Fashion in Videogames: The Top Ten Best Dressed Characters
In the first of four features exploring fashion in videogames, I take a look at the best dressed characters in videogame history. Now, this is not a typical ‘who looks the coolest and most badass and sexy’ article, as you’d expect, but more based on what you could actually wear in real life and feel fashionable. Videogame characters aren’t known for their appreciation of clothes, but a rare few are a bit more in touch with what it takes to be well dressed and presentable, or innovative and on-trend. It was an extremely tough call – especially the last few names, so let’s roll out the red carpet and toast the winners:
10. Alan Wake – Alan Wake, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Alan Wake – aka John Stamos – is a modern day writer, both in his articulated narration and in the way he presents himself. Clad in a classic tweed jacket with elbow patches, he’s fooling nobody, looking every bit the inquisitive intellect. Not content with just a jacket, he combines the comfort and usefulness of a standard hooded sweatshirt. His setup is also wonderfully relevant to his surroundings, camouflaging himself as the greys, greens and browns of his attire blend beautifully with the crystal hues and picturesque lakes and mountainscapes that surround him.
In stark contrast to his heavy tweed, in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, he abandons the typical writer/mystery solver jacket in favour for a light and stylish plaid shirt with white t-shirt combo. Arizona’s home to consistently volcanic temperatures, so this option is one wholly suited to his adventure, although he may have to reconsider this option when he’s scrambling through canyon valleys in the early hours of the morning.
9. Vincent Brooks – Catherine
Nothing says hipster more than a pair of red cords, a distinctly ‘out there’ logo print t-shirt, a messy mop of hair and a Harrington jacket decorated proudly with elements of the Italian flag. Vincent – even his name is hip – enjoys nothing more than to relax at the Stray Sheep bar while he messes up his fringe and stares longingly into a cold bottle of lager. Not one to shy away from the ladies, his history with the female population is a touchy subject, but it’s doubtless his popularity with them is partly down to his proficiency with getting dressed. Catherine and Katherine were likely drawn to his t-shirt, which most certainly gives off the impression he’s an eligible bachelor with a love for casual raving.
8. Elena Fisher – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
In Drake’s Fortune, Elena’s attire was little more than a sturdy purple vest top and beige three-quarter lengths. Well, since Among Thieves, she’s matured not only in character but also in dress. Her favourite clothes include faded jeans, and a couple of smart and airy shirts. They may not be perfect wear for the many situations she finds herself in (escorting a heavily injured ally for one), or suitable protection against gunfire and torrid rainfall, but they highlight her journalist occupation well. Her winter outfit is practical and stylish, with a layered combination of cream turtle neck and black sweater nestled under an admittedly filthy Marmot Furlong Softshell Jacket replica.
7. Leon S. Kennedy – Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 6
Life as a federal agent must be tough, especially when there are infected loons and zombies wreaking havoc. That’s why it’s important to look the part. When Leon is not in uniform and thus dressed like a blueberry (see: Resident Evil 2), he’s actually quite the style icon. His brown bomber jacket is his focal piece, stunning rabid Ganados with his stylish ways. When he’s modelling both the jacket and a classic curtained fringe, you wonder why he was never asked to pose for Vanity Fair. Finish the ‘separate ways’ portion of Resident Evil 4, and he’ll don a mafia-inspired suit, complete with white banded trilby and a devastatingly destructive tommy gun – the Chicago Typewriter. In the forthcoming Resident Evil 6, his wardrobe seems a lot more modern and dark, with a tidy leather jacket, black shirt and some rough stubble.
6. Nathan Drake – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Ah, Nathan Drake. Not only does he have charm, wit, boyish good looks and a tremendous amount of luck on his side, but he’s also got a great, understated fashion sense – and he probably doesn’t even know it. He favours comfort and practicality, but still has room for style: Kafiya scarves for taking on the enormous Rub’ al Khali desert, shearling coats for his Nepalese adventures, and a whole host of accessories including ancient rings, symbolic belt buckles and golden daggers. An unbuttoned shirt and suit combo sees him at his classiest, giving him just enough breathing space and manoeuvrability should he need to fight or run. Even as a teen, Nathan has a tab on what’s in, sporting a simple yet trendy red baseball t-shirt. It’s a shame his clothes get so wet and dirty all the time, but who can blame a player for rolling around in mud, water and snow when the visuals look so good.
5. Elizabeth – BioShock Infinite
Okay, so it would require a lot of confidence for any woman to venture outside wearing a corset and striking blue jacket like the one Elizabeth wears in the forthcoming BioShock Infinite, but in the right places, it would be enough to steal glances and turn a million heads. Owing a lot to current trends present in the 1910s including floor length dresses and the unmistakeable bob cut, Elizabeth still manages to cause a stir with simple innovations like her white wrist cuffs, and the vibrancy of her blue bolero jacket – possibly inspired by the Victorian-era. This is one female protagonist who knows how to make headlines. Let’s hope she has more silky surprises up her woollen sleeves when Infinite drops later this year.
4. John Marston – Red Dead Redemption
Who would have thought a former outlaw like Marston could have such a cracking taste in clothes? Whether he needs to cheat his way through a round of poker, cosy up with a hostile gang or empty a few rounds in a gunfight, it’s important he’s got the upper hand with his appearance. It’ll take a lot to stop him from wearing a hat – his hair greases up like a true bandit, but give him some fur, a bandana or a leather belt and he’ll feel right at home. Some of his outfits are worn even today, including a particularly dapper pea coat and olive gatsby, such is his timeless and forward-thinking approach to fashion.
3. Cole Phelps – L.A. Noire
Cole Phelps had many partners working with him over the course of his career, but when it came to suits, Phelps owned them all. After getting promoted from a lowly cop on patrol to a detective on traffic, Cole understood that in order to charm witnesses and intimidate shifty suspects, a smart and expensive suit goes a long way. Rarely straying away from the classic combination of fedora, white shirt, striped waistcoat and suit with notched lapels, Phelps nevertheless left room for creativity. Chalk stripes, tribal ties and pale sandy suits lined his wardrobe, and while his clothes were never as outlandish as partner Roy Earle’s impressive tweed two-piece with salmon pink sleeves and sparkling blue tie, he could still win over a German singer or two with his love for fabric finery.
2. Chloe Frazer – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Forever the mysterious dark-haired starlet, Chloe Frazer is both smart and sexy. In Among Thieves, her attire is admittedly naïve, with tight, figure hugging t-shirts and thin fabrics, perhaps a result of her on/off relationship with the courageous Nathan Drake. In Drake’s Deception, however, she comes in to her own. Maroon and tan leather jackets warm her bones during jaunts through London and Syria, respectively, and she finally managed to get laser surgery to reduce the intensity of her piercing blue cat eyes. She sure as hell can rock a pair of cargo pants, too, especially since military-inspired apparel is all the rage.
1. Viggo Rolig – SSX 3
Sadly a one hit wonder, appearing only in the third title of the seminal SSX series, Viggo was a Swedish sensation, both on the slopes and off. Wooing women with his silver locks, European accent and bubbling hot tub, he had it all – including an expansive set of clothes all brimming with character. His penchant for vibrant colours is present through his choice of jeans and suits, headbands and shoes. Yellows mix effortlessly with dark blues as he models athletic track-wear with consummate ease. He loves jackets and large coats, but not as much as his range of suits, which are utterly dazzling. Baby blues and pinks decorate his blazers, and a sparkling rose adorns his breast pocket as he steals glances from every room he enters.
Next in the series, I’ll be totalling up the ten worst dressed characters in videogames, I’ll explore the crazy ideas and conventions behind the fashion in the Final Fantasy series and similar Japanese titles, finally looking at videogames in real life fashion.