The best thing about playing an RPG or most games in general is having the opportunity to create your own character who will be representing “you” during your time with a game. The possibilities are literally endless. You can either create a likeness of you to play as in the game or you can create an entirely different character who looks nothing like you. It’s your choice. When you’ve got options at your disposal, there’s no telling how long you’ll spend on the character creation screen until you get your character just right.
I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition lately and the first day I got the game on launch day, I nearly spent an hour on creating my Inquisitor. I wanted to make her exactly how I envision her to be––pretty, a little scarred from years of battle, and a strong, capable woman. It took time to figure out little details like her eye color, face shape, makeup, hair, and other feature choices that go into creating your character. You want to be happy playing as the character you made. If you aren’t satisfied with the look of your character, then it’s going to distract you from enjoying the game.
The first time I ever played an RPG that allows you to create a character the way you want them to look, I didn’t think I’d spend so much time on the character creation screen. Staying on that screen takes just as much time as playing the actual game sometimes! In my experience, part of me is so excited to just dive right into the game that I sort of want to rush through the process. Then there’s the other part of me that knows I have to get my character done just right. I certainly don’t want to be stuck with an ugly, mishapened character unless you’re doing it for comedic reasons. When I play an RPG, I take the creation of my character very seriously.
Spending time creating any character I need to create in a game is kind of like playing dress up dolls but with faces. I’ve touched upon the dress up doll aspect of character customization before. You can switch out anything at any given time if you don’t currently like what you see, just as long as you don’t hit that A button to finalize the character you create. Don’t like the hair? Change the style. Don’t like the eye color? Choose another color. It gets even more extensive when some character creation screens allow you to choose what outfit you want your character to wear before you start the game.
Dragon Age doesn’t let you customize your armor or weapons until much later in the game (as long as you meet certain class and level requirements), but other games, like Saints Row, actually do let you customize your outfit after you create the face and body shape of your character. Saints Row The Third is one game that comes to mind when the character creation screen lets you choose from a variety of outfits your Saints character can wear, from the regular to the totally outrageous. I did spend a good amount of time cycling through every option available to me just to see what my Saints character would look like if she wore a chicken suit or dominatrix outfit. I did get a giggle out of it or just cringed when an outfit just looked completely bad on my custom character. Then again, the Saints Row series invites you to not take the game too seriously anyway.
Some might think character creation is an art in and of itself. Once you put the time and effort into creating your own personal character, you want to be able to stand back and view your playable character as a masterpiece. Okay, maybe that last statement is stretching things a little, but there’s a sense of pride in having created what you believe is the “perfect” character.
What’s fun about taking the time to make your character is how different each one is going to look compared to how someone else envisioned their character. No character in the same game you play is going to look exactly the same. It makes a character truly your own, it makes your gaming experience really personal, and checking out how your friend made their character for a game you’re both playing really tells you something about the player. Besides, where’s the fun in playing an RPG if everyone’s character looked the same? Flavor is the spice of life, as they say.
Do you spend hours on the character creation screen before starting a game? Are you immediately satisfied with the first character you create or do you have to scrap it all and start again?