In terms of revenue, the video game industry is rivaled only by the movie industry. Of course, the multi-billion dollar gaming scene resembles Hollywood in many ways, including the amount of secrecy and work that goes into all of the big AAA projects from the big-name publishers. But the biggest way the video game industry resembles show business is through its characters and storytelling. Over the years, video games have become a new medium through which to tell captivating and memorable stories. Recent games like The Last of Us, which tackles themes of fatherhood and survival, and Hellblade, about a Celtic warrior fighting mental illness, even tell important stories that we should all experience.
Character is what ultimately makes the story and video games are chock-full of great heroes, from Solid Snake and Commander Shepard to Master Chief and Revan. And don’t forget the villains we love to hate, like Darth Malak, GLaDOS, Sephiroth, Revolver Ocelot and SHODAN, There are just too many characters to choose from. It’s no wonder so many talented cosplayers have decided to dress up as their favorite characters and even improve on their outfits! CBR has selected 15 cosplays that are better than the original video game versions — and, in some cases, involve way more Hello Kitty!
15. FEMALE HUNTER (BLOODBORNE)
Bloodborne remains one of the major hits of the PlayStation 4. It comes from Dark Souls developer FromSoftware, a studio that pretty much revolutionized the action RPG with smart level design, an intense difficulty level and unique boss fights. At the center of Bloodborne is the Hunter, who arrives to the haunted city of Yharnam to slay the creatures that stalk the night.
He is a vicious hunter, efficient with blades and not afraid to get a little blood on his coat. Cosplayer Vanessa Wedge has taken the Hunter to a whole new level, imagining a female version of the character who looks just as fierce as her male counterpart. You wouldn’t want to run into Vanessa’s bloodied Hunter on the street, that’s for sure.
14. FEMALE ASSASSIN (ASSASSIN’S CREED III)
Assassin’s Creed III was the culmination of a series of stories starring protagonist Desmond Miles, who used a machine called the Animus to step into the boots of his ancestors in order to stop an apocalyptic event from destroying the planet. While your mileage with the game may vary (the story is ultimately a bit jumbled and the climax is disappointing to say the least), there’s no doubt that becoming Assassin Connor Kenway and fighting in the American Revolution is exhilarating.
Kitori tackles a female version of an American Revolution Assassin and really nails the look. The cosplayer rocks the signature hood but changes the pants for a dress and corset. She’s also carrying Connor’s signature tomahawk and even holds up an American flag. A true patriot of the American Revolution.
13. BLOOD DRAGON SHEPARD (MASS EFFECT 2 & 3)
BioWare’s Mass Effect Trilogy is one of the great bodies of work of the last generation of consoles. If you ever wanted to go on an epic Star Wars/Star Trek-like adventure, Mass Effect is the game to fulfill your needs. You play as Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre (basically an interstellar secret agent with his own crew of elite soldiers and tons of firepower), who must get to the bottom of a mystery older than humanity itself.
Despite the fact that the latest installment, Andromeda, was a bit of a bust, that should not deter you from playing the first three games. Regardless, Leon Chiro brings Shepard’s Blood Dragon armor to life in this incredible cosplay. This armor was actually available in Mass Effect 2 and 3 as bonus content. It is inspired by another one of BioWare’s big series, Dragon Age.
12. VISAS MARR (STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC)
Visas Marr has a very tragic past. Introduced in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Visas is the only surviving Miraluka from the planet Katarr, which was devastated by a Sith attack that left the planet’s surface ravaged. What’s worse, Darth Nihilus, the Sith Lord who consumed all life on Katarr, decided to keep Visas alive and make her his apprentice. It’s a pretty messed up fate for Visas, but if you play things right, she later gets the vengeance she deserves.
Vavalika gives her own take to Visas’ costume. Her outfit is a bit more free-flowing and not as covered up as the original Sith apprentice. While she dons the character’s signature hood, she does show her blonde hair. The smile on her face makes this version of Visas much more terrifying than the original.
11. HELLO KITTY MARCUS (GEARS OF WAR)
Gears of War‘s Marcus Fenix isn’t really known for his soft spot for Japanese merch, especially the very pink Hello Kitty. That’s not stopped one cosplayer from imagining what it would be like if Marcus had a crazy fascination with the little kitty — or at least was sponsored by the company. This pink armor sure would have lent a very different tone to the games. Blood-spattered Hello Kitty Gears armor? Count us in!
Marcus recently made a comeback to consoles in 2016’s Gears of War 4, which reintroduced a much older version of the character. But even if Marcus has gone a bit gray of late, it doesn’t mean he’s not ready to kick some more monster butt. This time, it’s the Swarm that’s invaded the surface of Sera, and it’s up to Marcus and a group of young heroes to stop them.
10. REAL-LIFE STALKER (THE LAST OF US)
The stalker is one of the most terrifying villains in Naughty Dog’s magnum opus, The Last of Us. Aptly named due to the way they hunt their prey — hiding before lunging at unsuspecting humans — these enemies will be on top of you before you can even make a move. Stalkers don’t really appear in the game very often, but when they do, they pack a punch.
Cosplayer Hazenhyte brings this harrowing vision of a stalker to life. The fungal growth symptomatic of the Cordyceps infection looks incredibly real and the blood gushing from her mouth and nose only adds to the terror of this photograph. We would not want to run into this creature in real life. Hopefully, no apocalyptic event makes it so.
9. HUMAN FORM GLADOS (PORTAL)
GLaDOS is the hilarious and terrifying villain from Portal, Valve’s last great single-player game before it decided to focus on MOBAs and hardware. Portal was innovative for its time, a master class in physics, level design and minimalist storytelling. To play Portal is to remember your time with the game as one of your favorite experiences. Besides the gameplay, the big reason Portal is such a modern classic is its villain, the manic artificial intelligence that lures you into a trap with chocolate cake.
This gijinka cosplay by Sora the Demon gives this iconic villain a humanoid form. While GLaDOS controls all of the test facility that makes up the setting of the game, the villain is restricted to one chamber. Sora imagines what it would be like if GLaDOS had a human body. Judging from the sinister look on her face, the result would be painful.
8. FEMALE RAIDEN (METAL GEAR SOLID 4)
When he was first introduced to the Metal Gear saga, fans weren’t very happy about Raiden. After all, he replaced Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, a game that was advertised as the continued adventures of Snake. But when Snake goes MIA after the first section, it’s a new agent named Raiden who takes over. His mission: save the President of the United States from a terrorist cell.
After completing his mission, Raiden returned in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as the new Cyborg Ninja, an elite agent who is half man and half machine. All of a sudden, Raiden was a force to be reckoned with. Crystal Graziano delivers an excellent female version of the character in the picture above.
7. LADY ARTHAS (WORLD OF WARCRAFT)
Arthas Menethil is one of the most important characters in Warcraft lore. While he began his life as a hero and heir to the throne of Lordaeron, Arthas eventually became an evil villain after he was pushed too far while trying to protect his kingdom from the plague of undeath. Arthas became a death knight of the Scourge — turning into the exact thing he was trying to protect his home against.
If there was ever a chance that he could return to the light, that hope diminished when he merged with the evil Lich King. Lady Artha gender swaps the tragic villain, recreating Menethil’s armor with an incredible attention to detail. The armor is absolutely spectacular and she’s even brandishing the cursed runeblade Frostmourne from the game.
6. FEMALE SCARECROW (BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM)
Scarecrow is one of the most well-known members of Batman’s rogues gallery. He’s appeared in tons of comics, was one of the main villains in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and was a recurring villain in the Batman: Arkham games. In fact, he was the main antagonist in Arkham Knight, the final chapter in Rocksteady’s seminal Batman video game trilogy. No Batman game has been quite as good as Arkham Asylum and part of that is its inclusion of the Caped Crusader’s biggest villains. Scarecrow undoubtedly joins the party.
Argentine cosplayer Florencia Barrios gives us a female Scarecrow with a crazy attention to detail. The way she uses makeup to emulate the Scarecrow’s terrifying expression and the fear toxin needles make this cosplay one of the best video game and DC get-ups we’ve seen.
5. FEMALE DRAGONBORN (THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the best fantasy RPGs ever released. Knights, elves, dwarf technology, werewolves, vampires, wizards and giant dragons comprise this modern classic from Bethesda. If you’re looking for an amazing fantasy experience on consoles (including Nintendo Switch, as of last month), look no further than Skyrim. (Dragon Age: Inquisition is also pretty amazing).
At the center of this adventure is the Dragonborn, a hero who can speak to dragons and use spells to control them. He’s basically the chosen one who, destined to protect the land of Skyrim from Alduin the World-Eater. Florinda Zanetti is the Dragonborn in the picture above. While you can choose the race and gender of the character, the game marketed the hero as a man. Florinda takes a different direction and it looks absolutely awesome!
4. FEMALE SMOKE (MORTAL KOMBAT)
Smoke is one of the many ninjas in the Mortal Kombat series. Why does this franchise have so many ninjas? Because it’s an easy way for the developers to add more characters to the roster. Simply take an existing ninja like Sub-Zero or Scorpion and change the color palette. For Smoke, it’s gray to signify his smoke-related abilities and attacks.
He first appeared in the series as a secret non-playable character in Mortal Kombat 2. Smoke was first playable in the next installment, which saw him turned into a cyborg (they do the color swap with the cyborgs, too). Miss Piratesavvy brings a new version of Smoke to the roster. This is a female version named Vapor. She’s a human instead of a cyborg in this case.
3. KRATOS, GODDESS OF WAR (GOD OF WAR)
Before Kratos became a dad, as shown in the new God of War game coming out in 2018, he was the fierce Spartan warrior out to kill all of the figures of Greek mythology. Zeus, Hades, Ares, Hera, you name it. He wants to take everyone down by the end of the first trilogy, and he kills quite a few other monsters, as well as Titans along the way. There’s basically no one left alive in Kratos’ path. Pretty friendly guy, right?
The new game reintroduces Kratos in the world of Norse gods and he has a son named Atreus. It’s a fairly surprising direction considering the dude was a murder machine a game ago. Danielle DeNicola takes things to a whole other level as the Goddess of War. Everything, from the body and face paint to the weapons and graphic design, shows just how much time Danielle put into designing her take on the character.
2. FEMALE GORDON FREEMAN (HALF-LIFE)
“The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.” That’s the story of Half-Life protagonist Gordon Freeman, a scientist turned hero who is forced to deal with an alien invasion that he helped cause while performing an experiment in the secret Black Mesa test facility. Armed with a handy crowbar, Gordon must fight his way through an alien-infested lab and to another dimension to fight the source of the invasion. After the events at Black Mesa, Gordon is transported to the alien-controlled City 17 years after the initial invasion.
Cosplayer Deanna Davis reimagines Gordon as a female character with an awesome recreation of the scientist’s signature HEV Suit, which he wears when out fighting bad guys with guns and physics. The crowbar is a nice final touch.
1. FEMALE REVAN (STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC)
While you can choose the gender of the main character in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the canon version of Revan is male. Cosplayer Mowse tackles the female version of the hero in this cosplay, which features white robes instead of Revan’s customary black or brown ones. She also dons a different hood and the mask doesn’t cover up her whole face. It’s a pretty modern design that we wouldn’t be surprised to see in a Star Wars movie.
Revan is one of the most iconic Star Wars characters ever created, perhaps even better than Han, Luke and Leia. Some fans even claim that Knights of the Old Republic is a better Star Wars story than anything we saw in the Original Trilogy. The jury’s still out on that one, but nobody can deny that this cosplay is strong with the Force!
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