What is more iconic a weapon than the sword? Its very form makes it an elegant, graceful weapon, idolized and idealized as a gallant fantasy cornerstone. They are as much symbols as arms, and the people who wield them best tend to stick in our minds, even when those people are the products of video games rather than reality. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the very best I've encountered in my gaming history.
Please Note: There will be spoilers for some of the games and series on this list. Proceed at your own risk.
When we first begin Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse, the game thrusts us into the midst of a flashback. As part of this sequence, Jin Uzuki, brother of series protagonist Shion Uzuki, confronts a large mech on foot. He slashes once with his sword, a standard katana, and the offending enemy is split in twain. Understand that, throughout the game, players encounter enemies designed to be fought in their own battle suits, the scale of those battles, number-wise, on a completely different plane than the base game. Jin demonstrates the ability to fight on that scale with nothing but body and sword, the very definition of a badass.
A classic arcade game with an excellent Genesis port, Strider has high-flying acrobatics, wall-climbing, and some of the fastest, most hectic swordplay of all time. In many ways, Hiryu's sword acts less as a blade and more as an impenetrable arc of death that passes back and forth in front of him so fast is appears to be a solid wave of energy. Though this has been toned down in his subsequent Marvel vs. Capcom appearances, the fighting games have also paid greater heed to his finesse with the weapon, which makes him a speedy and dangerous foe.
Marth's swordsmanship is less a hallmark of his own game and more one of the Super Smash Bros. series. Introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Marth became a high-tier character due to his speed, reach, maneuverability, recovery, and counter-attack. His counter ability is an incredible way to avoid damage, even against attacks one wouldn't normally think were counterable (if it's not explosive, odds are you can counter it). Besides that, he's one of the few characters with a built-in combo attack by way of his forward special. Also, in Brawl, his final smash is one of the few that grants an automatic kill if it lands, certifiably making him one bad, sword-bearing mother.