Seven Favorite Female Game Characters (Who Aren’t Samus)

In case you’ve failed to look at a calendar during the past two weeks, it’s March, and that means it’s Women’s History Month. Though I’d like to think that we should simply celebrate humanity year-round, this provides some excuse to examine more closely the many contributions women have made to our collective history…of video games! Though depictions of women in some games are not without issue, great female characters have made (and continue to make) their marks in games past and present. Topping my list of favorite female characters is Samus Aran, the now-ubiquitous bounty hunter from the Metroid series. But I’ve not much more praise to foist upon her than has already been foisted. So here’s my list of seven notable females (from games I’ve played) that have held their own among the immense cast of video games characters.

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Chun-Li

Image by Flickr user  My DotPress
Image by Flickr user My DotPress (CC)

The first time I saw the graceful martial artist Chun-Li was in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and we’ve been decent acquaintances ever since. Along with the imposing company of Ms. Pac-Man and Princess Peach, Chun-Li was among my earliest encounters with female characters in video games. Though I eventually found a preferred fighting stride with Zangief, also of the Street Fighter series, Chun-Li has remained a strong second in command. I really like her move set, which hasn’t varied too much over the years. Although her classic Spinning Bird Kick will always be a mystery to me.

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Kazooie

Image by Flickr user wheresthebrain
Image by Flickr user wheresthebrain (CC)

I think of all the video game duos that exist in the world (not that I can think of a single other one right now…), the coupling of Banjo the bear and Kazooie the bird is probably my favorite. And of that couple, Kazooie wins hands…er, wings down. Rare’s most lovable of lovable games, Banjo-Kazooie, and its sequel Banjo-Tooie, made for some very memorable 3D puzzling and platforming, so much of which was made possible by Kazooie’s abilities. She was also quite the wiseacre to Banjo’s more subdued manner. Though she may have been quick to insult, her devotion to Banjo and their fight against evil was inspiring.

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Isabella

Something about Isabella from Dragon Age II reminded me of the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride. (Her quick wit and up-front manner, perhaps?) And that’s probably why I was immediately drawn to her as a cohort in DAII. Though my time with DAII wasn’t all that great, and I avoided most companion quests, hers I saw through to the end. Among all of DAII’s strong and capable women, Isabella just stood out a bit from the rest. Plus, she was a darn fine rogue to have along in battle!

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Syrenne (Seiren)

Image by Flickr user  mattjerome_88 (CC)
Image by Flickr user mattjerome_88 (CC)

In The Last Story, Syrenne (or Seiren, depending on the your version) fills the role as the feisty, playful, and tough-as-nails friend to head mercenary Zael. But lest her sometimes crude demeanor and drinking habits fool you, she’s a mean soldier who’s not afraid to take enemies head on in battle. In the game, Syrenne was far and way my favorite fighting companion, and she was fun to knock around with when there weren’t any battles to be had.

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Sister Hannah a.k.a. Hammer

(Skip to 8:53 for Hammer’s first appearance.)

In Fable 2, the player as the “Hero” met and traveled with series of companions throughout the game. One of those companions, and the first one I met, was Sister Hannah, or “Hammer” as she preferred, the Hero of Strength. Though my time with her was short, I quite adored her story, which she told in short bursts while traveling. Despite being raised as a monk, she remained conflicted about their pacifist ways. Her dialogue was amusing at some points, heart-wrenching at others, and it made her feel very “real.” Playing out her full and somewhat tragic storyline was quite the experience, and one I’ll always remember from Fable 2.

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Shiki Misaki

Image by Flickr user  Miguel A. Marcos
Image by Flickr user Miguel A. Marcos (CC)

When I first met the delicate-looking Shiki Misaki in The World Ends with You, I didn’t feel all that great about her tagging along with the moody main character Neku Sakuraba. Surely she was too young and too small for whatever awaited Neku in the Underground? Boy oh boy, was I a jerk to think that. Shiki turned out to be the best friend Neku could have asked for! Not only did she know about the Underground and how to battle, but her positivity and cheerfulness attracted the help of other friends, which Neku desperately needed. Unfortunately, Shiki only stays with Neku for a short time, too short if you ask me.

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Bayonetta

Image by Flickr user Jasohill (CC)
Image by Flickr user Jasohill (CC)

I’ll be honest. If Bayonetta was a real person, we’d likely not get along. She’s distant, arrogant, rude – none of which are qualities I look for in friends. (Though, what she doesn’t want everyone to know is that she’s also caring, devoted, and vulnerable.) That said, those are the exact traits one needs to save the universe from fates worse than death. In her self-titled games, Bayonetta walks an amazingly thin line between the worlds of Paradiso and Inferno, and no matter on which side she falls, she always comes out on top. Insanely confident though she may be, she always, without fail, gets the job done in the only way she knows how: taking the bull by its big, scary horns and putting it in its place.


Though my list stops here, it could, and should go on and on! Give us some of your favorite female game characters in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “Seven Favorite Female Game Characters (Who Aren’t Samus)”

  1. I would love to see a companion ‘Worst female characters’ list, but I imagine that list would be a lot lot longer 😉

    At least the conversation has moved away somewhat from making ‘Strong’ Female Characters. Games just need more female characters in general. Whole ones. #mansplain

    I am surprised and delighted that

    a) The World Ends With You gets a shout out here! I found the main character of that game EXCRUCIATING and Shiki was a breath of fresh air. I wish she had been introduced later in the game to give me a break from Neku!

    &

    b) Clementine from The Walking Dead didn’t get put in here. It was just too obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Though I’ve read oodles about Clementine, I’ve not played enough of the Walking Dead to formulate my own opinion of her. And you are so not wrong about Neku. My goodness, did he turn out to be a great big pill during most of the game! I was sad to see any of his companions go.

      I could probably devote a whole blog to terrible female characters and characterizations in video games (which I think has been done already)! But if you want a few opinions, check out my submissions here: ATB’S Top 25 Female Characters: The Worst. Oh, how the list could go on and on and on and on and…

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  2. I completely forgot about Hammer. Her character was probably one of the highlights of Fable 2 now that I think about it! Kazooie would probably rank #2 if I were make a list, gotta love all those wise-cracks and one-liners!

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    1. Rare did such a good job of infusing both Kazooie and Banjo with unique personalities, it’s still a wonder to me that the series didn’t become bigger than just two games. (I know there were more, but really.) Kazooie’s was a highlight, for sure!

      One of the great things about Hammer was that she was a somewhat rambly talker. I loved how conversations with her could take the most unexpected turns. It’s too bad she wasn’t featured more in the game.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe because it was an easily accessible game that contained lots of explorable places? Plus, it had a pretty good story and customizing your character and house and buying up all the property in Albion was darn fun! But that’s just my opinion. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fun topic for a post. I would definitely include Kazooie up near the top of my list of favorite character. That sassy breegull is impossible not to love. I have several female characters I like, such as the sweet and humble Yuna from Final Fantasy X, who was willing to sacrifice her life for the sake of others, even if she knew it would only bring peace for a short span of time. I loved Vanille from FFXIII, who was just adorable. But, I could list a zillion females from RPG’s that I find likable, but the ones I like most probably come from The Legend of Zelda series. After playing Hyrule Warriors, I realized that the series has one of the best groups of female characters I can think of (and, with the exception of, well, Hyrule Warriors, the women typically wear clothing, which is nice). They are not weak and ditzy (and half-naked) like a lot of other females, which I find is an added bonus in a series I will always adore.

    But, the female characters I am probably drawn to most in the series are Link’s companions. I liked Tatl from Majora’s Mask because I thought she had personality. I loved Fi from Skyward Sword, despite her frustrating habit of pointing out the obvious, including heckling me over low batteries. (I’m sorry, but I often play until the batteries are good and dead. Deal with it.) A living sword was just a pretty cool companion to have, and I found myself getting teary-eyed when we had to say good bye at the end of the game. But, probably one of my favorite ladies of all time (after Samus, of course) would have to be the feisty Midna from Twilight Princess. She’s the only companion I can think of that undergoes character development, and it was interesting to see her change from cold and uncaring to Link to becoming a dear friend. Plus, she’s super cute and has hair that can turn into a hand (which can punch people in the face in Hyrule Warriors, which is pretty nifty).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since getting another copy of Twilight Princess, I’ve put it back on my list of games to play again someday. I didn’t care for Midna during my first unsuccessful go at the game, but I’ve heard so many good things about her character since then, that I’ve just got to give her and the game another chance! I do agree that the Legend of Zelda series has some pretty fantastic female characters. They all do pretty good jobs of keeping Link on his toes, and none of them really fall into the typical stereotypes one might think of when considering women characters in video games.

      When I came up for the idea for this post, my list was really long. I took a number of Final Fantasy characters off the list and decided to write about them separately. (Hint hint: wait for my Thursday post!) I think I could write up similar lists for months to come, because when you really think about it, there are simply lots of wonderful women in our games!

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  4. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    The post below should speak for itself, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. But, if I may so shamelessly plug, my list here actually has a secret part 2, which will be posted on United We Game this Thursday. In the meantime, click below and be sure to check out all the other great content we’ve got going on there!

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    1. Those are great choices! I really liked Elena, but I think I was more a fan of Zoe, at least in Uncharted 2. (Was disappointed she wasn’t much of anything in Uncharted 3.)

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