Last week I did a top 10 list of gun-totting women in video games, but after a bit of research I found an even less represented group of females: sword maidens! Just about every top-10 list about masters of the blade in video games has a slew of beefed up males. Few of them - if any - have women! Seriously guys, women with swords are awesome too, right?
So today I'm going to fix that void, and fill it up with this top 10 list of sword-buckling heroines! To fit the criteria of this list, the character must rely on some form of bladed weapon during combat (excluding daggers), and be able to take on at least one enemy twice their size or multiple enemies at once.
With our criteria set, let's take a look at the Top 10 Video Game sword-swinging divas!
Okay, so technically Sarah Kerrigan doesn't use blades in game. In fact, she rarely uses them at all. But we do know two things about Kerrigan: when Narud takes on her form to fight her, he uses a Psi-Blade, and when she is the Queen of Blades she uses her exceedingly sharp claws to cut through the tough armor of enemy tanks. While these don't necessarily count as "swords" or "blades" per se, Kerrigan gets an honorable mention on the grounds that if Wolverine can get on a list with sword masters, then so can she!
Besides, what kind of list about the "Queens of Blades" would this be if the Queen of Blades herself wasn't on it? Huh?
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Wonder Woman is both the bad guy, and the good guy. Depends on which world, I guess. What is constant, however, is that she kicks butt. Hard.
Wielding a sword and a shield, Diana is able to take on just about every other superhero in the game. In fact, she is such a great warrior that she is the only one the alternate world Superman could possibly imagine replacing his long-time love interest Lois Lane with. Considering her abilities are almost identical to the Man of Steel's, who can blame him?
Considering the fact that Wonder Woman is a superhero (meaning she's just about invincible thanks to plot armor) there might be some questioning as to why she doesn't rank higher on this list. There are two simple reasons: the first is that she's not technically a video game character, and second is that she is better known for fighting with her fists. Want to argue against me on that? Go ahead. But this Amazon is only getting the position of #10 on this list.
If I had to choose a swordwoman to best represent the females in Fire Emblem, I would have to choose none other than Lyndis. While Lucina is the fan favorite nowadays, Lyndis is much better, and for a number of reasons at that.
Let's talk about her character first. Lyn is a 15 year old young woman from the plains of Sacae. While living there, Lyn has fought off numerous bandit attacks after her mother and father were slain. It was not until a wandering tactician came about that she eventually learned that she is the granddaughter of the Marquess of Caelin (basically the king). In her time traveling across the war-torn landscapes of the Fire Emblem world, Lyn has fought numerous assassins, archers, knights, and even a dragon! That's quite the rep for someone who's younger than her fandom rival, Lucina.
Then there's the matter of plain old statistics. While Lucina has a slightly higher luck and resistance rating at level 10, Lady Lyndis pretty much doubles or at least surpasses all of Lucina's other stats at the same level. These differences only get further separated once the two become great lords at which point Lyndis actually triples Lucina's resistance while everything else gets doubled. When equipped with the Mani Katti, Lyn's critical hit ratio would rise so high that she would basically make minced meat out of Lucina before she even had the chance to blink.
Besides, who could possibly turn down a girl with this awesome critical hit animation?
All of this lands Lyndis at #9 on the list.
Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, the Lion Cub of Cintra (ain't that a mouthful?) is the secondary protagonist of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and is a talented sword-fighter, much like her adopted father, Geralt. She tends to prefer a faster-paced style of combat, dashing between enemies before striking them with her two-handed sword, making her a lethal foe to face. However, her abilities are somewhat limited as she only has the ability to quickly teleport around.
I could go on to rant about her backstory, but it is so convoluted that I probably wouldn't be able to do it justice. You can, however, check it out on this wiki or, you know, play the game yourself.
Considering her limited skills, and her somewhat basic concept design, Ciri gets the spot of #8 on this list.
While Princess Zelda displays her skills with a sword in Hyrule Warriors as well, it's Impa who best represents women in a battlefield setting. Cool, collected, and able to effortlessly wield a sword almost twice her size, Impa is the toughest of the tough. In Hyrule Warriors, Impa is constantly on the vanguard against Ganon's forces. Whether it be the fire-breathing King Dodongo, The Imprisoned, or even Ganon himself, Impa is ready to take them down.
Since Impa usually takes the back seat in Legend of Zelda games, I'm glad to see what Team Ninja did to her character in Hyrule Warriors. This iteration of the classic Legend of Zelda character gets the spot of #7 thanks to her over-the-top delivery of enemy horde desolation.
Hildegard stands as one of the most respectable characters on this list. Unlike the greater portion of female characters in the Soul Calibur series, Hilde is not sexualized in the least, choosing to wear gratuitous amounts of armor instead. Not only that, but Hilde uses a unique fighting style in the game that blends together quick swordplay and a spear. Hilde is also one of the few newcomers to the Soul Calibur series that has fought both the Soul Calibur veterans, and the newcomers since Soul Calibur IV was the last game to feature many of the original cast members.
Oh, and she's technically fought Ezio Auditore, Yoda, Darth Vader, and Starkiller too... so I guess there's that.
This set of accomplishments places Hildegard von Krone at #6 on this list.
Momohime is the female protagonist option for Muramasa: The Demon Blade. According to the instruction manual, Momohime is a "princess of Narukami who has been possessed by a demon", the demon in question being Jinkuro. A talented warrior, Momohime's abilities are only enhanced after she is possessed by the spirit of Jinkuro - a fallen demon warrior who seeks to reclaim his demon blade.
Over the course of her journey, Momohime slays countless hordes of Japanese mythological creatures and warriors using the Oboro Style of fighting. With a demon blade of her own, she is a nearly unstoppable powerhouse of destruction. However, she does lose some points due to the fact that her personality - outside of her fusion with Jinkuro - basically boils down to protecting her betrothed, and others she loves.
As such, Momohime gets the 5th spot on this list.
7 years before we got the sexy power-trip video game that was Bayonetta, we had Rayne of Bloodrayne origin.
With Rayne, what you see is what you get. Besides her obvious sex-appeal design, Rayne is a confident, sarcastic, intelligent, and somewhat deadpan character. A dhampir (half-human, half-vampire) brought up as an assassin, Rayne's number one talent is killing absolutely everyone in the most brutal way possible. This means tearing people in two, spinning them around on her blades and cutting them up into pieces, or simply taking a bite into her prey and drinking their blood. She is not your professional assassin type though, for constantly flirting or taunting her opponents is basically second nature to her.
As a result of her dhampir blood, Rayne has a number of vampiric abilities such as feeding on her enemies, enthralling opponents, super-high reflexes, and a number of strength enhancements.
With this repertoire of skill and power, Rayne earns a spot at #4 on this list.
While the Barbarian's official name in Diablo III can range from 5up4h_S14y3r to Barbie thanks to the name-your-own-hero system, her canonical name is found in Heroes of the Storm as Sonya.
Sonya is a simple barbarian. She sees demon, she hits it until it is dead. Sonya's dream date consists of hunting demons, collecting legendary items - usually only to smelt them at the armory later, and killing the Lord of Terror, Diablo. Her other interests include: smashing boxes, destroying tombstones, and defiling sacred temples... or maybe that's just my play-through.
In any case, Sonya definitely gets my seal of approval for being a stand-up kind of gal. With a huge list of abilities used to smash, decapitate, and otherwise mangle demon hordes, I can't imagine a better candidate for the 3rd on this list.
If Darth Revan is the most powerful Jedi in the history of the Star Wars universe, then Bastila Shan is the most powerful female Jedi. Why? Because she was the one who took Revan down during the Jedi Civil War.
Bastila Shan is by definition one of the most force talented Jedi in the Star Wars franchise. Able to use the power of Battle Meditation, Bastila is capable of micro-managing entire armies while simultaneously demoralizing their enemy. On top of that, Bastila is a skilled Jedi Sentinel, capable of adeptly wielding force powers while combining them with various lightsaber techniques.
While fighting alongside her commander - and later lover - Revan, she is an unstoppable force. To this day, she is considered one of the greatest Jedi of the Old Republic. Her legacy has continued on for generations, survived by Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Considering the fact that she is arguably the second most powerful Jedi in the Star Wars universe, Bastila Shan earns the place of #2 on our list of female warriors.
When people think of swordsmen with a god complex, over-the-top fighting, and twin chained blades they often think of God of War's Kratos. When angry feminist extremists ask me why there isn't a female "God of War", my answer used to be the most obvious: "Athena's Revenge" doesn't exactly fit the character. However, ever since 2007 I've been able to avoid getting slapped across the face by pointing at this beauty here.
Nariko is the oppressed heroine of Heavenly Sword, a character who has literally spent her entire life being belittled by her clan on the grounds that ever since her birth she "should not have been." Everyone believed Nariko to be a curse, a portent of doom, and she eventually accepted this as truth. However, this would not stop Nariko from becoming the savior of her people by wielding the Heavenly Sword, fully aware of the fact that it would consume her soul as a result.
Aside from essentially being a copycat in terms of gameplay to Kratos from God of War, Nariko is one of the strongest female protagonists in the history of gaming. Why? Because she literally takes the place of the male hero without any modifications for the sake of gender roles. When she says that a deity "would be reborn, in the body of a mortal man" she is quite literally quoting the archetype of a Kratos-like hero. As such, she is the embodiment of the female power fantasy.
Nariko - to date - is the only female character who does this without a love interest, without losing a loved one, nothing. She doesn't even have the tired cliché of a woman using her cunning or agility over brute strength. She slaughters her enemies with brute force alone, and does this because it is her duty as the hero. Nothing will stand in her way of saving her people. Plain and simple.
Since Nariko is such a stellar representation of what a warrior lady should be like, she earns the spot of #1 on this list.
This brings us to the end of our top 10 list of sword-swinging divas. I have got to admit... unlike the Girls with Guns list I did last week, this list was actually quite difficult to come up with. It's great that there's a decent selection of swordswomen, but the problem is that not many of them are well known or playable.
I guess this is where I leave it to you, readers! What other sword-maidens can you come up with? Where would you put them on this list? Do you disagree with my placements? Leave your opinions and ideas in the comments section below!