When playing a videogame, specifically a role playing game with a character customization system, is it possible to overdue it? Is it possible to give the player too many options?
Short answer: yes.
Short (and cryptic) answer: yes, but no.
I’ve been playing Dragon’s Dogma for a few days now and have had plenty of opportunities to explore the game’s exhaustive character customization system. “Exhaustive” is the keyword here: this might be the broadest, most complex system I’ve ever seen in a videogame, or at least in the last decade.
Now, I’m a total sucker for this kind of thing — I like to play dress-up with my heroes, I like to manage their features, and I want to put effort into their appearance.
So this game should be a dream-come-true for me, right?
Well, okay, it is, but there is a problem — a problem I never would have anticipated.
It went like this: I started up a new game and got to work fashioning the look of my character, and I decided to make him look like me. I’ve never tried this with other games because the customization options are always too limited in some way — this is the first game where I felt confident I could create a (more or less) accurate doppelganger. Once I got to work, however, I became overwhelmed by the options.
The thing is, I was overwhelmed by the options because their incredible range promised greatness, but only if I were willing to sift through every minute detail until I’d forged such greatness. This would require extensive decision making. Every character creation system requires that, of course, but none of them come close to the demands this game makes on your creativity — in the time span needed just to make one character, my decision making skills were being stretched to their limit.
In other words, the potential of the system was so staggering it started to stress me out.
Obviously, this isn’t really a complaint with the game so much as a delicious slice of irony pie. (And you know how much I love that. Goes great with sarcasm salsa and drama pretzels.) I guess that means it really isn’t possible to have too much customization in your game — just so long as you anticipate taking a break before wrapping up your avatar.
Thanks for reading and happy gaming.