Wet (does saying that name make anyone else feel a bit dirty?) brings with it a forcible reminder of something I've been meaning to talk about for a while, and that's female characters in gaming. Yes, it's an old games journalism chestnut, but I'm not going to go the usual route of complaining about how they've all got cleavages that could trap a ferret. Partly because both men and women in games have always been portrayed as generically attractive, and partly because anyone who claims to be put off by tits is a joyless loser.

No, my problem with a lot of female characterization these days is that it goes too far in the opposite direction. To put it succinctly, they're all complete bitches.

Watch me as I backpedal hastily out of the shit that last sentence could heap upon me. Here I go. I'm not saying female characters should stay in the kitchen and peek demurely at their male rescuers over a wazza pair of jugs (WHEEEEEE BACKPEDALLING IS FUN), if a female character is in a game then they'll most likely be in a combat zone, so they can't exactly saunter about in ankle-length hoop skirts drinking tea with their pinkies extended. But a lot of game story writers can't seem to tell the difference between "tough and independent" and "being a complete bitch."

Rubi from Wet (urggh) is a character with precisely zero redeeming qualities. Her response to the slightest opposition is foulmouthed threats, if she doesn't just jump straight to murder. Even to her allies she's surly, abrupt and contemptible, happily leading them into mortal danger to meet her objective, which is usually either mindless personal vengeance or getting her hands on huge bricks of money.

You could argue that this was all done "ironically" (a word that is swiftly becoming the equivalent of the word "NOT" in the movie Wayne's World) to stay in keeping with the deliberate 'exploitation movie' style. But I don't accept that. I like my game stories, that should be painfully obvious by now, and I can't like a game if I can't relate to or understand the protagonist. Rubi is not a badass. A "badass" is something to aspire to, someone who can handle a situation. She's more like the female equivalent of 50 Cent as depicted in Blood On The Sand: thoughtless, insecure, thick as pigshit and quite, quite mad.

Not that being psychotic need preclude you from being an enjoyable character. Kratos from God of War, for example, or Tommy Vercetti from GTA: Vice City, both apparently lacking any kind of moral code and both fascinating enough to carry a game while still being fairly unrelatable. But even those two have their moments of humanity that help keep us interested - Tommy petulantly explaining that he likes his Hawaiian shirt; Kratos' exhaustively-explained tragic backstory that, while not excusing his actions, gives them something of a framing device. Rubi has no backstory and no apparent justification. Without those we're forced to come up with our own explanation for her actions, which for most of us will be "because she's a massive bitch."

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