You have to admit, women are the best thing that can happen in a man’s life. But what of the women in video games? Call me a freak for liking them, but I do like a strong woman, or in the case of Ada Wong (Resident Evil series), a mysterious woman (though that feeling faded when Resident Evil 6 was released). Not because of her being remodeled, but something seemed amiss with her appearance in the game. I wonder if it might have been how Capcom managed to mess with Ada’s characterization.
Speaking of Resident Evil, I first fell in love with Jill Valentine in Resident Evil: Nemesis. Illogical fashion choice aside, Capcom really made Jill as sexy as possible. Of course, that is when I’m still a kid, not yet knowing the definition of strong women, so I attracted by her sex appeal. Story wise, Jill Valentine, a S.T.A.R.S member, really wants to get out of Raccoon City, which has been infected by the T virus, while avoiding being seen by the titular monster, and that really makes her strong in overcoming obstacles. Maybe her appearance in the game was due to how popular Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series was. Lara Croft was a sex symbol to many boys, with the tight short pants and inhumanly huge bust size. Later Lara transformed from the boy fantasy to a more believable, respected women in last year’s reboot Tomb Raider for PS3, Xbox 360 and re-released this year for both PS4 and Xbox One. In the game, Lara’s path to becoming a courageous adventurer, to me at least, is felt over the course of the game. Advice from her mentor, Conrad Roth, and surviving the mysterious island of Yamatai are good material that led her to become more mature and accepting the harsh reality and becoming aware of her surroundings. This proved to be true when she communicates with Dr. James Whitman near the end of Tomb Raider.
Female Commander Shepard of the Mass Effect trilogy is another good example in recent games. Granted, the player can customize her appearance, but her powerful voice really does make a difference compared to her male counterpart. Unlike any of the characters above, Shepard’s character can be molded by players, either to become a good soldier on the paragon path, or becoming a renegade with the goal of saving the entire galaxy. Although the ending for the trilogy was not to my liking, Shepard’s sacrifice can’t be forgotten, although I could see from miles away that the ending will be Shepard dying in order to restore the galaxy. In fact most, if not all, of the females in the main cast of the Mass Effect trilogy are visualized as strong women, not hoping for a Prince Charming to come to their rescue. Liara is a prime example, going from mere scientist to the leader of the Shadow Brokers after the events depicted in downloadable content of Mass Effect 2. This brings me to the one (wo)man army of the titular character for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Maybe she isn’t as likable compared to the other characters I listed, but it can’t be denied that she is one of the strongest woman protagonist in the franchise, perhaps other than Terra of Final Fantasy VI, or Celes for that matter. Her character aside, I like her because she has a strong will to protect her only family member, her sister, Serah. I can see that poor execution in the story or her character’s development, which was rather weak, and made Lightning unlikeable to many fans of the franchise. Both Lightning and Shepard’s sarcastic remarks are also a factor as to why I like these characters. Maybe Liara even learns something from Shepard.
Compared to the past, where females are mainly portrayed within the game worlds as rather weak, a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued, things have now changed. Of course, there are still games that thrive on overexposing females in a sexualized manner. The Dead or Alive series is a good example of this trope. The fighting genre always has this moment where, if it is not that exaggerated, characters sexually moan, whether it was intentional or not, after being hit by opponents. Again, Dead or Alive is a prime example for this. Somehow, this has become minimal nowadays thanks to developer’s ways of treating females as one of them, giving them a main role in games. Obviously, I haven’t touched all of the powerful females in gaming history. What is your most influential females in gaming, readers? Share with us in the comments below.