Character Customization: Important?
Very, I feel a game is lacking without it
25.9% (88)
25.9% (88)
Yes, but only on a case by case basis
46.2% (157)
46.2% (157)
I enjoying having it there, but no biggy
22.9% (78)
22.9% (78)
Its not that important
4.1% (14)
4.1% (14)
It takes away from the game
0.6% (2)
0.6% (2)
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Poll: Best Character Customization in a Game

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Hello fellow Escapists, your friendly neighborhood Sister of Battle here, on of my few posts thus far on the Gaming Section:

So I'll be honest here fellow Escapists, my favorite part of almost any game, and a key reason I prefer most WRPGs over JRPGs, is character customization, whether armor color in Halo 1 to the complete facial control in Fallout and Elder Scrolls to the bodily alteration in City of Heros, games get more personal the more you can tinker with. So I have to ask, what game out there do you prefer the character customization in (games like Second Life don't count, they're glorified chat rooms), either due to shear volume of options or the specific ones chosen. And if you find the amount normally available to be far to limited (like me) then add some options you'd like to see.

I personally can't choose because while I'm a fan of WRPGs, I don't typically have the disposable income required to buy a lot of them, so free games that have them are something I try and hunt like a blood hound, so more recommendations would be greatly treasured.

Forgot to say: I personally find most games lacking in the ability to change your physical body type, most bodies are either stick thin girls or hulking men. or just kinda blah men and women.

probably the best customization Ive seen was in champions online, you can make almost any kind of hero you want

Case-by-case. Some games need it, others really don't. Some WRPGs, for example, are greatly improved by character creation; take any Bethesda game, for example. JRPGs, like the Final Fantasy series, almost never have character creation, but FF7 is one of the highest-rated games of all time.

So it depends on the developer and game.

Gotta go with Oblivion myself, so many races/classes to pick from and you can mix and match the armour types, unlike in Fallout 3 - the Wasteland Of The Onesies.

I love character customization, even if you just customize how a preset character looks it's still a nice feature to have, I prefer to be able to create one from scratch though. Really helps make the experience feel like your own, and immerses you into the game, to me anyway.

As for my vote for best character customization. Gonna have to go with Saints Row 2, with all the options given, there is almost an endless amount of ways to make the character your own, including being able to choose a voice actor. (Cockney Gang Leader FTW!)

Speaking of character customization, for a game like this not to have it, just seems criminal.

Really disappointed with that, sure you can choose from 3 of the defaults and customize them a little and like I said that's a nice feature, but I feel they really dropped the ball by not giving players the ability to make their own heroes.

oblivion without a doubt but i feel the need to mention saints row 2 also

I loved city of heroes customization.

Umm....idk, not real big on ones with sliders, while they can be VERY useful if u know how to use them, i can never make anything I like.

As for customization itself, i think it is a VERY nice feature and am kinda disappointed that so many rpg's are kinda lacking on it.

Worgen:
probably the best customization Ive seen was in champions online, you can make almost any kind of hero you want

I really wanted to like Champions Online because of the ability to alter body structure, but then I hit the costume section *shrugs* I'm just not a Super Hero kinda girl I guess.

I'd have to pick saints row 2, pick you character how they walk talk and dis people, I've yet to find a character generator that feels so complete.

As much as I love creating my own character it's not something that works for every game. It all depends on the game :)

I think of two things when I think of customization. Appearance and abilities. Appearance is nice, but it needs to be streamlined. I like to be able to pick from a nice variety of presets and then tinker with them. If I have to alter the size of the cheeks and other features blind, I'm afraid I'll end up with a Frankenstein monster looking hero. Not an ideal look.

But I really like being able to choose my own abilities. Be it mixing and matching abilities on my soldiers in Final Fantasy Tactics, or selecting from huge lists of abilities in KOTOR, I like having options.

I do really like customization. The ME series, Dragon Age, and others are much better because of the customization you're allowed. One thing I'd like to say is that despite it's short comings I did like how your actions affected what your character looked like in the Fable series. Not really sure if you'd consider it customization but having scars and muscle mass based on what you do and how you act in the world really added to the immersion for me.

I hate to be obvious, but The Sims series? :p

I love character customisation. It takes me longer to decide on what hairstyle to use on a character than massive moral decisions to make for my toon! And it's not always just about making them look hot (*cough* Forsaken World *cough*) but making them unique to you and the style in which you evolve the character throughout the game.

AdeptaSororitas:

Worgen:
probably the best customization Ive seen was in champions online, you can make almost any kind of hero you want

I really wanted to like Champions Online because of the ability to alter body structure, but then I hit the costume section *shrugs* I'm just not a Super Hero kinda girl I guess.

I was able to do all sorts of things with the costumes, really there is so much it can be hard to know where to start, you can do powered armor, costume tights, jeans and a tshirt, a top hat and tux, its almost endless

Worgen:

AdeptaSororitas:

Worgen:
probably the best customization Ive seen was in champions online, you can make almost any kind of hero you want

I really wanted to like Champions Online because of the ability to alter body structure, but then I hit the costume section *shrugs* I'm just not a Super Hero kinda girl I guess.

I was able to do all sorts of things with the costumes, really there is so much it can be hard to know where to start, you can do powered armor, costume tights, jeans and a tshirt, a top hat and tux, its almost endless

Still, I guess I don't like the aesthetic.

The Saints Row 2 character customisation is pretty great.
You can make an overweight red-headed woman with a Michael Caine-ish voice, who also wears a chicken suit and duel-weilds SMGs.
Madness, I tell you.

I love customizing things, but I understand that it's not appropriate for some games (but a lot of games can use it). Even little customization options like in Crysis is interesting to me.

So far, the best character customization I've seen is White Knight Chronicles'. You can change looks, height, weight, muscle, voice, and pretty much all the basics. I'm talking about physical customizations. Second favorite one would be Dragon Age.

But I always have a recurring problem. Whenever I customize my character and I start the game, I realize my character doesn't look EXACTLY how I thought it looked during the customization. For example, for my first Dragon Age run, I accidentally created a character with exaggerated cheek bones. It looked fine to me before but once the cutscenes kicked it, I didn't quite like it. And believe it or not, it bothered me so much that I restarted the game from scratch.

On the other hand, stuff like DA where you're allowed to customize your strength, defense and such kinda make me feel uncomfortable because I feel like I'm screwing up my character's default stats with my own ideas of "more useful character". For example, when Alistair was just an NPC, I think he was more useful than when I was able to control him and customize him. But maybe its just me.

AdeptaSororitas:

Worgen:

AdeptaSororitas:
I really wanted to like Champions Online because of the ability to alter body structure, but then I hit the costume section *shrugs* I'm just not a Super Hero kinda girl I guess.

I was able to do all sorts of things with the costumes, really there is so much it can be hard to know where to start, you can do powered armor, costume tights, jeans and a tshirt, a top hat and tux, its almost endless

Still, I guess I don't like the aesthetic.

could be, but I have seen a few space marines running around in it

One of the best character creators I've ever used would be in either Oblivion or Saints Row 2.

Oblivion let you customize almost every aspect of your physical appearance as well as your class and skills. Saints Row has even more choices for physical customization, but there is no class to choose from.

SR2 allows for some hilarious creations.

I haven't bought either of the Witcher games yet purely because of the lack of customization.

Scratch that, it's certain types of customization that are lacking that bug me.

It's the developers basically saying "OK, here's this hero, he's already got his own backstory, voice, and personality and style (because we're so much more awesome than you and our character is cooler than anything you could make), now FUCKING ROLE-PLAY!"

In ROLE-PLAYING GAMES (people seem to forget that's what RPG stands for; instead when they hear those three letters they demand an Action-Math game) customization is an absolute must for me. In action games such as Just Cause 2 or Tomb Raider, having a fixed, unchangeable protagonist is fine because it's ultimately their adventure and story. But in a ROLE-PLAYING experience? I need to create a character to role-play as rather than have one thrust in my face, because this is MY story.

Mouldy Cheese:
I hate to be obvious, but The Sims series? :p

I think that definitely has to be the winner for character customization. Body and face, clothes, hair, makeup, job, personality traits, even favorite color.

I enjoyed Dragon Age's a lot too. Mostly how you could decide what your personality was like through responses. I hadn't played a game like that before, I found it wonderfully involving.

Being able to customize a game is what really draws me in. I rarely will play a game that doesn't allow any sort of variation.

Actually, if you're talking about just physical character customization, then wrestling games probably have the best. A roommate of mine had one of them and the customization just went on and on and on. You could customize body height, weight, muscular definition...everything. It took me nearly an hour just to make one character, and that was just his appearance.

Aesthetically? Saints Row 2 had the best character customisation of any game I've ever played. It was great. You had oodles of outfits, complete with colour selections, you could choose your race, voice, walking style, and change your face and body shape in infinity billion different ways.

In terms of customising your actual character and play style...Hmm...I'm not even sure what the best of those would be, because I can think of a fair few. Actually, come to think of it, a few old school online MUDs come to mind. They have such a wide scope of abilities and different paths you can choose that you can do just about whatever you want. Hell, you can even forgo combat altogether and just be a craftsman or fisherman.

I can't pick just one, no matter how much I want. But here's the reasoning:

Body (neck down) - Champions Online
I spent more time and had more fun in the character creator than I did actually playing it. The tweaking and fine tuning means you can make pretty much any body type you like with a wide array of aesthetic choices.

Facial - Oblivion
At face value Oblivions' character customisation doesn't feel all that deep. But I after exploring the options and thanks to a mod for precision tweaking (more out of necessity so I didn't end up with a truly ugly character) I found that you can pretty much do anything with it. I can give my character a number of traits and with some clever tweaking you can simulate nationalities and skin tones normally seen.

Over All - Saints Row 2
I felt that Saints Row 2 really shines in its customisation. Sure the graphics aren't brilliant, but I had a great time playing with sliders to get a desired look. In the end you really can create almost any character you want and you can have fun doing it.

Saints Row 2 has the best clothing customization I've ever seen-I think I've spent at least 4 hours playing dress-up-but the character customization had so many variable I ended up only changing a few minute details on each character because I was completely bewildered as to what each slider did.

DA2's character customization was a bit more user-friendly, even if that extends only to Hawke.

I'm going with D&D I Get to set my characters skin tone, Hair type in any way, Hair Length, Hair Color to the exact shade, Any scar in any way, The Exact weight, Height, Age, Weapon they use, Add small custimuzations to the weapon if I feel like it, And Much more. With plenty of races to pick from and classes and even then if we have the right DM you can Change those or add some too.

I had a lot of fun with CoH and Champions Online, but for something more down-to-earth and with less spandex, I actually really liked Guitar Hero World Tour's character and instrument customizations.

If it's an RPG, yes, very If not, no, unimportant. If it's not a game hinging on immersion, then there isn't much need for it.

saints row 2 defiantly has the best character customization as of now but saints row 3 will probably be better

For some games, it's good. For others, it isn't.

I think that for games where you tell, basically, your own story (Oblivion, Fallout 3, etc.), it's good, because it allows you to create a character and then tell a story based on what YOUR CHARACTER would do. In Fallout 3, I once created a character who was balding (he wore a baseball cap to cover it), had Gordon Freeman-like facial hair and glasses. He was more of a talker than a fighter, and I actually enjoyed playing as him than my previous character, who was the typical badass, minigun-wielding killer. Would The Sims have been as much fun if you could only use a pre-made Sim? I didn't think so.

However, in games that tell the specific story of a specific character (Half-Life 2, Penumbra: Overture, Assassin's Creed, Gears of War, Halo, etc.), it wouldn't make any sense (to me, anyway) to be able to create a character. A specific character is great for a single-player driven, story-focused narrative. Would the Splinter Cell games have been the same if the protagonist was self-created? Or if Half-Life 2 wasn't headed by Gordon Freeman, but instead some green-haired, goofy looking abomination? Or if Halo's protagonist was somebody you created? I didn't think so.

However, I think there's room in both categories for character creation to be either implemented or not added. A forge-your-own-destiny RPG can be great with a specific character. A single-player focused game with a specific, linear story can be great with character customization.

I also think that character customization (from full creation to topic additions) can be implemented in well into multiplayer games. That's why I don't mind hats in TF2. It's a way to make each specific player's class their own, and doesn't destroy balance. (However, unlockable/buyable weapons do kill balance, which is why I'm against them.) I mean, does a guy with a lime green hat really destroy the game THAT much? Players adding their face in Rainbow 6 Vegas didn't do anything to balance, but it did add emotional attachment to the mass of polygons and code that was his/her character.

Well, I guess that's about everything I can say on this subject.

EVE Online's new-ish character creator is balls to the wall awesome if you're into that kind of thing. Pretty much everything else pales in comparison.

Saints Row 2. Show me another damn game where you could give a morbidly obese lady a cockney male voice. And how about a mexican guy with a lady voice? How about freddy krueger with a british accent? All of these combinations plus probably millions more are available in SR2. I have yet to see another game with this much customization. You can also change clothing colors and if you don't like your character shape or voice or even personality, you can go to a plastic surgeon at any time and change every option that you got in the character editor at the beginning of the game. So yeah, the customization fucking rules.

I think 99% of character customization in games is trivial. Take the Elder Scrolls game of your choice: setting your character's race, class, etc. basically does nothing to how the world reacts to you - it just changes what powers you have. Old-school RPGs do it a little better when setting Int/Cha/Wis actually changes what dialogue options you have.

To my mind, the best-implemented character customization system ever was Saints Row 2. It worked for me through a combination of mind-boggling depth and almost complete superfluousness. I played through half the game barely acknowledging its existence and not suffering for doing so, but once I got to the later stage of the game and had oodles of money spare, I quickly took to spending ludicrous amounts of time traipsing back and forth across the city looking to put new outfits together. The mechanicals effects of wearing certainly clothing were so low that the process was completely divorced from optimization. Whereas most RPGs make you choose your armor carefully to avoid being fricasseed by the next boss, SR2 just let you run however the fuck you wanted to. To the day, it remains the only character customization system I've really gotten into.

Worgen:
probably the best customization Ive seen was in champions online, you can make almost any kind of hero you want

Download City of Heroes and you will eat those words... So much tinkering to be had.....

OT: Saints Row 2 had a large amount of customisation if you unlock it.

The customisation in dragon age origins is good in that if you are of different lineage you get different options throughout but you cannot really change your appearence too much.

So the question OP is that is it Body modification you want or is it interaction differences you're after? Cuz if its the former you already have said it.

If its the latter. Tell me when you find one that does it well!

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