ATB’s Top 25 Female Characters: (10) Cortana


“They let me pick, did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted. You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be. Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader. But you had something they didn’t. Something no one saw… but me. Can you guess? Luck. Was I wrong?”

This is our list of the top 25 female characters of all-time. We’re into the top 10 now, and counting down one by one until we reach the best of the best on Sept. 30.

10) Cortana (Halo) – 6 votes/195 points

Shaun: To say Cortana was the most interesting part of the Halo series is a huge understatement. Cortana was like the context machine that provided all of Chief’s actions with emotional context. Killing a legion of space aliens is about as formulaic as you get in gaming these days, along with zombies and nazis, but in Halo it was fresh because of your quippy, sarcastic, super intelligent AI partner, and the chemistry that they had. Chief’s character, while not a focal point of the first three games, ONLY shined through with interactions with Cortana.

Then in 4, we get promised a game that will finally delve into Chief’s character…except only in the sense Chief just borrows all of his best character moments directly from her. Cortana is the driving force of the game, the conflict that makes you care, and the tragedy at the end.

Throughout all of Halo, she was like the straw siphoning the “feels” from his character gas tank, and I don’t know of many side characters that are more instrumental to the games they are in than Cortana was to Halo. As far as making me care about Halo, you didn’t finish that fight, Chief. Cortana did.

Chris: Master Chief is incredibly boring. The reason why the story of the protagonist of Halo is interesting is about 90% because of Cortana. (Johnson and Keyes and The Arbiter deserve some credit as well.)

While Johnny-boy is busy offering curt tough-guy responses to everything happening around him, it’s Cortana that’s doing all the work. Need someone to stop all of the Halo installations from blowing up everyone in the universe? She’s your gal. Defending a ship against an onslaught of enemy attacks? She’s got the battle systems covered. Somehow, this supremely-advanced AI has the most human development in the series. Take that as you will.

I’m not sure what the future holds for the Halo series after the spoilerriffic events of Halo 4 (although that game went a long way in developing some actual personality for the Chief). I know that it’s going to be difficult to recreate the dynamic relationship between Master Chief and Cortana, and that it’ll be tough to get me invested without something like that being in the game. Sticky grenades and nerfed pistols aren’t enough to do it.

Joseph: Top 10. Good job, Cortana. You know why Master Chief didn’t make our Top 25? Because you were the real main character of Halo.

Admit it, the Spartan was just a hollow shell designed to carry you from place to place while snapping a neck or two in the process, but you are the one who figured out the secret of Halo and how to stop it. You kept me from mindlessly activating the rings and wiping out all life in the galaxy.

And what did I do? I watched as you slowly lost your mind, helpless to stop it. I know it would be cliche, but I hope they bring you back in Halo 5. In fact, I hope that is the point of Halo 5, because without you I might as well be rooting for the (insert alien race bent on destroying humanity here).

Jason: Ah yes, space Navi. On top of being voiced by one of my favorite voice actors, Cortana also has the unique ability to somehow make me care about the Halo series. Seriously, those games can sometimes be about as generic as possible, yet somehow Cortana, with her AI wit and quick thinking, always keep me coming back. I for one was glad to see her take up such a major role in Halo 4, despite what that might mean for her fate going forward.

Am I gonna talk about how they keeping upping her breast size as the games go on? Nah, I’ll leave that out. because at the end of the day no amount of sexualization could stop Cortana from being the awesome artificial companion that both we, the players, and the Master Chief need.


(11) Mia Fey

(12) Maya Fey

(13) Sarah Kerrigan

(14) Lara Croft

(15) Garnet til Alexandros

(16) Ellie

(17) Jill Valentine

(18) Milla Maxwell

(19) Elizabeth

(20) Samantha Greenbriar

(21) Cammy White

(22) Chell

(23) Tali’Zorah vas Normandy

(24) Tear Grants

(25)  Liara T’Soni




Introduction/Honorable Mention


(1) Link

(2) Phoenix Wright

(3) Riku

(4) Zidane Tribal

(5) Garrus Vakarian

(6) John Marston

(7) Commander Shepard

(8) Yuri Lowell

(9) Lee Everett

(10) Kratos Aurion

(11) Mordin Solus

(12) Yu Narukami

(13) Bigby Wolf

(14) Auron

(15) Solid Snake

(16) Conker T. Squirrel

(17) Yoshi

(18) Red

(19) Ganondorf

(20) Kefka Palazzo

(21) Crono

(22) Alistair

(23) Mike Haggar

(24) Miles Edgeworth

(25) The Lone Wanderer




Honorable Mention


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