gives you an insight into her badassery.

2. Jodie Holmes (Beyond Two Souls, 2013)

The Top Five: Women in Games

Oh man, was I late to the party on this one. I played Beyond Two Souls just weeks ago, through PS Now. I’d always been a fan of this kind of game (Heavy Rain, Fahrenheit, etc), but BTS does it really well. I was completely hooked on the story and logged several hours every time I played it. I found myself sucked in, exploring every angle and considering each decision.

Jodie Holmes takes centre stage in this one, played by the wonderful Ellen Page. We join Jodie on her journey across almost two decades of her life. It’s a weird and wonderful story for sure, and Page doesn’t disappoint in her delivery. The game was crafted entirely in mo-cap, and the acting is absolutely superb.

Holmes herself is a seriously awesome character. She boasts an otherworldly connection to an ‘entity’ called Aiden, an incredibly unique trait. Through Aiden, she can manipulate the real world, as well as the people around her. In BTS, we see her as a frightened child, rebellious teenager and gifted adult. It’s a multi-faceted, broad perspective title that simply must be experienced.

3. D’arcy Stern (Urban Chaos, 1999)

The Top Five: Women in Games

Freeze, police!

I can’t hear these words without thinking of D’arcy Stern, cop warrior extraordinaire. Along with her partner Roper, she fights crime all across Union City. This is a pretty strange title to be sure, as you go from beating the snot out of perps to battling against apocalyptic end-of-days forces.

No, seriously. There’s a cult of weird, bald-headed, minigun-toting murderers on the loose.

Stern is a fantastic character, and likely the first black female lead in gaming history. That’s a claim to fame for sure. She’s adept at hand to hand combat, is a keen detective, and a dab hand with firearms. In my opinion, Urban Chaos is a seriously underappreciated title that should have definitely had a sequel. It did spawn a spiritual successor in 2006 called Urban Chaos: Riot Response, but sadly this was almost unrelated entirely.

4. Max Caulfield (Life is Strange, 2015)

The Top Five: Women in Games

I’ve said multiple times that Life is Strange is cherished title of mine. It’s eons away from what I usually enjoy, but I was pulled deep into LiS in 2015 and fell in love. The story, the graphic style, the voice acting… I thought it was the total package.

Overall, Max is a fantastic character. She’s determined to help all those around her, is caring and considerate, and a loyal friend. Oh yeah, she’s also blessed with the ability to control time. Over the course of five episodes, we learn to appreciate Max as a determined and intelligent character. She’s definitely deserving of a spot on my list.

5. Ciri (The Witcher 3, 2015)

Ciri, aka The Lady of Space and Time. This is a woman trained by legendary witchers, blessed with the ability to travel between dimensions. She’s an expert with a sword and is unfathomably powerful, with the potential to literally blink and phase through the world.

She’s the daughter of a powerful emperor and the adoptive daughter of Geralt of Rivia, one of the most badass characters in gaming history. Not only that, she’s smart, considerate and has a great sense of humour.

There are few characters that would be a better fit for this list.

Honourable Mentions

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, 2013)

The icon. The legend. Lara Croft. It’s likely an unpopular opinion, but I rank the new Tomb Raider games fairly high – definitely higher than the original Tomb Raider franchise. Lara has become the ultimate warrior, with advanced investigative skills, incredible athletic ability and unbeatable weapons skills.

Ellie (Last of Us, 2013)

The world has ended at the hands of the apocalypse and you’re the first person with a natural immunity. You know how to look after yourself and your friends, and you have valuable street smarts. Despite the terror surrounding you, you’re full of wisecracks and care about those close to you.

Yes, that’s Ellie – a great character. Thankfully, we’ll see her again in 2020 when The Last of Us 2 launches!

FemShep (Mass Effect, 2007)

Sadly, Commander Shepard wasn’t my favourite character on the citadel. Although, she does make the honourable mentions. She’s a space-faring, Reaper fighting, alien seducing icon that boasts a successful and popular trilogy. What more could you ask for?

What do you think of my list? Do you agree?

Let us know in the comments below!


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  1. Clementine is my number 1. Seeing her character grow through the Walking Dead games is one of my favorite memories.

  2. Good for you not putting Lara Croft at the top. Ever else does but really apart from the recent (less revered) games, she has been a largely unremarkable character.

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Written by Grant Taylor