Video games are often criticized for being misogynistic, since a lot of them sexualize women in order to sell more copies. Over the years we’ve seen women with enhanced features and we’ve also seen not-so-bright female characters in games. A lot of these stereotypes about females (and males) can be found in games, but let’s not look past the shining examples of a strong female character. We still need some tropes eliminated from games, but 2013 has been a good year for female characters overall. Without going much into detail about the story of these characters, lets take a look at some of the best female characters this year in video games. These females are strong, kind, fearless and beautiful in every sense of the word. These are the top five women to have graced a video game in 2013.
#5. Character- Kairi | Voice Actress- Risa Uchida
Game- Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix | Developer- Square Enix
Kairi was the first video game girl I ever fell in love with. Kingdom Hearts was first released back in 2002 but the HD remake of this year rekindled my love for Kairi. She is ultra kind to everyone around her, loyal to her friends and true to the ones who have put their trust in her. Kairi is the type of girl who will always support you when you need her, but defiant enough to tell you that you’re wrong. She may not be the main character, but she is a big focal point in the game. Kairi is no damsel in distress, but Sora knows how special Kairi is, as he will do anything to be with her. I can’t blame him; I’d probably ask Kairi to marry me if I were him.
#4. Character- Lara Croft | Voice Actress- Camilla Luddinton
Game- Tomb Raider (2013) | Developer- Crystal Dynamics
Lara Croft is the most recognizable video game female in the industry. That’s because Lara is the gal that has been through it all. The pain and hardships she faces in a short period of time is remarkably brutal. She goes through trials and tribulations that would easily break the mental stability of many, but it never stops her. Lara is strong, determined and courageous; Lara is a true survivor. What makes Lara even more special is how beautiful she remains to be throughout, despite everything she goes through. Unlike other female figures in games, Lara’s sexual features aren’t enhanced or exaggerated; they don’t need to be. Even though the rest of her body is covered with dirt, blood and sweat she is still an attractive individual. Her eyes are what draw you in. You feel for Lara throughout the entire game as she struggles for life, even as everyone close to her dies. It is because of her eyes and voice that can portray her pain so well, that you can easily empathize with her struggles, and you soon feel the need to protect her even though she doesn’t need protection.
#3 Character- Jodie Holmes | Voice Actress- Ellen Page
Game- Beyond: Two Souls | Developer- Quantic Dream
Jodie is the type of girl I’d want to marry… If she didn’t have a spiritual entity attached to her soul. As a child Jodie was bullied for being different, but that only made her stronger. For the duration of her lifetime, this woman goes through a diverse set of problems. Homelessness, betrayal, abuse, loss and the inability to fit in to her surroundings. Jodie isn’t on a quest to save the world or on a mission to do what is right; she just wants to find a purpose in life. She just wants to live her life peacefully, but since she has a connection with a spiritual entity, she can’t. The character of Jodie was beautifully brought to life by the talented actress Ellen Page. Not only did her voice acting sell the emotions, but her facial expressions and human actions made the character of Jodie Holmes feel almost human. Whether you liked the game or not, you can not deny that Jodie Holmes is a strong female character.
#2. Character- Elizabeth | Voice Actress- Courtnee Draper
Game- Bioshock Infinite | Developer- Irrational Games
A woman of mystery and whimsy. Elizabeth is introduced as a damsel in distress, but she is far from it. She is strong and quirky, but yet serious and determined. Liz is still reduced to a sidekick for Booker DeWitt, but she is the more important character. She had been locked up for most of her life but has always dreamed to be free. Elizabeth never sat around waiting to be rescued, she studied about the world that has been locked away from for so long. So when Booker comes to set her loose, she is full of delight to see the world she has always dreamed of. Bright eyed and joyful, she steps into her new environment wanting to see everything in the world; especially Paris. As the storyline gets more serious, so does she. Elizabeth isn’t some cutesy comic relief character, she is a person with great strength and emotion. She is surprisingly mature and a bit stubborn. She isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes her great. Elizabeth is the right mixture of good and bad that makes her a humanized character.
#1. Character- Ellie | Voice Actress- Ashley Johnson
Game- The Last of Us | Developer- Naughty Dog
Ellie is bold, courageous, witty, sassy and charming all in one package. This teenage girl faces a post-apocalyptic world without fear. You play The Last of Us as Joel for the most part, but Ellie gets plenty of time to effectively steal the spotlight of the game. Enough to say that that she is one of the best video game characters of the year, male or female. Ellie has only known this post apocalyptic world, but she is curious about the life before it. She bombards Joel with question after question of his life before the chaos. The dynamic between Joel and Ellie is what makes both characters, and the game itself so great. The two could easily stand alone in this post apocalyptic world, but when they are together, it is truly magical. Ellie even has her own personal joke book that she takes out on occasion to Joel’s dismay. Her charm and wit makes her feel special to the player, as if she was your daughter that you’ve loved for years. Just like Lara, she will make you want to protect her, but she doesn’t need it. Even though she is just a teenager, she can take down a bunch of men and infected by herself. Ellie is stealthy and cunning, in a way Joel is not. That is why Ellie is the video game female character of the year.
The kind Kairi, eager Elizabeth, lovable Lara, just Jodie and elastic Ellie. These five females of video gaming are the bright spot of the year in terms of female roles in games. Non stereotypical, “real” women can definitely be found in video games. They aren’t common enough yet, but the video game industry is moving in the right direction.