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Top 10 Worst Character Customization Systems

VO: Dan Paradis

What are the lamest, most boring, most limiting and ugliest character creators or character customization options you’ve ever seen in a video game? Which creators are pointless, give you no choices or force you to make a monster for your avatar? Join us as we take a look at the some of the worst ones out there – for a variety of reasons. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna get weird.

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Top 10 Worst Character Customization Systems in Video Games


Creating your own personalized avatar is usually a treat, but with some games... well, things can take a turn for the worst real quick. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Worst Character Customization Systems in Video Games.

For this list, we’ll be examining those games which feature flawed character customization options and thus negatively impact the player’s game experience. From questionable graphical fidelity to a limited range of pre-fabricated faces, there’s more than one way to hurt the process of character creation.

#10: “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” (2015)

For all the game’s depth and promise of player gratification, the character creation stands out as among the most surprising yet meaningless of its features. Shortly after the opening moments of the game, the player’s character awakens in a hospital and is told their face needs to be changed for their own survival. Thus, we’re taken to what is essential a face modification screen, and players excited that they could customize their character's appearance as much as their loadout. However upon completing your character you find out … You’re still Snake. Or are you? We’re not going to spoil what this section means but we will say this: Hideo Kojima you are one magnificent bastard.

#9: “Umbrella Corps” (2016)

Sadly, this game’s concept of customization appears to have been doomed from the start. A spin-off of the core “Resident Evil” games, “Umbrella Corps” is an online tactical shooter that pits teams of mercenaries against one another. Said mercenaries can have some of their gear modified in-between matches, even being able to wear slightly unsettling facemasks of popular “Resident Evil” characters. Unfortunately, because the game is based around Umbrella Corporation mercenaries with generally consistent uniforms, the player’s options only extend so far. And that’s before getting how some items are locked to one’s player level.

#8: “GTA Online” (2013)

At once strange and limiting, the online avatar options for “GTA Online” bewilder us. Upon starting up the multiplayer portion of “Grand Theft Auto V”, players are greeted with a male and female avatar from which to choose. From there, the character creation commences in earnest... by having you then cycle through a pair of parents to determine what range of facial features your character will have. (It’s a novel concept but it’s too restrictive compared to a traditional system) If that weren’t baffling enough, the subsequent character tweaking screen only really focuses on the head and clothing of one’s avatar, leaving those interested in different body types out of luck.

#7: “Street Fighter EX3” (2000)

Why even tease the idea of character customization if it barely qualifies as such? This question came to mind when glancing at “Street Fighter EX3”, the final instalment of the “Street Fighter EX” series. The game offers among its modes Character Edit, which focuses on the new combatant Ace. Players can take Ace through a number of challenges to unlock new moves and powers, which can then be implemented into custom move sets for Ace. All well and good... until you consider that other characters can’t be similarly tweaked or modified and no other customization options for Ace are offered. It’s not hard to imagine players enjoying that kind of creative freedom.

#6: “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn” (2000)

While this sequel to the critically-acclaimed role-playing game “Baldur’s Gate” can be said to have done several things right, allowing for enjoyable character creation wasn’t one of them. For a start, “Baldur’s Gate II” is lacking in graphical fidelity, meaning characters already aren’t the most visually appealing to look at. However, this is made worse by the game’s limited pool of selectable portraits for one’s characters, as well as said portraits are those of already existing NPC’s in the game. When a game fails to provide adequate options for crafting one’s own distinct avatar, it makes engaging with the game that much harder.

#5: “Sunless Sea” (2015)

No sun, no surf... no options? Taking place in the same universe as the browser game “Fallen London”, this roguelike RPG operates on similar “choose-your-own-adventure” rules. To that end, it attempts to offer a range of selectable backgrounds and goals for one’s character, which are rather varied and intriguing. Alas, the same cannot be said of selecting a character’s appearance, which consists of picking from a small lineup of silhouetted portraits to serve as representation for the player. The barest of attempts to foster distinct playthroughs, this certainly dampens interest in the experience.

#4: “Tom Clancy’s The Division” (2016)

Right at the outset of this online-only third-person shooter, players are taken a character model modification screen that offers various heads, hair styles, and additional details for use. Certainly detailed and impressive in quality, these options sadly can’t be tweaked and changed any further, meaning it’s pre-made features for everyone. What’s worse, “The Division” doesn’t allow for body modification or deviation from standard male/female gender options, underserving a great deal of players who would undoubtedly have appreciated that freedom of choice. Take this lesson to heart, Ubisoft – it’s truly hard to argue against less restrained character creation options.

#3: “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” (2006)

“Fallout 3” and “Fallout: New Vegas” may have limits in terms of character customization, but it’s the 2006 game “Oblivion” that proves to be the greater offender. Amid an intriguing opening, the player is asked to craft their own character, a prisoner set to be released by Uriel Septim VII. While the nuanced and varied options in facial modification are appreciated, they ultimately come undone thanks to one detail: deviating from the default model leads to horrific creations. Many a player has bore witness to how extreme and utterly unbelievable some characters can become, which hurts suspension of disbelief and overall de-incentivizes player individuality.

#2: “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” (2015)

This just straight up seems pointless. As the sixth “Call of Duty” game developed by Treyarch, we expected “Black Ops III” to offer some kind of tweak to the existing gameplay. What we didn’t expect was the brief character selection screen that pops up before starting the campaign. It offers the choice of a male or female avatar and lets you pick between nine faces... and that’s it. No greater range of options, no control over specific facial features, just a handful of pre-made options. Though the customization for one’s Specialist in multiplayer is marginally better, the selection still isn’t very impressive.

#1: “Pokemon GO” (2016)

Highly successful at reinvigorating the “Pokemon” franchise and renewing public interest in the games, this mobile spinoff by Niantic nonetheless has a key shortcoming that leaves us frustrated. Starting off in “Pokemon GO” means being introduced to Professor Willow, who leads the player through the character creation process. Much to people’s chagrin, though, character creation consists solely of picking between a male or female character and swiping through minor variations on the same hats, pants, hair styles, and so on. Nothing in the way of precise modification is offered, save for control over the colour of one’s equipment and clothing. Considering how much “GO” diverges from “Pokemon” tradition in other ways, this is quite a shame.


Do you agree with our list? What’s your least favorite customization systems in games? For more content-rich Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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