Who were the best dressed, the most memorable and the most visually striking video game characters of 2010? I've made my picks for the best video game costume and character design from the past year, let's see if you agree.
Just like our picks from 2009, which included Bayonetta, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, these aren't the games with the best graphics or the boldest moves forward in fashion. They're games with great characters, complex and simple, pretty and ugly, evil and adorable. I considered games released in any territory in the past calendar year, not just North American releases.
Read on for my favorite characters and costume choices for the year, with plenty of pictures to illustrate my point. Let me know your picks in the comments.
Mass Effect 2
Without a doubt, my favorite costumes and character designs came from BioWare's Mass Effect 2. Beautifully designed, gorgeously rendered, they fit perfectly into brightly lit but grim Mass Effect universe. Some Mass Effect 2 characters are better remembered for their personalities, not their looks, but BioWare's talent at creating unique-looking alien species and very attractive humans deserves extra commendation.
Kirby's Epic Yarn
This Wii game may be more deserving of a "best art style" award, but Kirby's Epic Yarn deserves credit for managing to make Kirby, King Dedede and Metaknight feel fresh. Kirby's transformations into alternate forms like a rocket, a tank and a submarine showcase this art style's flexibility and inventiveness.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Even more whacked out rock 'n roll designs from Grasshopper Manufacture. The characters and costumes of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle may not be as surprising or as dazzling as those of the original, but Travis Touchdown and crew still stand out as some of 2010's most original creations.
Super Meat Boy
Really, Dr. Fetus locked this one in.
Even so, Super Meat Boy is packed with character for what is essentially a cube of bloody meat with a few more cubes of meat attached. Team Meat's character animation and a series of hilarious cut scenes helped to make Meat Boy memorable in 2010. Even in tofu form.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Few will accuse Castlevania: Lords of Shadow of being inventive with its gameplay mechanics, but developer Mercury Steam made the bestiary of the decades old Castlevania series its own with a re-imaging of the franchise's most famous monsters. Key characters like Cornell, Carmilla, Pan and Baba Yaga stood out among the year's non-player characters. Gabriel Belmont and his brethren sport some smart looking armor.
Red Dead Redemption
Maybe I'll catch hell for giving John Marston his dues as I did with the dressed-down cast of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Maybe it's Marston's personality and voiceover work that really won me over. But the visual style of Red Dead Redemption's cast of characters was solid, consistent and believable, with Marston's alternate outfits always looking fresh.