I love character creators in games. When they’re available, I always spend hours perfecting my character and tweaking every aspect of their appearance to get them looking just the way I want them to before I even start playing the game proper. That’s one of the reasons I was ecstatic to jump into The Outer Worlds prior to launch — the game has a detailed creator that lets you change things like your hairstyle, skin tone, and the size and positioning of your facial features. But after I had finished playing through the game, I couldn’t help but feel like the feature was a little redundant. You see, it seems like The Outer Worlds just couldn’t stand the sight of my mug.
The Outer Worlds is played in a first-person perspective, with some occasional third-person moments when in the inventory menu or idle. Unlike in later Fallout games where you can toggle between a first and third-person perspective in order to model new outfits and see what your character looks like, in The Outer Worlds you’re stuck looking at your gun most of the game. It’s somewhat understandable given that Obsidian wasn’t using a ready-made engine this time around and would have had to produce a whole new collection of third-person animations. Nevertheless, this meant that I couldn’t see the dashing gent I had created on my first run or any of the hell men that followed in my later playthroughs.
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Further frustrating my desire to look crisp was the lack of variety in the outfits I found while exploring the different hub worlds. On the whole, most of the outfits that I came across were chunky metallic armour sets that obscured every inch of the character I had so painstakingly created.
At first, I tried to explain away the abundance of helmets as some kind of clever commentary on how the clothes in The Outer Worlds were all designed to depersonalize the workforce, hiding any sense of individuality behind a cold corporate exterior. But that theory quickly fell apart as I remembered that most of the characters I had met throughout my journey had their faces on full display — all apart from an unfortunate moon-headed man I met on the Groundbreaker.
This issue also seemed to be a contagious one, spreading to my poor companions. The Outer Worlds has some amazing characters you can recruit, with some truly unique looks. But out of necessity, I ended up having to cover them head to toe in heavy armour to prevent them from dying in battle against a large alien Mantisaur. In doing so, I doomed them to an eternity behind an ugly helmet, as you are unable to unequip that armor slot.
Thankfully, there is a solution. It isn’t incredibly obvious, which is why you can find guides on how to take your helmet off on numerous sites. Upon entering the game’s settings, you can toggle helmet visibility on or off, without actually removing them from your companions or your character.
The Outer Worlds is great fun to play and the game more than makes up for this lack of cosmetic options and third-person camera view with its focus on skill specialization and flaws. But still, I never really associated my character with the model I had created earlier on, which feels like a shortcoming in a game that makes such an effort elsewhere to prioritize roleplaying. The only conclusion I can draw is that The Outer Worlds truly despises my odious, revolting countenance.