Female video game characters don’t generally enjoy the best reputation, and to a certain extent, this is deserved. Characters like Lara Croft aren’t exactly known for displaying deep and well-rounded personalities. But that doesn’t mean that all women in video games offer nothing but visual appeal. Some of them manage to break the mold and establish themselves as well-written and interesting characters in their own right.
Lady Montbarron/the Farmer, Dungeon Siege franchise:
Lady Montbarron, also known as the Farmer, would enjoy a higher standing on this list, but points were subtracted because she didn’t technically appear in the game she originated from.
Allow us to explain. The original Dungeon Siege was one of those role-playing games where the player could design his or her character any way they chose. It was always a farmer forced into a heroic adventure to save the Kingdom of Ehb from danger, but other than that, everything was up to the player. However, in promotional materials, the game generally used a tough-looking, red-haired woman as its protagonist.
When Dungeon Siege III decided to follow up on the original’s story, it had to go back and create an official version of the Farmer, and it chooses the red-haired woman. But despite the fact that we never got to play as her per se, Lady Montbarron is nonetheless an impressive figure: a humble farmer who rose to become a hero of Ehb, defeat the evil Seck and their demigod general and found a noble line of 10th Legion members who would continue doing good for centuries to come.
Sylvanas Windrunner, World of Warcraft:
Sylvanas Windrunner is one of the most impressive entries on the list for sheer intimidation factor and badassery. Once the brave ranger-general of the High Elves, Sylvanas led a guerilla war against the corrupted prince Arthas Menethil and his undead Scourge but was ultimately defeated.
Tortured, killed, and then raised as an undead slave, she eventually broke free of Arthas’s control and established her own army of the undead, the Forsaken. Sylvanas has been driven mad by her ordeals, and she’s now as evil as her creator, but she’s evil on her terms, and no one else’s.
Sylvanas is a slave to no one, and she fears no one. While her goals and tactics may be reprehensible, one cannot help but admire her spirit.
Jack, Mass Effect 2:
A foul-mouthed and violent criminal, Jack doesn’t seem like a particularly likable character at first. But there’s more to her than meets the eye, and one considers her past, she becomes easier to understand.
Jack has led a life of constant suffering. Abducted as a small child for her biotic powers, she was tortured and experimented upon by those who sought to turn her into a weapon. Even once she escaped — after killing everyone in the facility — she continued to suffer abuses from various individuals.
But Jack is a survivor. She keeps fighting despite all she’s been through, and she can be a loyal companion to those who earn her trust.
The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
Said to be the “mother” of US Special Forces, the Boss is as tough as they come. Not only was she a female soldier all the way back in the ‘40s, but she also led the invasion of D-Day (while pregnant, no less), and gave birth on the battlefield while wounded.
She seems to be a villain for much of the game she stars in, but as she is also the protagonist’s mentor, so she is afforded a great deal of respect, and in a twist, it is revealed at the end that wasn’t really a defector but had in fact been under deep cover. When things went wrong, she allowed herself to be killed in order to prevent a war.
Jade, Beyond Good, and Evil:
Despite being often described as an identifiable “girl next door” character, Jade is definitely one of the more unusual ladies on the list. For starters, she lives in and operates and lighthouse/orphanage on an alien planet.
But hey, nothing wrong with having a weird house, and Jade is definitely an admirable person. While freelancing as a photojournalist to fund her orphanage, Jade uncovers a secret alien conspiracy, human trafficking, and other assorted nastiness, which she promptly sets about defeating.
Bright, curious, and capable, Jade is definitely more than a pretty face.