This character creator is the best we’ve seen – and you don’t need the game to try it

Customise to your heart's content

Sometimes one of the best things about playing an RPG is spending hours in the character creator, giving life to the badass version of yourself that has so far only existed in your head, or creating an entirely new person to send on the adventure you’ve laid out for them. It’s a feature that I could be content using, without taking the character into the actual game. I’ve often done this with The Sims, creating a family and building a home without actually putting the game into play mode before closing it down, satisfied with how my time has been spent.

Character creators have come a long way over the years, and the increasingly deep levels of customisation have become a real selling point for some players. This highly detailed customisation is actually one of the big selling points of the not-yet-released Korean MMO Black Desert. The game’s developers, Daum, are launching its final closed beta on February 18th but in the meantime they’ve released the game’s character creation mode as a free standalone download.

This is quite a clever move in terms of enticing people into playing the game; you’re much more likely to want to play the game if you’ve spent time creating a character for it, although right now it’s the most interesting part of the game for me. But a detailed standalone character creator is also a useful tool for writers who want to see their characters come to life, or artists who like to sketch with a reference.

The creator is definitely impressive and initially a little daunting but I can’t deny it has more annoying restrictions than I expected it to. Rather than creating a character from scratch you’re presented with a template whose gender and initial appearance is generated depending on the character class you choose.

Although you can alter this template in larger ways such as hairstyle and colour down to more minute details like brow ridge depth and eyebrow angles it still feels like your character’s overall face shape isn’t able to deviate all that far from the original template without creating something that looks incredibly strange. For example, when it comes to creating a male wizard you’re not really given the option to make him look young as his wrinkles are part of his template; the best you can really do is make him look like a badly botoxed Gandalf. I also found the skin to be distractingly flawless.

When you really dig in you could spend hours upon hours changing every possible feature on your character’s face down to their pupils but you are left feeling that you’ve not been given the freedom to create a truly unique person. Perhaps with a little more patience and commitment to micro-tweaking I could find myself with a more satisfying character despite these limitations because it is undoubtedly one of the most robust character creators I’ve encountered. Perhaps it’s just a case of one of its biggest strengths, exhaustive detail, being one of its biggest weaknesses.

Visually, any character you create will be stunning and the creator has to be credited for actually achieving appealing hair design; it’s so nice to be able to create a character whose hairstyle doesn’t look like a block on their head and hair colour doesn’t look flat and lifeless.

The character creator’s file size is 6GB and downloadable here, and your creation can be ported over to the final game if you decide to buy it. Give it a go if you’ve got hours to while away.