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Previous Winners
2016: Neptune (Megadimension Neptunia VII)
2017: Futaba (Persona 5)
2018: Jade (Dragon Quest XI)
2019: Reisalin Stout (Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout)

What makes a good heroine? Is she smart, capable, strong, funny, clever? Is she compassionate, brave, brash or calm? Or maybe all of the above. For me, a good heroine embodies several of these traits; she takes matters into her own hands, solves problems and saves the day in ways that only she can. All three of our nominees for best heroine are exemplars of these traits, and each deserves her place at the top, but who will come out victorious?

Reisalin Stout (Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy)

Atelier Ryza 2 | Ryza and Fi

NA Release Date: Jan 26, 2021 (PC and Nintendo Switch)
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4

Earnest and sincere, Reisalin comes into this fight aiming to keep her crown from 2019, this time three years older and wiser with the release of her second game. Even with the time skip, though, she remains a capable, intelligent, and heartfelt young woman who is sure to win you over through sheer force of will. Not one to back down from trouble, Ryza brings to bear so many traits I look for in a heroine: She’s caring and smart and especially brave, who wears her emotions on her sleeve. She rightfully earned her win in 2019, but is it enough against this year’s competition?

Purple Heart (Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars)

Neptunia x SENRAN KAGURA_ Ninja Wars | Vert Lil Sister

NA Release Date: Oct 26, 2021
Platform(s): PlayStation 4

Spunky, loveable, and a bit air-headed, Purple Heart is, appropriately, the “heart” of this ragtag group of sexy ninja ladies battling it out for fun and profit. Neptune’s ninja form, Purple Heart, isn’t quite as carefree as her powered-down self, but she’s still got that adorable ditziness about her that adds a lot of charm to her character. It’s hard not to let her infectious energy get the best of you while playing, and she’s always a joy to see on screen. But can this fun-loving ninja win out against her rivals for Best Heroine?

Samus Aran (Metroid Dread)

NA Release Date: Sep 24, 2021
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

Samus is, in a word, capable. A no-nonsense bounty hunter willing to risk life and limb to save the galaxy from powerful threats. She’s clever and cunning, with or without her tools. Relying on her wits to get her through hardships when she’s literally powerless, Samus is one of the best action heroes around. She acknowledges her weaknesses and shores them up; she pushes herself to her limits to get through impossible odds. She’s the epitome of “strong female character” and I adore her. Still, Samus has her work cut out for her to win this battle.

And this year’s heroine is…

Samus Aran!

Samus is back! Reisalin and Purple Heart were strong contenders, but it’s hard to beat the original and best, as Samus has proven this year. Metroid is memorable for so many reasons, and one of them is, unequivocally, its protagonist, and for good reason. Even with minimal dialogue, Samus oozes character and stands (literally) head and shoulders above the competition. (Seriously, it’s hard to reach to put the crown on!) An icon of the ages, Samus Aran wins oprainfall’s Best Heroine award for 2021!

Leah McDonald
Leah's been playing video games since her brother first bought an Atari back in the 1980s and has no plans to stop playing anytime soon. She enjoys almost every genre of game, with some of her favourites being Final Fantasy Tactics, Shadow of the Colossus, Suikoden II and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Leah lives on the East Coast with her husband and son. You can follow Leah over on Twitter @GamingBricaBrac