Some games give us a predetermined character, with a carefully designed appearance.
Other games take a different approach, and allow you to customise your character’s looks, using sliders to adjust facial features and body shape, letting you blend presets, and add accessories.
It’s the latter type that we’re discussing today. Which games feature the best and the most flexible character customisation systems? Let’s take a look.
To ensure impartiality, we have arranged our picks in an alphabetical order.
Black Desert Online
|Short game description:||Action-based, high fantasy multiplayer game about the war between kingdoms.|
Black Desert Online’s character creator is easily one of the most impressive on the market, especially where fine control over details is considered. Few games allow the user to adjust things like haircut.
Usually once you select the -do, it’s static and you can’t do anything about it other than pick a different one. Black Desert Online? It allows you to move your hair around, change its length and generally model it based on a preset. That freedom extends to other features of your prospective character as well. And the game’s beautiful graphics make all but the wildest creations look incredible.
The one potential downside, depending on your preferences, is that characters made in this creator all look like potential Final Fantasy cast members.
|Short game description:||A hunter suffering from a deadly illness fights their way through a city of Gothic and Lovecraftian horrors.|
“Extensive character’s appearance customisation” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind upon being asked about Bloodborne, and yet this game has it as one of its features.
The game has so many sliders for so many separate aspects of a character’s appearance, that it allows a creative player to go wild and create incredibly monstrous humanoids as well as virtual cosplays of real and fictional people.
Better still, like FromSoft’s Dark Souls games it has a “Similar Face” feature, creating new faces based on presets and things you’ve already created.
You can make a character much scarier than anything in the game, or play as, say, the Joker.
|Short game description:||Design your own superhero and solve crime in a setting inspired by the HERO System tabletop role-playing game.|
Don’t be fooled by Champion’s Online cartoonish aesthetic. The character creation in this game is a gateway to creating some of the wildest comic book rejected concepts you could imagine.
You start by customising you body’s dimensions: nothing’s stopping you from making a fantasy dwarf, a towering Stickman/Slenderman mash-up, or a Liefeldian overly muscular character with tiny feet and chest the size of a car. And that’s before we get into facial features, the texture of your character’s skin, and numerous options for your hero’s superhero costume. From underwear through formal suits to leotards and various armour pieces, you have an incredible freedom in dressing your champion up. And then there are accessories, some of which can also be layered.
One could spend hours in the character creation screen, recreating their favourite heroes, or creating something original. Maybe you’ll discover an accessory which gives you a new idea and makes you start from scratch to make it suit your new vision? Should you visit the in-game night club Caprice, you’ll see just how many possibilities there are, although the game is past its prime as far the number of players is concerned.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
|Short game description:||A dragon stole your heart marking you as its chosen. Now you have to slay giant monster throughout the kingdom and grow strong enough to confront the draconic beast again.|
The character creation in Dragon’s Dogma lets you customise the presets to an astonishing extent and is flexible enough for you to be able to recreate Geralt, or maybe Jon Snow, and make them live in this existentially bleak fantasy land.
There are plenty of sliders to adjust the facial features, many hairstyles or facial hair shapes. If you pick the right preset and fiddle around, you’ll be able to create interesting virtual cosplay of famous figures.
The character creation doesn’t end with just appearance. The size and weight of your avatar directly influences their physical abilities. If you want an agile and tireless scout capable of hanging onto monsters’ hides for a long time, you’d better make someone short and light. If you instead prefer someone very hard to unbalance and capable of carrying a lot of loot then you should make your Arisen tall and heavy.
Dragon’s Dogma is also probably the only game with a preset dedicated to letting the players play as Guts from the ‘Berserk’ manga.
|Short game description:||Emerge into a post-nuclear wasteland in search of your kidnapped child, found new settlements, learn about the current state of the world.|
Fallout 4’s character creation is terrifyingly robust. In addition to the quite uncanny degree to which the characters’ (you get to design both parents of the unlucky child, although you only play as one) facial structure can be changed, there’s much more to tweak still.
There is plenty of make-up designs, tons of various blemishes and scars, and numerous hairstyles and facial hair shapes. You could make virtually anyone’s likeness if you spend enough time adjusting the details. The celebrity faces Fallout 4 community managed to recreate include Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, and even the late Sir Christopher Lee.
Monster Hunter World
|Short game description:||Travel to an untamed island full of fantasy creatures on a hunt for a gigantic monster. Slay and capture huge beasts and craft your equipment out of their parts.|
Character creation in Monster Hunter World, much like in many other games, is based around presets, but it’s very easy to stray far from the pre-generated faces. The creator is quite simple to get the hang of, and, while lacking sliders, allows for quite a lot.
The community has taken with aplomb to recreating characters from around the popculture or their own faces, with some interesting results.
It was also a stroke of genius for the developers to include lighting changes in the creator. You can pick out of three schemes at any time. This alleviates the problems of many other creators. Characters often look great in the featureless void of creation, but in the actual game this often changes. Being able to see a character under different lights is brilliant and helpful.
There’s also a second character creator, dedicated to designing your character’s catlike Palico companion, including fur colour and pattern, as well as shape of the tail.
Saints Row (esp. 3 & 4)
|Release year:||2011 (SR3), 2013 (SR4)|
|Short game description:||Open-world urban mayhem engine, with a gang-themed storyline and lots of cheeky humour and self-distance.|
Many a character creator only let you design your avatar’s face, which is then bolted onto a standardised body. Saints Row doesn’t do that. At character creation you have a triangular slider of “slim”, “fat” and “muscular”, and a pointer you can place anywhere between the three.
If you want to play a rotund character, you can, a slim one? No problem. The game will have little problem adjust all available clothes (really, all of them) to match your avatar’s model. Better yet, after the character creation you can still easily edit your character, including their outfits. The game has a staggering selection of clothes, and you can use any (or none) of them.
You can also, of course, customise the character’s face. Due to the game’s graphics leaning away from realism you’re not going to see much detail, but it sits comfortably in the space between a cartoonish aesthetic and Grand Theft Auto’s style.
|Short game description:||16th century weapon masters fight over powerful swords for their own reasons.|
SoulCalibur VI’s custom character creator had been the talk of the gaming side of the Internet for weeks, and with good reason.
The things people have been able to create using it, even before mods came into play, boggle the mind. Nightmarish renditions of Kirby and Sonic, more faithful recreations of characters from popculture… The secret lies in an extremely flexible accessory and clothing systems, which have tons of diverse pieces, all configurable regarding their position, rotation, colour etc.
It’s quite similar to Champions Online’s creator, but with much better graphics and even more freedom. There was even a person who used Voldo’s bizarre fighting style to make a character who transforms into a Magicarp.
|Release year:||2000 (the first instalment) 2018 (the latest instalment)|
|Short game description:||Create your own wrestler, or choose one of the sport’s legends, and duke it out on the ring to the enjoyment of the crowds.|
Given American wrestling’s propensity for creative outfits and outlandish personas it no wonder that a game aiming to simulate that show/sport gave the players a way to create their own heels or faces.
Creating Super Mario’s eponymous character is just the beginning of the journey. Just look at Griffin and Justin McElroy’s Monster Mania from a previous edition of the WWE 2K series and see just what kind of monstrosities and weirdos you can make with disturbingly little effort.
|Short game description:||You must rebuild XCOM and free humanity from the alien overlords. Lead turn-based guerrilla operations and build a network of contact with other resistance cells.|
A part of the XCOM experience is customising your soldiers to make them look like your friends, foes, and characters from popculture….and then trying to keep them alive during very deadly missions.
While the first XCOM by Firaxis was decent on that front, the sequel goes all in. Every armour has several variants and you can mix and match between sleeves, chestguards, and trousers as you see fit. You can pick from a stunning variety of headwear, lower and upper face accessories, tattoos. In the case of your weapons and armour you can customise the paint patterns, the list of which include militaristic camo as well as smiley faces or hearts, if you prefer to make love, not war.
There is also a greater selection of faces, hairstyles, and facial hair, you can select an attitude which would define some animations… And then there are fully supported mods, which introduce even more accessories, and voice packs ripped from movies and other games.
That’s our top ten games with great character customisation, some of which may appeal to you. Whether you want to create a facsimile of yourself, your friends, kill monsters as Bart Simpson, or have a good creator to visualise your tabletop RPG character, you’re likely going to find something to suit your needs.