There exists a number of female characters that are extremely popular among gamers. Characters like Lara Croft, Samus Aran, Princess Peach, Zelda, and Claire Redfield are regarded as icons in the industry due to their incredibly high level of popularity. Yet, what about the less-appreciated female characters? Don't they deserve some recognition as well?
This list will cover the gaming's best female characters that don't get the recognition they deserve.
Aya Brea - Parasite Eve Series
Parasite Eve is one of the most underrated survival horror games ever created. Instead of just copying titles such as Resident Evil, it incorporates role-playing elements that help it remain unique even to this day. The first game shared lots of similarities with old Square Enix titles on the PS1 by featuring real-time combat mixed with turn-based-like gameplay. On the one hand, the second game dropped the turn-based feel and went for a full-action survival horror experience. Lastly, 3rd Birthday changed Parasite Eve completely by focusing entirely on over-the-top shooting and abandoning the survival horror atmosphere, an aspect that made the franchise unique.
Aya Brea is a badass NYPD Detective who faces off against unusual creatures. One of them is Eve a being created by the mitochondria. She is equipped with an array of guns and most importantly psychic powers. While she may seem strong and confident, she has a complex personality where the player can sometimes feel she is weak and needs help from others to progress further. When Aya Brea was first revealed, the media regarded her as a prominent female character in the video game industry thanks to her realistic qualities. However, after the release of 3rd Birthday's, and how she was severely sexualized by Square Enix, the franchise would be forgotten for good along with Aya Brea.
Rubi Malone - WET
Rubi Malone is more obscure than underrated as it seems only a few are aware of her existence. I hope that with Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax Studios, they'll revive WET from the dead and Rubi another chance to shine. I tend to view Rubi's character as a blend between Lara Croft and Max Payne with a Kill Bill touch. She is equipped with double guns, can slow time, and most importantly, she has a freaking katana. She is also dangerous and serious at what she does, and when it comes to hunting her targets, she won't feel any remorse about it.
A sequel to WET was announced back in 2011 on the game's official Twitter account, but unfortunately, it was canceled. We can only pray that the game will miraculously become backward compatible so newcomers can experience it.
Faith Connors - Mirror's Edge
Mirror's Edge is an action parkour video game that was developed by Dice, known for their Battlefield games, and published by EA for various platforms.
In Mirror's Edge, you take control of Faith Connors, a 24-year-old runner who lost her mother when she was fighting against the corrupt system. What makes Faith an interesting character is how she does parkour right. Also, unlike female protagonists in other games, Faith doesn't possess any superpower under her belt. That makes her dependent on her physical abilities and stamina to survive in the world of Mirror's Edge.
Mirror's Edge also features several chase scenes that take inspiration from several films such as Casino Royale and the Bourne movies. These chase scenes demonstrate how badass Faith can be when sliding onto walls and jumping from a building to another. Mirror's Edge is a unique experience, and you'd have a hard time finding something like it, and a character similar to Faith as well.
Mona Sax - Max Payne Series
Max Payne is a neo-noir third-person shooter video game series developed originally by Remedy Entertainment and published by Gathering of Developers then Rockstar Games. The first game saw Max hunting down those responsible for the murder of his wife while the second one was pretty deep. It featured several characters and dived further into Max's personality while introducing a new key character called Mona Sax
I have always perceived Mona Sax as being the other half of Max Payne. Similar to Max, she has a mysterious past and a complex personality. But the reason she is underappreciated is due to the fact that she, as I said, is the other missing half of Max. In Max Payne 2, we saw her helping Max countless times. Without her, Max would have been gone a long time ago. He says this in one of his moments in the game: "Without Mona's help, I'd be a dead man. Suddenly, for the first time in I don't know how long, I realized, I didn't wish to be dead."
Clementine - Telltale's The Walking Dead Series
In the first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead, we saw Lee taking care of Clementine every time. He was her world when she didn't have her parents around. Her protector in a bleak world where hope is a mere dream, and survival is the only thing left. However, after season 2, her personality has changed. She isn't the little cowardly girl who's reliant on everyone to take care of her. She is no longer afraid of zombies, or what life is preparing for her. This change occurs quickly, but what would you expect from a zombie apocalypse?
Clementine isn't just capable of taking care of herself, she also grows into a responsible young lady who takes it upon her shoulders to protect those she cares about. While she may be strong and mostly serious at times, she still has a soft side.
Jade - Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil, in my opinion, is Ubisoft's answer to the Legend of Zelda. It borrows several inspirations from Japanese media such as the Miyazaki Universe and the Chinese culture, as well as, focusing on politics and conspirations. The game saw you, in the beginning, controlling Jade as she took pictures of different species with her camera. Later on, she is recruited as a journalist of the network to unravel the mysteries behind the Alpha Sections. Jade isn't superhuman, but she is not a weakling as well. Since she cares for the children of Hillys, she takes it upon her shoulders to investigate what's going on.
Similar to Mirror's Edge, Jade has to rely on her intelligence and physical abilities to survive, but thankfully, she got her companions with her to lend her a hand whenever she needs. Honestly, Beyond Good and Evil is one of the best games ever created, and if you haven't given it a try, do it, it's worth it.
Alice - Alice: Madness Returns
Alice: Madness Returns is a unique psychological horror hack and slash title that puts you in the shoes of Alice Liddell who suffers from a trauma caused by the death of her family. What makes Alice an interesting character is her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and her deteriorating mental health. You can say she is quite similar to Madeline from Celeste. Both of these characters are in a deep struggle with their inner self, and their goal is to find solace amidst all the chaos and sadness.
Alice's story is not over yet, and I really hope to see a sequel in the foreseeable future featuring Alice again inside her twisted dreams, chatting with Cheshire Cat, and confronting her deepest fears, alone.
Lightning - Final Fantasy XIII
It's a pretty controversial choice for Lightning to be here considering the fact that the Final Fantasy XIII series was not well-received by the majority of gamers. Still, among all the females in the Final Fantasy franchise such as Tifa, Aerith, Rikku, and Yuna, Lightning doesn't get the same recognition as these female characters do.
Lightning is a strong female lead equipped with various deadly moves under her belt. In the first entry, she goes on a quest to save her younger sister, Serah, but ultimately finds herself trapped in something bigger than she's imagined. Meanwhile, in the second entry, she's a knight tasked with protecting the goddess Etro. Finally, in the last game, she is on a duty to save people's lives from the end of the world.
Moira Vahlen - XCOM
XCOM is a science fiction video game franchise that is well-known these days. The franchise features an array of memorable characters as well as underappreciated characters. One of these characters is Moira Vahlen.
She is the quintessential "mad scientist": incredibly intelligent, completely focused on results, totally unconcerned with the larger ramifications of her work. In any other game, she'd be either the final boss or a high-ranking lieutenant. You're never sure if she's expressing concern for the troops because she sees them as people or because she hates to see potentially valuable test subjects destroyed by somebody else's stupidity, namely yours as the Commander. When XCOM 2 comes around, she's basically the post-alien invasion version of the boogeyman. Nobody knows if she's alive or dead, but she's clearly left a mark on the world and there are some people who are afraid she'll come back to try and outdo herself.
Trip - Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an action hack and slash video game developed by Ninja Theory known for games such as DmC and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. The game is a loose adaptation of the classic Chinese novel, Journey to the West. The entire story revolves around Trip and Monkey as they survive together against deadly machines. Both Monkey and Trip are underrated, even the game itself. But since this article is about underappreciated female characters in video games, I'll focus on Trip.
While Trip relies on Monkey to protect her, she also proves to be a valuable companion thanks to her expertise in reprogramming old technology. Her skills allow her to scan the surroundings and inform Monkey of mechs' weaknesses so he can them down. Not only that, but she is also extremely good at solving puzzles and distracting enemies. Towards the end, Trip develops strong feelings for Monkey which becomes clearer the further you progress in the game. Trip is one of the most clever female characters in video games. She manages to turn Monkey into her bodyguard in order to survive, but in the end, she admits her wrongdoing. This makes her an empathetic human that just wanted to go back to her homeland so badly.