seeking non-violent PS3 games with female protagonists
April 25, 2013 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for games available for the PlayStation 3 with (fully clothed, not overtly sexualized) female protagonists, or protagonists of unspecified gender. Ideally, the games would also be non-violent or minimally violent, and they would rely largely on puzzle-solving rather than time-sensitive and reflex-dependent jump-and-shoot strategies.

The Portal series is the perfect example of what I'm looking for:
1) the player character is female but her gender is unrelated to her performance;
2) the game allows the player time to sort out puzzles and strategies;
3) the "shooting" is non-violent*.
What are some other well-crafted games that meet this criteria?

Second-best: can you recommend games (available for the PS3) that meet two of these three criteria?

*In this narrow case, "non-violent" means no sustained shooting at, striking, or otherwise hurting characters, including human villains, zombies/vampires, or animals. For example, the Batman games, where the player is required to strike adversaries, would not meet these criteria. A brief game-ending bout is fine. Sustained destruction of objects or property is not actively desirable, but is acceptable.
posted by Elsa to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Journey, of course.

Let me think on it some more.
posted by Oktober at 9:21 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 are cutesy platformers. I believe you can pick a female avatar but they're generic sock-puppets either way.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:23 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Beyond Good and Evil is available for PS3 -- it is not entirely non-violent, but there is no shooting, Jade's only weapon is only capable of stunning, and many (most?) fights are entirely avoidable through stealth.
posted by asperity at 9:25 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you enjoy Journey, please also buy Flower.

I generally play FPS (read: violent) and sports games on my PS3, so the family usually doesn't hang out and watch, but when I played Flower, everyone crowded around to watch.
posted by kuanes at 9:29 AM on April 25, 2013

Mirror's Edge is a partial match and a beautiful, great game
posted by grobstein at 9:34 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Echochrome is a very unique spatial puzzle game available on PSD. The protagonist is a featureless mannequin. The game is all black-and-white line art, very minimalistic, and the puzzle solving relies on M.C. Escherian space-warping tricks resulting from perspective changes caused by moving the player's point of view.
posted by mindsound at 9:36 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The suggestions here are pretty good. Any of the thatgamecompany games (fl0w, fl0wer, and Journey) are well worth the money, as is Beyond Good and Evil (just make sure you get the HD remastered version). I'd add Echochrome and the sequel as well. I'm not sure about Jet Set Radio, but I think your character can be female.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on April 25, 2013

Oh, I almost forgot about the absolutely gorgeous game Okami HD! The protagonist is female, although she takes the form of a wolf, and the "battle" is mostly via painting to perform actions.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:44 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

The characters in the Katamari Damacy series are of varied genders, which do not affect the character's gameplay abilities.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

You might really enjoy Blue Toad Murder Files - two of the four playable characters are female. The full season is pretty cheap right now, and it's a charming game.

Also, I think you would enjoy all of the Lego games.
posted by jbickers at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2013

Also, Shadows of the Colossus has "violence," but it's pretty stylized. There's an HD version matched with ICO for the PS3 for pretty cheap.
posted by kuanes at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2013

These all look very promising; thanks, everyone! So far, this is a great mix of games I've been curious about and games I've never even heard of.

If you're thinking "[_____] meets the criteria but surely she's heard of it, so I won't mention that" --- please do mention it! I may have heard of it but probably haven't played it.
posted by Elsa at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2013

I just want to second Beyond Good & Evil. It may not meet your criteria 100% perfectly (there is some physical violence and destruction, and speed is a factor in some areas, if I remember correctly), but if you are interested in these sorts of games, you really should be familiar with it.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2013

I found Flower and Journey to be good, but slow (esp. compared to Portal 2); however, if you like that style, then PixelJunk Eden would be up your alley as well. The game Closure is pretty cool - there are several different protagonists, but one is a girl who you get to play for a large chunk of the game. It features a non-human protagonist, but Critter Crunch was a really good game (some untimed puzzles, some timed challenges). Braid is one of the best puzzle games I've ever played, but alas, not a female protagonist.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:21 AM on April 25, 2013

stopped by to second Mirror's edge. the violence is mostly of the puzzle sort (IE following the careful instructions for disarming a baddie as opposed to shoot shoot shoot shoot)
posted by chasles at 10:25 AM on April 25, 2013

I hesitate to recommend the Mass Effect series because it most definitely does not meet the non-violent criterion, but it does have (IMO) one of the most memorable female protagonists in video games. A great deal of time is spent in environments where the task is to explore and engage in conversations with people, rather than shoot at them. The "shooty" parts of the game are violent, but don't require quick reflexes—you can pause the game at any time to line up shots, so there's ample time to decide on and implement strategies and tactics. Some (but not most) violent situations can be avoided through clever manipulation of the conversation system.

You might also consider Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. It's a puzzle game, but it has a "campaign mode" that switches between telling the story from the perspective of various characters, several of which are female. The puzzle game acts as a proxy for in-game violence (e.g., forming a match does "damage" to an enemy), so it doesn't quite meet the non-violent criterion, but it comes close.
posted by aparrish at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2013

Uh... Mirror's edge definitely relies heavily on reflexes, and unlike portal doesn't really give you time to sort out how to approach things. You're usually being chased or shot at. I guess you can turn down the difficulty, but be aware that the majority of the game is testing your reflexes in movement-based puzzles (which take the form of parkour acrobatics).

All of the Guitar Hero-ish games are available on the PS3, allow for non-sexualized female avatars, and are non-violent apart from thrashing on the whammy bar.

There're The Sims games, but that doesn't really seem like the genre that you're looking for.

The Tiger Woods series (not sure about the PS3) usually lets you make a female avatar, and I personally find golf games more like relaxing puzzlers rather than tests of reflexes.

I also came in to recommend Little Big Planet.
posted by codacorolla at 2:22 PM on April 25, 2013

Closure sounds right up your alley.

The Unfinished Swan has a young boy as the protagonist but it is puzzle based, lacking violence, and quite charming (if maybe a bit precious).
posted by Young Kullervo at 3:23 PM on April 25, 2013

Also, if gender isn't that important, you play a young boy in Quantum Conundrum, which is a less-violent Portal-ish FPS platformer.

I didn't like it nearly as much as portal, but it does scratch the same itch.
posted by codacorolla at 6:03 PM on April 25, 2013

We seem to have very very similar tastes!

You might enjoy Ico and Heavy Rain*.

*There is *some* violence in Heavy Rain, but I'm throwing it out there since as I said I feel like we have very similar tastes and I absolutely loved that game. Also the violence isn't the star of the game or how its mechanics work exclusively, just occasionally a choice your character has.

And damn I totally forgot you wanted female leads.
So it's not out yet but maybe make a mental note for Beyond:Two Souls? Looks insane, can't wait.

I was gonna scratch out my comment but I'm going to go with my gut about taste, in case you're interested by the games anyways
posted by kitsuloukos at 8:35 PM on April 25, 2013

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