The 15 Greatest Women in Video Games

7.  Bastila Shan (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

bastilaOne of the best pre-Rey Star Wars characters bar none, Bastila Shan first appeared in KOTOR as a Jedi Knight working directly under the Council, which sounds like a boring (albeit cushy) bureaucratic job, but her task is essentially to babysit amnesiac Sith Lord Darth Revan (the player’s character), after Revan and Bastila were involved in a war (against each other, mind you) that saw the evil Revan’s apprentice turn his coat and fire upon a ship containing both Bastila and Revan. Bastila gave up some of her life force to revive Revan, however, and then participated in a Jedi ritual that erased many of Revan’s memories, and Bastila’s current position (in which she appears to coincidentally run into Revan, who is no longer evil and doesn’t remember even meeting her, much less battling her to the death) exists in order to manipulate Revan, essentially an innocent person, into revealing the secret location of the Star Forge, a composite Death Star capable of creating an infinite army of ships and war droids, now under the control of Revan’s former apprentice, Malak. Remember how everyone keeps saying the Jedi are the real bastards? They only seem like the good guys because their enemies spend their workdays committing genocide and making a big show of twirling their mustaches.

But Bastila isn’t a garden-variety Jedi, which is to say she’s not a templar who blindly follows ancient dogma and broods a lot. It was Bastila’s decision to save Revan’s life – a feat in itself – and she contrives their chance meeting through being captured by dangerous criminals, from which she saves herself and saves Revan once again (and she isn’t afraid to remind the canonically male Revan, along with the player, of this fact if it happens to be questioned). Her defining moment is one that most Jedi in the Star Wars galaxy never receive: the very real temptation to turn to the dark side. Whereas the closest Luke Skywalker got was being aware that the dark side exists, and Rey was prevented (by a fissure in the ground) from choosing for herself whether to hack Kylo Ren’s head off, Bastila spends a week being tortured by Darth Malak, after which she actually (albeit briefly) turns to the dark side. When she once again confronts Revan, who is now a Jedi, reversing the original roles, Bastila does what Revan could not do on his own: she comes back to the light, and not because that’s simply what the Star Wars formula requires; she has very real reasons to, and the very real strength to make it happen.

Besides being a layered character, Bastila mows down legions of Sith using the saber staff (AKA the double-bladed lightsaber), the coolest/dumbest weapon in Star Wars depending upon who’s holding it. In Bastila’s hands, it becomes the coolest again. Bastila’s legacy is cemented so fully with fans that her distant descendants are shoehorned into practically every subsequent LucasArts property.

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