Five strong female characters from video games

4 mins read

This is inspired by a post I saw on Chic Pixel’s blog on women in video games, and how, especially in the Japanese games industry, they still tend to conform to stereotype and are designed to appeal to male gamers.

It got me thinking – what are some of the strong women in video games? By ‘strong’ I don’t necessarily mean physical strength, there are other ways a character can be a strong presence within a game – but I came up with a list of five ‘top’ examples of female characters that break through the stereotypes.
5) Lyn

The Fire Emblem series has generally followed the convention of powerful men being the leader, and, while women fight as equals on the battlefield, the story direction is ultimately driven by the males.
That Lyn was the first ‘lead’ character in the first Fire Emblem game to be translated into English was a good step for the series. And, though she generally takes a back seat after the tutorial levels, she remains one of the few ‘lord’ characters the Fire Emblem series have seen.
4) Lightning

Lighting isn’t sexy, perky, or a princess to be rescued. She’s also a rare example of a female main character in the Final Fantasy series. She’s hard and determined, but also capable of being feminine.
It will be interesting to see if the character continues through to Final Fantasy XIII-2, because Lightning is the most mature female character Square Enix has come up with to date.

3) Alexandra Rovias

This is a name that’s probably been forgotten, but Eternal Darkness’ Alexandra Rovias was the glue that held the game together.
She accepted the horrors she was going through with a stoicism that some of the other medley of characters in the game were incapable of, and went through her business with a determination that marked her out as a very powerful presence against the otherworldy evils she was up against.
It’s a pity Silicon Knights has failed to get its act together and do a sequel, because it understands how to create compelling female characters.
2) Kaine

Aside from the S & M costuming, Kaine is a wonderfully entertaining and powerful female character. Foul mouthed and full of attitude, she is also an incredibly talented warrior and loyal to her small, strange group of friends.
Though there’s an element of “save the princess” in the story around her, it is nonetheless a story in which she can take a powerful role in.
1) Oichi

Oichi benefits from the fact she’s a real person from history, so her strength of character is already there.
However, Tecmo Koei’s interpretation of her in the Warriors games makes her out to be a true tragic hero. Despite suffering incredible hardships, her sense of honour is admirable, and by having her participate in the battles themselves (something the historical woman never did), Tecmo Koei added an additional martial later to her personality, turning her into a physical, as we as personal presence during the era.
Of course, Capcom also showed us how to turn her history into a joke with its Sengoku Busara game, which turned Oichi into a gothic lolita, but the less said about that the better:

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  • Wow, glad to see I inspired this post! Unfortunately the only character on your list that I can say I've had any experience with is Lightening, and even then I've yet to finish FFXII so I don't know her full story.

    I just started playing Nier, though, so I'm excited to learn more about Kaine.

    Also, what do you think of Beatrix from FFIX? I found that she was a really great character because of her contrast with Steiner, and how the female soldiers of Alexandria are shown to be more competent than the men. The fact that her boss battles are literally unwinnable really showcases how powerful she is, kind of like when you play with Sephiroth on your team in VII and he completely wipes out everything you go up against.

  • I can't really comment on Beatrix – FFIX is one of the lesser games in the series for me, so I never did form a strong opinion of the characters.

    I lost myself entirely within the world of XIII though, and really appreciated all of the characters (yes, even Vanille and Hope). I felt that across the board Square Enix did a good job of presenting balanced characters in that game.

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