Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 7:05 AM by Kimo Kuppe
Let’s face it all the good characters have already been made. And for that matter all the bad ones too. The only characters left to make are by the player who more often than not just makes a veiled reference to one kind of genitals or another or something that no doubt violates copyright infringement laws. Anyone who played City of Heroes back at launch no doubt remembers the legal demands from Marvel and DC over being able to create their property with the games robust character creation system. It was probably hard to claim they were ripping off a character like Hulk since they can’t hold the legal rights to oversized muscles; however you could also have big metal retractable claws that were Wolverines in all but name. Kind of a shame really since City of Heroes character creation was great and sometimes more fun that the game itself! Character creation works for MMO’s and other genres that you can immerse yourself in, fighting games, regular RPGs, whatever you want to count Saints Row as. It can be done great or it can be done crappily, I’ll share what I believe to be the best and the worst.
Saints Row 2
While Saints Row 3 touted steaming dollops of crazy for character customization closer inspection reveals that it’s actually much less than what we were given in Saint’s Row 2. SR3 had premade tops that included undershirt and blazer and beyond while SR2 let you change things down to such small details few people probably micromanaged their appearance as much. Understandable, us dorks aren’t much for fashion beyond throwing on the nearest meme-related t-shirt and those shorts that are a bit longer and look more like pants. It’s a look that dampens both eyeballs and panties alike. Saints Row 2 also offered something truly revolutionary: instead of gender as an either or option it was on a slider. The effect is… difficult to describe but nonetheless interesting and worth seeing to understand. I think Demons Souls/ Dark Souls had this too but I had a hard time creating a character that didn’t look like a sweaty elbow otherwise I’d have put it on this list.
Soul Calibur 4 and 5
Soul Caliburs one of the better fighting games out there to me and maybe that’s a reflection of just how bad I suck at fighting games. Still, it’s the one I played more than most outside of Super Smash Brothers and I actually tried to get good at the game as opposed to Marvel Vs Capcom which I just mashed buttons wildly as Megaman until I won. You can tell just how good a character creation system is by how many copywritten characters you can create. In the case of Soul Calibur 4 and Soul Calibur 5 you can actually make more bizarre characters like Mum-ra from Thundercats and virtually any Marvel or DC character. Google it! This can often lead to hilarious or insane fights to see. Which really should be the point all along.
City of Heros/Villains
I’ll admit right now that I only played City of Heroes for a few months shortly after launch and even then I only made it to level 14 or so when they let you have a travel power like super speed, flight, or super jumping. But really it was all worth it to tear around the city at sonic speed as Freakazoid. Mentioning this game is a bit of a moot point now that its dead but really it was a bold effort, world full of superheroes was golden MMO material and Marvel and DC weren’t doing anything with it at the time. They are now but it’s just not the same!
World of Warcraft
Yeah old WoW’s on top of the world. 8 years old and still top of the MMO market and… well sinking really. Its graphics were showing some age when it was NEW now that it’s been around for the better part of the past decade it’s really showing. Even with the new races and somewhat improved graphics there just aren’t that many options in the game. I guess it doesn’t matter too much what your character looks like under armor since you are always covered up and your armor, sans helmet and shoulder pads, are just painted onto your skin like pajamas. There’s only five things to alter upon character creation and they are generally just in regards to the head with the exception of skin tone, no size or height options. They claim this is done so you can tell a race from a distance but with the exception of the very smallest (goblins and gnomes) and the obscenely freakish (tauren males and possibly worgan and soon Pandas) most look pretty much the same.
The only really way to distinguish yourself is through your armor, and up until now you were at the mercy of whatever the best gear at the time was or if you were leveling then whatever you could find, resulting in atrocious clashes of colors and clothing that have been dubbed “Clownsuits.” Recently, however, they added a feature that lets you change the appearance of armor to look like other pieces of the same armor slot while keeping the original stats. It’s a good feature that had been done before and while fun is really a money sink to fluff the game. But like I said, it’s at least fun. In fact I made a costume so hideous that looking at it actually gave me a headache when I made it.
To me there’s no such thing as too many customizable options. Well maybe that’s not quite true otherwise I’d be better at modding and I am far too stupid for that! It’s a shame Phantasy Star Online 2 won’t come out here, it lets you really micromanage, even allowing you to determine the direction your tits point as a girl! This matters to them, and I guess I can’t judge since if I was given the option I’d sure as hell take advantage of it. And then in true internet fashion determine my favorite direction, decide it’s the superior look and then look down on anyone who said or did otherwise. I can only hope more games allow this sort of thing, my imagination, and the imagination of others far crazier than I demand it.
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