No Right Answer: Strongest Female Video Game Lead Ever

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Strongest Female Video Game Lead Ever

With women more and more admitting they like video games, and game publishers realizing women have spending dollars too, females are being better and better represented in games. So who is the current poster child?

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Honestly? Neither of those mentioned.
Because the strongest lead is Sarah Kerrigan.
(Despite the fact that they gave her evolved form a thong and high-heels..)

Though I really can't comment on Last of Us or Bioshock: Infinite, because I have played neither of them. Still, even if I had, I doubt I would change my mind. Sarah has a nice story-arc, character-growth throughout the games, and very much stands out from the scenery compared with every other character in the Starcraft-series.

It was Samus until Other M happened.

Now though yeah I'd say it's Kerrigan. She's the queen bitch of the universe.

I really like what they did to Ellie and she's never powerless or in need of rescue and that is awesome. I would like to mention Elika from Prince of Persia 2008, although you don't play with her, she helps you the whole game, she rescues you when you fall and she saves the whole country in the end (ignoring the horrible plot twist at the very end).

hmm Nope..

Out of the two selected.. I suppose I'd pick Ellie, although she finally folds to Joel's will, but only after he folds to her will. She always seems resourceful and capable, although I'd argument that her independence comes from her youthful stubbornness, and a lot of the conflict comes from the fact that although she wants to be capable, she really is quite powerless (along with everyone else in the game tbh).

Although Elizabeth does turn into a more independent character when she is not in booker's company ( and ends up being an almighty multidimensional overlord-ess ), she is just a damsel in distress through most of the game. All you really do is run around saving her, even if she can never really get attacked by enemies.

In any case.... neither of them are BEST EVUR.. if you forget OTHER M
strongest lead would be Samus Aran... Although her skills are a bit too traditionally action hero.

Better anyway are Chell from Portal. And Jade from Beyond good and evil. Even Yuna from FF10 is better, as silly as that plot ends up being.

About Sarah Kerrigan... hmmmm
I don't know.. shes under the influence of the hive mind most of the time... yeah she's supposed to be in control... but its quite clear that shes always being controlled. Her independence comes more from her alien-hood than her womanhood... and before being the queen of blades she didn't really have the most noteworthy of personalities either... Also, as with all things blizzard, they are starting to convolute the plot to unsustainably ridiculous proportions, so it's almost impossible to draw a line whee character personalities make sense.

Gotta go with Ellie.

Not only is she a female, but she's also a child.

To have such a well written character that encompasses two traits that usually fall flat on their face, is a godsend.

Although, I'd throw Clementine into that list too.

Neither of these characters are "lead" characters. Jade from BGE is a lead, obviously Lara Croft, Bayonetta, Ecco the dolphin, Samus, etc... Those are leads. Ellie and Elizabeth are both supporting characters.

Well, if we're talkin' totally awesome badass women, I bring Kreia from KOTOR 2 to the table.

You want someone badass, you can't do much better than Kreia.

I know i'm pointing out the obvious, but neither of those characters are the leading character.

Erm... why isn't this Samus vs Lara Croft?

The only reason I ask is because the premise here is 'strongest female video game lead character.'

Neither Ellie nor Elizabeth are lead characters. They're support characters. They support the main character of their respective games, which in both cases is a grizzled, stubbly, cynical middle aged man.

Samus and Lara are both the protagonists of their respective franchises, and both play support role to no man. Sure, you can comment on how Samus was treated in the last Metroid game, or on Lara's virtues as a character versus her rather sexualised appearance, but at the end of the day, they are both female leads who have been the faces of their respective franchises for decades, and who have acted as the conduit through which players can kick all sorts of ass.

I mean, I don't mean to sound snarky, but it's just a little worrying when the go-to example and definition of strongest female leads in a nerd community such as this is two female characters defined by the way they support the male characters in-game, rather than two female characters who are actually independent and strong with nary a man in sight.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but it seems a bit lazy and/or misguided to nominate supporting NPCs for the title of best lead in a game, instead of researching some playable female characters that also happen to be well written.

I admit, I haven't played many games that qualify, but so far my money's on April Ryan from The Longest Journey.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Erm... why isn't this Samus vs Lara Croft?

The only reason I ask is because the premise here is 'strongest female video game lead character.'

Neither Ellie nor Elizabeth are lead characters. They're support characters. They support the main character of their respective games, which in both cases is a grizzled, stubbly, cynical middle aged man.

Samus and Lara are both the protagonists of their respective franchises, and both play support role to no man. Sure, you can comment on how Samus was treated in the last Metroid game, or on Lara's virtues as a character versus her rather sexualised appearance, but at the end of the day, they are both female leads who have been the faces of their respective franchises for decades, and who have acted as the conduit through which players can kick all sorts of ass.

I mean, I don't mean to sound snarky, but it's just a little worrying when the go-to example and definition of strongest female leads in a nerd community such as this is two female characters defined by the way they support the male characters in-game, rather than two female characters who are actually independent and strong with nary a man in sight.

I know right? It's like the only eligible games were those less than 6 months old... why?

Dear No Right Answer:

Please learn what a "lead character" is.
Ellie and Elizabeth are both supporting rolls,

Their participation in the plot is either passive or forced upon them.
Ellie is the lead for two chapters of Last of Us.
But for the most part it's Joel and Booker actively driving the plot while Ellie and Elizabeth follow and provide...Support.

Best female character, sure those are worthy choices, but they aren't lead.
Asides from two brief scenes Ellie doesn't drive the plot (Her condition does, but that's passive)

Clementine from Walking Dead is a better "Lead" character because her motivation is the only thing driving Lee to do the plot.

Joel and Booker would be doing this whether or not Ellie and Elizabeth had anything to do about it.

You consider the Last of Us is more violent than Bioshock Infinite? I would say Bioshock Infinite is far more violent. The violence is The Last of Us might be more realistic, but Bioshock is more prevalent, gory, and even runs counter to the narrative.

Also, Elizabeth's downgrade from the bad ass girl in the original trailer to a Rapunzel ripoff really lowers her standing imo. I liked the active roll she had there, initiating things for Booker to exploit better than the passive, only perform an action if Booker tells her to roll she ended up with.

I didnt know antagonists count as leads. Cause to me they dont. (Kerrigan and Kreia are antagonists in the end).

Samus was mine along with many others the nnumber one choice. She is cool and actually the lead in her games. Chell, though cool, is essentially just the player, so I dont really count her.

Personally, I cast my vote for Fem!Shep from Mass Effect. Because Fem!Shep can never get enough love... not even from Garrus.

I'd pick Bayonetta to be honest. I think there is a lot of depth and nuance which makes her a great character that's far more than just eyecandy and I appreciate Bayonetta's acceptance and control of her own sexuality. There are lots of other things I like about her character, but that's something we don't see in games very often.

matell:
I know right? It's like the only eligible games were those less than 6 months old... why?

Speaking of that.... There's no Jade. What the fuck. She's actually a lead character; she's the most capable in the series (beating HH and Peyj, both males); and she has a character arc that establishes her female characteristics instead of being a man with boobs. I wish people would stop masturbating for ad revenue and start remembering good games.

Delcast:
Her independence comes more from her alien-hood than her womanhood.

This is why I don't get why people are saying she's a "strong female character". As you say, her "independence" comes from the fact that she's been zergified, not because she's a woman standing on her own. Her story arc would fit just as easily to a male as it would for a female. Character starts as a loyal soldier, character gets viciously betrayed and left to a horrific fate, character gains untold amounts of power, character uses that power to seek revenge on those that betrayed her. Upon getting said revenge, character fully embraces the darkness inherent in their power and decides she wants to become the evil overlord of the galaxy.

She doesn't change the Zerg when she takes over, she rather just fully embraces her role as the leader of the Zerg. Once the Overmind has been dealt with, she basically just wants to take its place as the ruler of the Zerg and go on to accomplish what the Overmind was already trying to do: consume and assimilate everything. As I said, you could just as easily stick a male into that role and the story wouldn't change at all. With a character like Ellie, you could stick a little boy into her role and suddenly it becomes an entirely different story. It goes from being a story of innocence lost to being a "how to become a man" story. Same thing with Elizabeth, if you slap a young man into her role, he'd likely be blasting away with a shotgun side-by-side with Booker as they try to break out of Columbia.

Kerrigan is only a "strong female character" in the sense that she's a female that's obscenely powerful. She doesn't really "advance the cause" in any way, shape, or form other than saying "Hey check it out! Our main bad-guy is actually a girl!" The concept of a powerful villainess, however, is certainly nothing new or unique to the universe of StarCraft.

As for the episode itself:
RIIIIIGGED! You just wanted Hermon to win because he was a guest on the show! You start out by giving him one sentence on his first turn resulting in no points, then give him two points in another turn in which he didn't even make two good points, then just edit out him drinking so that he gets to win the drinking round! I call shenanigans!

Neither of these are lead characters in the way that they are the character you play the most in the game, and they're definitely not the strongest either way. I can't tell if this is a joke or not, but I'm going to assume it is because you've actually made good episodes before. >_>

Even if you could only choose games from the last six months, Nilin beats Elizabeth without having to try. I haven't played The Last of Us, but I know you mostly play as a guy for the game. My pick would still be Nilin from the last six months of video gaming. Actually, the boss from Saints Row 4 if you make her female would make the three previous ones cry and beg for their mommies. I'm guessing she doesn't count though.

I'd go for Jade, Alice or Commander Sheppard if we were debating which was the strongest female lead ever. See, they're actually the lead of their game too. Amazing, isn't it.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Erm... why isn't this Samus vs Lara Croft?

Bleh I rather Johna Dark somewhere there.

Saelune:
I didnt know antagonists count as leads. Cause to me they dont. (Kerrigan and Kreia are antagonists in the end).

Atleast in HotS Kerrigan isn't an antagonist anymore. One way or the other she's more of a lead character then those mentioned.

I'll go with Jade here. Although I also liked Faith and Chell.

RJ 17:

Delcast:
Her independence comes more from her alien-hood than her womanhood.

This is why I don't get why people are saying she's a "strong female character". As you say, her "independence" comes from the fact that she's been zergified, not because she's a woman standing on her own. Her story arc would fit just as easily to a male as it would for a female.

Wait what? So because the reason for her being a strong character is not that she's a woman, she's not a strong woman character? I don't think I agree there.
In fact I don't even think I understand it.

Edit:

Ukomba:

Laura - Tomb Raider

have you per chance recently watched Conan O'Brien's review of said game? ;)

You know who might have been a better example of a strong female lead?

Fem Shepard - Mass Effect (My Personal Favorite)
Chell - Portal (Another Personal Favorite)
Heather - Silent Hill 3
Rydia - FF4
Rosa - FF4
Tera - FF6
Celes - FF6
Tifa - FF7
Aeris - FF7
Yuna - FF10
Ashelia - FF12
Lightning - FF13
Marle - Chrono Trigger
Lucca - Chrono Trigger
Mara Jade - Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 'Mysteries of the Sith'
Samus - Metroid
Laura - Tomb Raider
Joanna - Perfect Dark
Jill - Resident Evil
The Exile (Canonically female named Meetra Surik) - Knights of the Old Republic 2
Alex - Eternal Darkness
Zoey - Left4Dead
Faith - Mirrors Edge
Jade - Beyond Good & Evil

And those are just games I've played and could think of off the top of my head. Elizabeth and Ellie may make it onto a top twenty of strongest supporting female characters.

Definitely Jade, although Samus and Faith are close runner-ups.

I have a soft spot for Yunica in Ys: Origin. No magic, her goddesses are in trouble, so she charges up the demon-infested tower with an AXE. That's can-do attitude for you.

Also Recette from Recettear gets a point for entrepreneurship.

Mikeyfell:
Dear No Right Answer:

Please learn what a "lead character" is.
Ellie and Elizabeth are both supporting rolls,

Their participation in the plot is either passive or forced upon them.
Ellie is the lead for two chapters of Last of Us.
But for the most part it's Joel and Booker actively driving the plot while Ellie and Elizabeth follow and provide...Support.

Best female character, sure those are worthy choices, but they aren't lead.
Asides from two brief scenes Ellie doesn't drive the plot (Her condition does, but that's passive)

Clementine from Walking Dead is a better "Lead" character because her motivation is the only thing driving Lee to do the plot.

Joel and Booker would be doing this whether or not Ellie and Elizabeth had anything to do about it.

Hey Mikeyfell,

An arguement can be made that these two characters are "Co-Leads" in their respective games. Even though the player only controls Ellie for a portion of the game, and only interacts with Elizabeth instead of playing her, the two ladies seem to transcend the traditional "Support" role.

That's just our opinion though, and when we used the term "Lead" we were referring to the plot, not the gameplay. Yes, Elizabeth is an NPC, and Ellie isn't played very long, but plot-wise they are just as much if not more a driving force in the story than their male companions.

Perhaps a better title would be "Strongest Female Video Game Protagonist", though I'm sure that would still cause debate. It's all in good fun, though, and I hope you enjoyed the video.

If we're talking about leads and not supporting characters (as fantastic as Elizabeth is, she's not the core lead), I'm going to have to go left-field for my view: Dr. Eva Rosalene from To The Moon. At the beginning of the game, you pick between Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts. While it doesn't affect gameplay, it certainly effects speeches and descriptions because there is a difference between Eva and Neil. Neil is the childish jokey side-kick, while Eva is the person trying to remain serious and professional while caring about doing a job well. However, through-out it's developed that she does care about the subject of the game: Johnny and his wish to go to the moon. However, she steps up the bad-arse level towards the end.

Another bonus is unlike a lot of female characters which tend to either have hearts of ice or hearts two sizes too big, she feels very much real in terms of how she acts. She has her flaws, and she does expresses her feminine side too. However, her being a female doesn't define her. Nor is it gender blind. If her role was replaced with a second male character and her actions/lines were changed over without alteration the second male would come off as rather strangely feminine.

Seriously, To The Moon is a masterpiece and Eva is a fantastic female lead. Although Faith from Mirror's Edge, Jade from Beyond Good & Evil and Heather from Silent Hill 3 are also fantastic leads.

Seriously? They just pick two random girls from recent games? Not even taking the time to find better ones from the past?

This whole video from the start is made of pure grade FAIL.

The fact that the two choices are females from very recent hot topic games tells me someone needs to play more games. There's tons of females to choose from, I like Kat from Gravity Rush because she manages to be a pretty normal person while also being heroic, I like Aschen from Super Robot Taisen: Endless Frontier because she's one of the funniest characters with all of her deadpan snarking and she can kick your ass, I like Ashe from Megaman ZX: Advent because she's really fun, heroic, and cool, and I like Marina from Mischief Makers because she's strong, able to keep a cool head in a world of seriousness, and takes on giant mechs with only the ability to grab things, Lillet from Grim Grimoire is a a very strong female character given what she accomplishes in the game, and Mercedes, Velvet and Gwendolyn from Odin Sphere are also very strong female characters.

Aya Brea anyone? (on the basis of the original Parasite Eve the only though)
Strong independent NYPD cop. At different points rescues pretty much everyone in the supporting cast. A story with absolute focus on her character through a lot of introspective monologue as she takes on most of the game solo. Not afraid to tell other people to shove off when they get in the way of her work.

Mai „Konoko" Hasegawa from bungie's oni.
Government ends her parents, brother is a terrorist and she has cancer (well it's more that cells are replaced with mutated ones). End of story, end of civilization.

The strongest female lead ever in any video game is hands down, Valesquez - from Traffic Department 2192.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_Department_2192

If you have not played this game, PLAY IT NOW. It is a classic in writing, science fiction and character development - especially when it comes to strong female leads. It touches on so many different topics from cloning to mind control to utter brutality, it's simply that goddamn good. Play it. Play it seriously and watch these characters with her grow into their own - and then die horrible, tragic deaths.

Even if one wants to go a bit more 'recent', there's plenty of other leads that would've worked out better. Karen Sejet, for instance is one that would've gone FAR better in this debate. Glados is another.

Delerien:
Edit:

Ukomba:

Laura - Tomb Raider

have you per chance recently watched Conan O'Brien's review of said game? ;)

Not yet, and I haven't played the latest Tomb Raider yet myself (My Steam Backlog is getting ridiculous).

Saelune:
I didnt know antagonists count as leads. Cause to me they dont. (Kerrigan and Kreia are antagonists in the end).

Samus was mine along with many others the nnumber one choice. She is cool and actually the lead in her games. Chell, though cool, is essentially just the player, so I dont really count her.

Kerrigan is an anti-villain at most in Heart of the Swarm, and yes, a lead can be a villain. A lead is simply whoever the action is centered upon, a person from whose perspective we see things.

RJ 17:

Delcast:
Her independence comes more from her alien-hood than her womanhood.

This is why I don't get why people are saying she's a "strong female character". As you say, her "independence" comes from the fact that she's been zergified, not because she's a woman standing on her own. Her story arc would fit just as easily to a male as it would for a female. Character starts as a loyal soldier, character gets viciously betrayed and left to a horrific fate, character gains untold amounts of power, character uses that power to seek revenge on those that betrayed her. Upon getting said revenge, character fully embraces the darkness inherent in their power and decides she wants to become the evil overlord of the galaxy.

She doesn't change the Zerg when she takes over, she rather just fully embraces her role as the leader of the Zerg. Once the Overmind has been dealt with, she basically just wants to take its place as the ruler of the Zerg and go on to accomplish what the Overmind was already trying to do: consume and assimilate everything. As I said, you could just as easily stick a male into that role and the story wouldn't change at all. With a character like Ellie, you could stick a little boy into her role and suddenly it becomes an entirely different story. It goes from being a story of innocence lost to being a "how to become a man" story. Same thing with Elizabeth, if you slap a young man into her role, he'd likely be blasting away with a shotgun side-by-side with Booker as they try to break out of Columbia.

Kerrigan is only a "strong female character" in the sense that she's a female that's obscenely powerful. She doesn't really "advance the cause" in any way, shape, or form other than saying "Hey check it out! Our main bad-guy is actually a girl!" The concept of a powerful villainess, however, is certainly nothing new or unique to the universe of StarCraft.

As for the episode itself:
RIIIIIGGED! You just wanted Hermon to win because he was a guest on the show! You start out by giving him one sentence on his first turn resulting in no points, then give him two points in another turn in which he didn't even make two good points, then just edit out him drinking so that he gets to win the drinking round! I call shenanigans!

She has quite a few strong character-tropes instead of being just 'powerful'. She's cunning, smart, tenacious, independent, etc.
I do not agree that it must focus on a womans 'womanhood' and what we consider to be 'feminine' in order for a role to be a strong, female role.
In fact, I think gender is largely interchangeable for many roles in fiction. It's just that women keep drawing the 'get captured and have to be rescued' stick over and over again. So having a Queen Bitch of The Universe instead of a Master Bastard Of The Universe is actually a big deal.

Best lead female characters EVAR! What are you serious? Come on guys I think you are just kinda going through a phase here because 1) Those are supporting roles 2) They both came out this year, seems like a rash decision and 3) If we are counting lead and secondary characters there is also Clementine, GLaDOS, Fem Shepard, Alyx Vance, Nanako, The Boss, Jill, Samus (from other M of course), and Morgan.

While Ellie and Elizabeth were strong female characters, they weren't really leads. Conversely, Jade from BG&E was a very strong female lead, but her game wasn't as widely known. This is the only reason I can see that she might not be debated.

Jennifer Hale, however got FemShep on the case of ME3. There's a character with widespread awareness and acclaim. I suppose one could try to undermine her impact by using BroShep, but any fan of the ME series sees those two as different characters in their own right.

I also liked Faith from Mirror's Edge. While the game was fun, however, she was far from memorable. Nilin from Remember Me was a fine attempt, but the game itself was too predictable, and some mechanics were flawed, so her impact is also lessened.

I'd say Lightning from FFXIII, but again, the game drags her down. With Tomb Raider, Lara's reputation as titillation brings her down (though the reboot did an amazing job of trying to level out that aspect).

Then there's Samus, who people consider as a hero and a warrior before they consider her as a woman (let's ignore "Other M"). She's very capable, well known in the gaming universe, and an apt contender for the title.

If we ignore gaming popularity, and go straight off the character, I might argue Jade, perhaps even Lightning. However, we are also going for notability...

So my argument would have to be FemShep vs Samus as the strongest memorable examples of female leads.

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