• Nie Costa

Character Customisation | A Black Gamer Reviews

The majority of the Zoned Team are black. We love games and have played games since we were little bambinos. The first time I saw a gaming console I was hooked!

I am now in my late 20’s and my passion for gaming is stronger than ever. As I have grown, I have easily played hundreds of different games and have created hundreds of characters across a number of these games. I have noticed that some seem to, how can I say, cater better for the creation of black characters, so thought it would be interesting to review some more recent character creators starting with:

Monster Hunter

So, this character creator is decent, well when it comes to customising your players face anyway. It allows players to choose a pre-set, randomise a face or manually create one. You can change face shape, skin tone (which can be fine-tuned and even allows wrinkles), eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth and makeup. All fine. You can of course also change the hairstyle and facial hair, which is a joke. Now don’t get me wrong, to some, these options are fine but please, show me one black man you know who has any of these hairstyles. Okay there are some, but this is either due to them having a mixed background or through products and/or some form of hair altering device. Where are the dreadlocks, Afros, braids, buzz cuts, box fades, cornrows, PEPPERGRAINS FFS! Come on Capcom, We EXIST!

6.5 Out of 10

Next up Destiny 2

Yeah everyone knows Destiny 2’s character creator is magnificent [Tommy Lee Jones face], yeah its shit! But what about for black gamers? Yeah, it’s still shit! No sliders, no real customisation, no nothing. A couple of preset faces, skin colours… lip colours? Eye colours, markings and *sigh* hairstyles. Also, rubbish. One small concession, there are two “black” hairstyles but the rest…

4 Out of 10

Now, Dark Souls III

No one who plays any Dark Souls games or Bloodborne gives a damn about how their character looks, but it does have a character creator so, here goes. In Dark souls III, you can choose a Face Preset, which you could also do in the original 2 games. In the first Dark souls’ game, one of the Face Presets was by default black, but they opted to take out any black default facial preset for the third game. You can make your character black, but they always end up purple, looking like some man-raisin. I know, it is possible to get the shade of black a lot better but, it shouldn’t be so hard to pick different shades of black. And the hairstyles! Once again the saving grace for any black gamer when it comes to picking a hairstyle: The Bal’ head! You can also change your characters physique via presets and fine tune their features, but the character creator feels severely outdated and it takes ages to simply get your character to look like a healthy human.

5 Out of 10

Divinity Original Sin II’s

Character creator isn’t very good. The game itself is ridiculously underrated but the character creator leaves a lot to be desired. Its limited in that you can only chose from presets and there are not any sliders or options to fine tune your characters appearance. Once again, anybody who actually cares deeply about how their character looks in this game, in my opinion, is playing the wrong game, but some more options would have been nice. The majority of the preset faces themselves all have mainly European or Asian features (save a few) and the same goes for the hairstyles & the facial hair. A small positive, the descriptions for the skin colours always make me chuckle

6 Out of 10

NBA 2K20

Lastly, we have NBA 2K20. Now I don’t even play this game like that but I thought I would have a look to see what the character customisation was like for me as a black gamer and saying I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Not only did it have the widest variety of black hair styles I had seen in any game, it also had a plethora of different black skin tones, from Turf to Fuligin, as the developers at Larian so eloquently put it. It has a number of presets faces and also allows the player to fine tune their character even further, it even allows you to edit some hairstyles. I would love to see all developers include even a quarter of the black hair styles that are present in NBA 2k20. Whereas usually the options for black gamers often feels like an afterthought, NBA 2K20 went all out. And I know this is of course due to it being a game based on basketball but that’s no excuse.

8 Out of 10

Of course, this is all in harmless fun, I am not trying to make a statement or anything of the sort. I simply want more options for the characters I create in the games I love.


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