Top 10 Xbox games with kickass female leads
Lara Croft and Evie Frye are just two of the heroines to grace our covers in the last few months. But they aren’t the only awesome leading ladies on Xbox – here are the most kick-ass ladies in gaming.
Faith Connors – Mirror’s Edge
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: DICE | Release Date: 2008
Faith might be mostly unseen during Mirror’s Edge – you only catch brief glimpses of her in reflections – but she has the ability to clamber up drainpipes, leap across enormous gaps, and kick the crap out of people. What’s more, her design breaks many of gaming’s most outdated conventions – she’s not a sex object; she’s been designed as a realistic, athletic woman whose design is all about making a cool protagonist. The only downside was her lack of back story, but we’ll be getting that in Catalyst next year.
Jade – Beyond Good And Evil
Console: Xbox | Developer: Ubisoft | Release Date: 2003
Michel Ancel’s goal when creating Jade was to create a realistic person – something that was not the norm for women in games in 2003. The focus is on her role, situation and the meaning of her actions, rather than on her design, and the game benefits hugely from it. The title remains one of our favourite original Xbox games; varied levels and some fantastic mechanics made this an adventure that we’re still desperate to see a sequel to. BG&E 2 has been rumoured for years, so we may still see it on the Xbox One…
Bayonetta – Bayonetta
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Platinum Games | Release Date: 2009
Bayonetta is one of the few strong female characters in videogames, thanks to the fact that she can kick some serious ass. One of only two remaining Umbran Witches, Bayonetta has the power to summon creatures to attack her enemies, or strike with her four guns – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. She is undoubtedly sexualised, but her characterisation within the game is so well done that she is arguably more interesting than the plot of the game. Still, the game itself – especially the combat – is excellent and worth revisiting.
Lara Croft – Tomb Raider
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Crystal Dynamics | Release Date: 2013
Lara Croft has, of course, been a sex object since she (and her pointy, polygonal breasts) first appeared on the PS1, but the 2013 reboot of the series toned down the sex appeal and toned up the realism, making Lara a character we actually cared about. It wasn’t perfect, but some great graphics, an interesting story and some fantastic characterisation brought Lara right into the 21st Century. The Definitive Edition was free through Games With Gold in September, and it’s worth picking up ahead of Lara’s return in Rise Of The Tomb Raider next month.
Chell – Portal 2
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Valve Corporation | Release Date: 2011
It’s odd to include a character that has literally never said a word out loud, but it’s her actions and the reactions of the people (read: robots) around her that make her strength clear. Chell is the one behind the portal gun in both titles in the series, and, while she is mute, the fear GLaDOS expresses when Chell finally wins, and the way in which she coolly passes through the test chambers, makes her awesome. You can glimpse her if you shoot the portals just right, but the rest of the game is so utterly brilliant that we didn’t keep trying for long.
Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Bioware | Release Date: 2010
BioWare certainly wasn’t the first developer to let you choose your main character’s gender, but for a mainstream title like Mass Effect to include such an option was great. Creating your own, customised version of Shepard was fantastic, especially considering that the male and female Shepards were given equal validity with the overarching plot of the series, and the team you could form along the way. Keep an eye out; all three ME titles should be back on Xbox One through backwards compatibility soon.
Anya Stroud – Gears Of War 3
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Epic Games | Release Date: 2011
Anya was your friend, contact and intel-provider throughout Gears 1 and 2, but in Gears 3 she finally straps on some COG Armour, picks up a Lancer and starts kicking some serious ass. You’ll need to enter a four-player co-op game to control her, sadly (and she doesn’t even appear in every mission), but for the times when you get to use her, she is totally badass and can curb-stomp with the best of them. The game was pretty bloody good, too – and if you buy and play Gears Ultimate right now, you’ll get it for free when the new system update launches.
Jill Valentine – Resident Evil HD
Console: Xbox One | Developer: Capcom | Release Date: 2015
We’ll tell you why we love Jill Valentine. A zombie outbreak takes over a city, and rather than wait to be saved like a videogame princess by a big, strapping hero, Jill picks up a shotgun and goes to town. She’s a badass, popping up in several Resi games since, but her first appearance is still our favourite. And, thanks to the HD remake recently on Xbox One, you can now go back and play through the original mansion all over again. Yes, the camera angles can be awkward and the save system is outdated, but goddamn does it nail the terror.
Joanna Dark – Perfect Dark
Console: Xbox | Developer: Rare/4J Studios | Release Date: 2010
Jo Dark had a huge impact on our younger gaming brains. The British spy was not only one of the coolest characters in videogames in 2000 when the title first launched, she also starred in one of the best first-person shooters ever. When Perfect Dark Zero was announced as a 360 launch title we were pumped, but it sadly never quite reached the same heights. Thankfully, the original title re-released as an HD remake in 2010, allowing us to relive our younger days again, and remember why we loved Agent Dark so much in the first place.
Female footballers – FIFA 16
Console: Xbox One | Developer: EA | Release Date: 2015
It might seem like an odd choice, but the importance of including female footballers in a mainstream FIFA title cannot be overstated. Women’s football has really taken off in the last few years, with the Women’s World Cup shown around the world, and this year EA has finally been able to transfer this popularity into FIFA. You’ll find 12 teams available to choose from within FIFA 16, and while they can only play against other women’s teams (just like real life) it’s still a major step forward for the game.