I really get into customizing my appearance in games, which means I’m often frustrated in typical RPGs because of the way your team ends up looking like scavengers who got dressed in the dark. By the end of the game you might finally have cool gear, but you’ll have spent most of the adventure looking goofy and mismatched.
Some games impose archetypes on you through your gear. Dark cloaks have bonuses to backstabbing and stealing and sneaking, while white robes boost (say) healing. But maybe I want to play a “Strider” sort of guy who is noble and good, but secretive? Maybe I want to wear white robes even though I’m evil? Maybe someone wants to play as an archer but they don’t want to run around half-naked? (Some people are funny that way.)
I really like the approach that newer MMOs are taking with gear, in that you can have one set of clothing that defines how you look, and another set of stuff that is your actual protective gear. This way you can set your heroes up to look cool without sacrificing performance. Movies get this right: Character designs look interesting and distinctive, and looking practical is a secondary priority.
There is a lot of cool gear in Dragon Age, although I was never happy with how my party looked. The hats are the worst. All hats in the game look silly. The game removes the hats during cutscenes, but most of the time your crew is going to go around looking like they just raided the kitchen and put random objects on their heads.
Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found here.