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Contributors: Mikel Reparaz, Brett Elston, Carolyn Gudmundson, Charlie Barratt, Tyler Nagata, Tyler Wilde, Henry Gilbert, Matt Keast, Joe McNeilly, AJ Glasser
The last decade was an absolutely amazing one, at least where videogames were concerned. The new technologies of the past two console generations have enabled the medium to soar to incredible new heights, introducing entirely new types of experiences and – perhaps more notably – delivering the sexy better than ever before. The decade from 2000 to 2009 brought us increasingly realistic (or at least convincingly idealized) heroines and heroes that not only looked hot when rendered in 3D, but also managed to be relatable, interesting characters (often with huge tits).
Above: Relatable and interesting
This being GamesRadar, we thought it only appropriate to look back and recognize the characters whose asses we most enjoyed staring at throughout the decade, and so we assembled a team of male and female writers to crown 20 characters – 10 male, 10 female – as the hottest and most crush-worthy to be introduced in their respective years. Disagree with our choices? Then tell us who you’d pick in the comments section below. Otherwise, brace yourself for impending hawtness, beginning with…
Introduced in: The Operative: No One Lives Forever
Who doesn’t love that Avengers-esque sexy ‘60s super-spy look? Spandex body-suits will never lose their appeal, especially not when they’re plastered onto the beautiful digital frame of agent Catherine Ann Archer, cat burglar-turned-Bond-like femme fatale.
Cate’s mission is to investigate and incapacitate H.A.R.M., a terrorist organization mostly notable for its colorful potpourri of bad dudes. With a dangerous assortment of weapons, gadgets (including explosive lipstick!) and witty lines at her recklessly violent disposal, Cate kicks international ass with impeccable style and grace. Sure, her polygons are a little rough, but her words and her walk are smoother than butter, and she returns in a much upgraded form in No One Lives Forever 2.
Here’s a fun fact: Cate was modeled after the very real Mitzi Martin, a model and actress who most recently played a role in the film Stripped Down, which, as you may have guessed, is about strippers. Martin’s also not averse to posing in Archer’s skintight getup, which makes everyone happy.
Sexiest moment: Delivering her biting quips with unwavering confidence and a scotch and soda in hand. We like a woman who can handle herself.
Introduced in: Skies of Arcadia
Pirates have captivated countless minds since the 1600s, what with their flagrant disregard for authority and frequently steamy, bare-chested encounters with lonely housewives. Jump ahead a few centuries, and you find ace pilots in the same position, representing a lifestyle that literally rises above conformity and flies straight ahead into danger with barely a glance back. Combine those two and you get Vyse, an irresistibly charming sky pirate who exudes all the personality traits you’d want in a man – he’s confident, determined and reliable, all with a carefree “go get ‘em” attitude that doesn’t reek of some Alpha Male douche hat.
His allure is so strong that the box art portrays him doubling up with the ladies, somehow able to convince them to hold hands in a suggestive pre-threesome. Yeah, we know, Aika is a close childhood friend, but could you resist being swallowed up in Vyse’s adventurous, capable spirit? He’s not exactly the most unique or exemplary lead in all of history, but as far as 2000 was concerned, in an age when brooding, whiny heroes were the JRPG norm, there was no other dude we admired more than the dashing, upbeat Vyse.
Sexiest moment: Vyse constantly ignores or outright turns down girl after girl, instead choosing to stand by Aika and Fina. If he ever wanted to cash in his friendship chips and go for one of the two (or both), his steadfast loyalty is bound to be remembered.
Introduced in: Final Fantasy X
Lulu was the first officially sexy Final Fantasy girl. While her potentially sexy predecessor, Tifa from FFVII, sported a geek-tent-pitchingly massive rack, she didn’t quite have the polygons to be much more than a plasticky, lifeless doll, and she had all the personality of a Twilight character. Lulu, on the other hand, displayed an equally bountiful mountain range, and she wasn’t afraid to give it some sun. She also had about 10,000 more leather belts’ worth of style, with the whole goth-mage-hooker thing going on. When your outfit consists of black leather, fur trim and a skirt made from a cage of meticulously buckled belts, and the whole thing looks like it could fall right off at any second, then yeah, you’ve got sexy covered.
Still, a sexy appearance is only half of the equation. Lulu had the attitude of a girl who was way out of your league, and she certainly wasn’t impressed by Tidus’s fancy-boy swagger. She was also fiercely protective of Yuna, and the whole “Mama Bear’s whipping out the claws” thing is always kind of hot. She had the power to back it up, too, with big-gun offensive spells that made her the most devastating character you could have in your party. Of course, to keep things dainty and girly, she used adorable dolls as weapons and pulled items out of her cleavage.
Sexiest moment: Her end-of-battle victory pose, which consisted of bending forward and shamelessly showing off her cleavage, accompanied by Final Fantasy’s first instance of boob physics.
Introduced in: Devil May Cry
Not only did Devil May Cry take action games into the new millennium with its over-the-top violence and insane style, but it also brought gaming sexiness into the '00s. Though the series’ leading ladies – Trish, Lucia and Lady – are undeniably attractive, protagonist Dante is still the hottest of the bunch. Half-demon and half-man, his muscular build, shock of white hair, badass devil-slaying abilities and cocky attitude make him quite the stud, and his love of red leather isn't too bad, either.
Despite attempts to replace him with a younger model – Nero in DMC4 – Dante and his rugged good looks have stayed strong throughout the decade. He even lent his devilish charm to other series, such as Viewtiful Joe and Shin Megami Tensei. And why not? Who doesn't love a bad boy with a heart of gold who's handy with two guns? Also, for those wondering how he won out in a year with stiff competition like Tidus (FFX), Raiden (MGS2) and Jak from Jak and Daxter, it's his hardware that put him over the top. Call us size queens if you want, but have you seen the size of his sword?
Sexiest moment: Devil May Cry 3, where his standard dress was his red jacket with no shirt underneath, showing off his physique for all the ladies (and demons) he meets and slays.