Video games are one of the more immersive and engaging forms of media, but it’s easy to see why fans and collectors would want to own something tangible representing their favorite characters. After spending hundreds of hours playing a game, it’s nice to look up at something to remind you of the time spent in that world, even when the adventure is long over. So, here are five games that led companies to create some standout figures that are worth looking out for.
Mass Effect 3
Few trilogies have matched the quality storytelling and world-building of the Mass Effect series, and the popular characters from the games were a natural fit for figures aimed at collectors. The original Mass Effect trilogy ended in 2012 with the release of Mass Effect 3, and although not without controversy, the game was still highly successful and well received. Big Fish Toys released a line of figures for the game that same year, offering detailed 6-7 inch sculpts of Normandy crew members like Commander Shepard, Garrus, Tali and Miranda. This line sacrificed articulation for detail, but they look great on display. These figures are tough to come by now, but any fan should keep an eye out for them.
As one of the most innovative FPS games in quite some time, the BioShock series brought some new ideas to the table in terms of game play, story and art direction. Rapture and Columbia are both rich, unique environments full of interesting people and enemies, so it’s not a surprise that toy company NECA were able to turn some of the real standouts into great figures. From the iconic Big Daddy to the completely ridiculous Motorized Patriots from BioShock: Infinite, NECA was able to bring the unique designs of the game to life.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
A hotly anticipated sequel at the time of its release in 2001, MGS 2 surprised everyone when Snake was only a playable character for the first part of the game. Thankfully, playing as Raiden didn’t detract much from the experience and it certainly didn’t prevent McFarlane Toys from releasing a great line of MGS 2 figures following the launch of the game. Still known primarily for Spawn and sports figures at the time, McFarlane’s range of MGS 2 figures brought great articulation and detail to Kojima’s characters. Also impressive is how well this series of aging figures holds up to contemporary examples as they approach their 15th birthday.
Although the series is often written off as a rushed once-a-year release cash-in, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has left a big impact on modern gaming, thanks in large part to exciting open world historical settings and memorable protagonists. With stories taking place everywhere from the Renaissance-era Italy to pirate havens, the possibilities for figures are pretty wide-open, and McFarlane once again delivered with a number of nice looking figures for practically every series entry. They look like their video game counterparts, come with a number of accessories and capture the feel of Assassin’s Creed with draped cowls and tough guy expressions.
Dead Space 2
One of the more unheralded but still excellent trilogies of the last console generation, the Dead Space games brought players terrifying third-person shooter action in an environment that built a sense of dread through horrifying enemies and realistic spaceship surroundings. The “not-so-distant future” style of Dead Space gave characters and enemies a gritty look, with the main character Isaac appearing especially utilitarian with his welding mask style helmet. NECA once again succeeded in bringing video game characters to plastic form with their line of Dead Space 2 figures, which accurately brought Isaac and a number of Necromorphs to collector’s shelves. These are tough to track down for a decent price now, but again, they’re worth checking out for die-hard fans.
Of course there are a ton of figure lines based off of video games, some better than these, and many worse. But these came to mind as examples of affordable (at release), quality and accurate representations of characters from popular games. What else should I cover? Let me know on Twitter @ringman_ or in the comments.