Artizens, an Early Access RPG, makes a bold claim on its Steam store page. "Create the most customizable character ever and take on ferocious monsters with your friends online." Can you believe that? Sheer chutzpah! I don't have any friends.
As for the other claim, that I can create the most customizable character ever, I decided to see if they were at least being truthful about that.
Turns out, your character is in fact infinitely customizable, because you can draw all of its parts yourself. You begin as a wooden doll, armed with a bow, sword, and shield. Your first stop is the studio, where you can call up each individual piece of your body and use a painting tool to draw over them.
Since the Internet is all abuzz with Star Wars today, I decided to see if I could draw a stormtrooper and use it to take on ferocious monsters (alone). I began with the head and made a complete mess of it because I can't draw with the mouse, like, at all.
I tried again, and did a little better. Once my helmet was done, I started in on the body, painting the wooden parts white with black accents. Well, maybe accents is the wrong word. There is only one paintbrush and a line tool, which can both be adjusted for thickness.
I had to do some of it over, not realizing that arms and legs were divided into four parts that had to be "painted" separately, and once "finished" I couldn't find a way to go back and "repaint" them or make changes.
I was also sort of rushing, because currently there's no way to turn off Artizen's piano and flute music or even lower the volume. I discovered this by tapping the Escape key, which in every game ever made brings up the options, but in Artizen it simply drops you out of the game entirely without so much as an "Are you sure?" Oh, Early Access! You make me want to punch things sometimes.
I continue making art. I decide not to paint the bow and arrow—I'll just assume my stormtrooper took it off a dead Ewok. As for the sword and shield, I paint the shield black and turn the sword into a lightsaber, assuming he took it off a dead Ewok Jedi. No reason an Ewok can't be a Jedi, if they let that one long-necked dude be a Jedi.
Done! I've got a beautifully realized stormtrooper with an awesome, historically accurate Ewok lightsaber, and he looks amazing, except for the fact that I forgot to paint one of his hands and one of his upper arms isn't white but kind of gray and there are wooden things sticking out of his legs that I couldn't figure out how to erase and he looks absolutely terrible. Aside from those issues, beautifully realized.
In Artizens, the customization doesn't end when you're done painting a stormtrooper who looks like he's been microwaved. You can also choose whatever perks you want, provided you balance them with drawbacks. I looked through the list and found some appropriate choices.
I didn't notice until right this second I put in 'Cursed' twice, but let's face it, nothing good has ever once happened to a single stormtrooper. Satisfied I've been true to the fiction, I head into the woods and get into a brawl with a giant armadillo family. Let's just pretend it's a dewback or a bantha or some other Star Wars monster. While some guy watches silently—probably too awestruck by my incredibly detailed character—I do my best to murder the monster and its babies because they present a threat to the Empire.
It goes pretty well! I kill a couple armadillo babies, just in case they were hiding stolen Death Star plans, but the big one doesn't want to drop. Interestingly, as I fight, my carefully crafted and painted armor begins to fall off. Before long I'm back to being a wooden doll again. All that remains is one shin guard, two booties, and that arm I painted the wrong color.
Oh, well. What can you really expect from the fodder of the Empire? I killed two baby armadillos, and as long as their names were Owen and Beru, I think this was a fairly accurate representation of a stormtrooper's life.
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Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.