Tower of Fantasy and Saints Row are two starkly different experiences. One’s a free-to-play game with a sci-fi anime aesthetic and MMO elements. The other’s a full price, crime-riddled reboot of a beloved open-world series.
Though worlds apart, it’s curious that both games – launching within a month of each other – go above and beyond in an identical department: character customization. Both have a bevy of sliders to help you sculpt the cheekbone-to-jawline combo of your dreams, and eagerly welcome any attempt to craft your perfect monstrosity with open arms.
Despite these similarities, though, Tower of Fantasy and Saints Row adopt wholly different approaches to character customization. One game can excel in an area where the other falters, and vice versa. So why don’t we have a look at each game’s wealth of custom options to see which is the king of all (character) creation?
First up is Tower of Fantasy. This recently launched PC and mobile game is free-to-play and features a massive open world littered with quests, stories and collectibles. It’s no surprise the game’s drawn more than a few comparisons to Genshin Impact, of which it is fairly derivative.
Whereas its most direct inspiration features a premade roster of heroes, however, Tower of Fantasy lets you customize the main character’s appearance. This Wanderer, as they’re officially known, can be either male or female. They can also don a decent variety of outfits, accessories and decals.
You can adjust the size and scale of certain body parts. The various sliders don’t quite let you mold an unspeakable, Elden Ring-esque horror, but do encroach on the border of that territory. Tower of Fantasy places a great emphasis on making your character look aesthetically pleasing. That extends to the choice of your hero’s skin color, most of which are realistic. Sorry, but you can’t make yourself a glowy neon pink. Sad.
On the flipside, you can get your anime cosplay fix with a pretty large selection of accessories. Scouter-esque eyepieces, band-aids, oversized headphones and more make an appearance here. And you can unlock even more through regular play.
As far as mobile-first games go, Tower of Fantasy’s character customization tools far outclass its contemporaries. The only major gripe I have here is that, as a free-to-play game, it’s found a way to make re-customization a hoop you have to jump through. You’ll either need to use a voucher item, or spend some of the Dark Crystal currency in order to fiddle with your face in the mid-game.
Saints Row is a series that’s pretty much always been known for its incredible character customization, with each game doing its best to improve upon its predecessor. Developer Volition’s penchant for the bizarre hasn’t changed much in the reboot, as the game’s free-to-download Boss Factory app has already taught us pre-release.
The new Saints Row certainly has a more grounded visual style than Tower of Fantasy, but its character creator seems to have missed the memo on that. As your Boss isn’t limited by the confines of gender, you have free rein to mix and match body type, size, musculature and voice.
This, in turn, allows you the freedom to make your character as elegant or eldritch as possible. And like previous games in the series, you’re able to completely alter your Boss’s appearance whenever you feel like a change. That’s a clear leg up on Tower of Fantasy, which sadly has its free-to-play trappings tied to customization.
Which reigns supreme?
Both Tower of Fantasy and Saints Row offer character customization that’s a cut above the usual fare, albeit in very different ways. Tower of Fantasy perhaps features the most advanced anime-styled creator we’ve seen since Code Vein. And in the free-to-play space, you’ll be hard pressed to find customization tools quite as good as this.
Saints Row’s advancements are expected, as it’s holding up the series’ tradition of being creatively wacky. Still, it far outranks character creation suites found in other open world games, like Cyberpunk 2077.
Between the two, though, Saints Row definitely has the edge. Fans have already sculpted Bosses that are eye-catching, outrageous, or both. And I appreciate the series hasn’t lost its appetite for swathes of out-of-control sliders. That said, while Tower of Fantasy is more limited overall, it’s still no slouch. And if you’ve been after customization with an anime bent, you should definitely check it out.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.