2018 is nearly upon us, which means we can finally show the door to 2017, a year that felt like a 365-day trip to the Twilight Zone. Well, in reality at least: our virtual worlds by contrast were consistently superb, offering everything from indie delights to AAA blockbusters.
Where there are games, however, there are characters, and where there are characters there are character designs. So let’s look at the best and worst dressed of these, shall we? SHALL WE?!
Darth Vader, Star Wars Battlefront 2
Some of you may decry it as cheating to include someone from 1977 in the round up of the best dressed characters of 2017, but a) Battlefront II came out this year, and b) has there been a more appropriate visual identifier of the sheer horror that was 2017 than this guy? Exactly.
More than enough has been written about Darth’s outfit over the years: there’s probably even a Wookiepedia page for the tiny little silver bits on the front of his mandible, and that Wookiepedia page is also probably longer, more thoroughly sourced, and older than the Bible. But I digress. What makes Vader one of the best dressed people of this or any year is that he wears his samurai gas mask and cape combo with such aplomb, which is incredible when you realise that he was forced into it without a hint of Sudocrem after his forced lava bath.
Perhaps the only drawback to this incredible look, one which suggests a black flash of death or perhaps just rheumatoid arthritis, depending on the movie, is the bits of material that seem to be pinned down under his belt. Like little body curtains or something. Maybe he pulls them closed when he’s getting out of his space bath from Rogue One, or perhaps it’s to stop other drivers from being distracted by that weird chest thing he’s got going on, the one that looks like he’s got a physical incarnation of Task Manager stuck to his body. Weird.
Billie Lurk, Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider
Everyone in Dishonored is well-dressed: it just appears to be the law. Billie is no exception, but the devil here is in the detail. Red AND brown? Should it work? The only time you see this combination usually is on 999, while Michael Burke talks gravely and sincerely about how you shouldn’t play snooker underwater near the rusty propeller of an aircraft carrier, or whatever used to happen on that show. Cracking theme though. Bloody hell. I’m so old, please don’t let me die.
Anyway, it does work, and that’s because the brown is so well integrated against the red. The bib/landing strip/whatever down the front is bold, and it only works because of those gloves. Look at them. Things of beauty. Forearm-length and turned over at the elbow, they scream ‘creative murder’. Then there are the epaulettes, the ultimate connotation of rank and status among the creative murder and fashion victim community.
Finally, there’s the lower half, a Han Solo-ish mix of large belt buckles, ostentatious boots, and functional if appealing trousers. It works, and the only slight disappointment is that the bionic eye doesn’t really scream ‘The Terminator’ as much as it slightly yelps ‘Kano is my main’. But we will let this slide. Bonus points for a slight but distinct Thriller vibe as well.
BJ Blazkowicz, Wolfenstein II
The first of two entries for BJ here, and by far the most positive: take a peek below to see which heinous crimes he commits later in the game. No wonder the other guys were desperate to hunt him down.
Forget that for a minute however. Now, this is a look which says ‘my hero is Oliver Reed and for me ‘breakfast’ consists of drinking five pints of stout while having a medium-to-strenuous bowel movement’. The turtleneck, so delicate, so inviting, so blue. The jacket, reminiscent of every curtain your great-grandmother ever had, except said curtains probably didn’t have dashing pocket squares. The trousers, with their pleat so sharp you could execute the French aristocracy on them: the Ron Burgundy classic, an American tradition that sadly is no more.
Then there’s the moustache. A very tricky look, and one these days which boasts all the appeal of charity drive to bring back Cholera, being as it’s now the preserve on bastards in dungarees. For BJ though, it’s a statement. Yes, I am a man of taste and wealth, appropriate to the time that the game takes place in. Yes, I could indeed drink 52 cans of beer on a transatlantic flight and still play cricket the next day, why do you ask? Yes, I can kill everyone in this room, and the next room, and the one after that ad infinitum because I am, after all, wearing a moustache. What a hero.
PlayerUnknown’s Battleman, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds
Look at this. LOOK AT THIS. This is a look that says ‘yeah, I saw Falling Down, and what i took away from it was that cool bit with the breakfast and the Uzi, and I forgot everything else the move was saying. Also I love Robocop.’
As an aesthetic, this is fine, because it skilfully advertises the nature of the game (collect stuff, fight people, use anything to hand so you don’t die) in a striking package. But look at it. The horror. The tie clip. The combat trousers—jean combat trousers—with rolled up shirt sleeves and what appears to be a leather tie, like your dad finally snapped after another long day at the decade long performance art rendition of Office Space that is his life. The gloves, the holsters, the belts, all of which appear to suggest that this guy got dressed in a dark closet populated exclusively with assets from Duke Nukem game engines. I could go on. I won’t though, because this has hurt me. Cracking marketing, mind.
BJ Blazkowicz, Wolfenstein II
Ah, this was so promising. Terror Billy starts the game with a very strong look, one which says ‘I have seen Crank, I liked it, and I am going to be a better man because of it, injury or not.’ And, true to his word, the man Blasko kicks Nazi ass from here to the heavens powered by an immense sense of belief that only good dress sense and a lot of guns can bring. And then this jacket happens. My goodness, I know you actually have had some very serious head trauma recently, and yes technically you ARE being seen dead in this thing, but get a grip. You look like you’re auditioning for a Game of Death remake starring N-Sync. Is that pleather? Deary me.
Alex Hunter, FIFA 18
Chelsea? Really? No, come on now. I’m only joking. Please imagine him in a Man Utd/City/Arsenal/Spurs/Liverpool/Cambridge United/whatever shirt and delete as appropriate, depending on who you hate in this gloriously tribal world of kicking a ball around and being really angry all the time, which really is the true spirit of not just Christmas but all holidays. See you next year!