Launching in October 2019, this action role-playing FPS title from Obsidian Entertainment is really out there. Yeah?
The Outer Worlds
This was the big deal of the moment at the end of 2019. But now the dust has settled, even after the recent Nintendo Switch release, what’s going on?
Although IGN handed the title 8.5/10 and praised its inventiveness from the likes of Bethesda’s Skyrim, we’re a bit wishy washy on it.
The Outer Worlds is a good video game. But it’s also weirdly clunky.
We downloaded the game from Xbox Game Pass and duly hurled ourselves into it. And were surprised by various things—but not always in a good way.
The plot? Okay, it’s 2355! You’re lost in space after your colonist ship trip to the deepest points of the galaxy goes awry.
Now you must deal with the Halycon Holdings Corporation on a lonely planet. One where rival factions vie for power. And you can pick the path you wish to take, kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.
Right… first off, it’s an action RPG with a first-person perspective (FPS). The open world element is actually pretty restrictive—a sort of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword type linear path develops.
And what struck is right away is how it’s essentially a hybrid being between Fallout and Skyrim. Just in a more contained world.
Again, IGN indicated the title deviates from those two and plays out its ideas as a homage (rather than a copy). But we can’t quite agree with that.
The game also looks bad at times—especially when you’re outdoors. Interiors are generally to a high standard, it’s just a lot of time is spent trekking outdoors. And it’s really noticeably poor.
The graphical side isn’t something that bothers us in gaming, but it’s why we’re suggesting it looks like a game from a previous generation.
To counterbalance that, there’s a strong soundtrack. It has a Vangelis quality at times, particularly the Greek composer’s work on Blade Runner.
Pretty marvellous, eh? And whilst that ramps up the atmosphere, the location’s lifeless NPCs hinder its immersive capabilities.
Early on, you’re in a town called Edgewater. Obsidian sticks over your activities there a sound effect of crowd murmur.
Yet there are barely any NPCs in the region. And the ones you do find just stand about chatting to each other and don’t change location—ever.
It’s oddly lifeless as an experience. And, also, the type of thing you’d expect from a game around 2005.
These attempts at ramping up a sense of unique character fall flat elsewhere.
The satirical elements we felt were ripped straight from Fallout—the whole dystopian humour cartoons about corporate propaganda. It’s just not clever as it’s obvious where the idea is from.
That theme continues for some of the game’s trailers.
For us, it was difficult to play the game without thinking of other landmark titles that came long before it.
This feels like a No Man’s Sky scenario. On paper, the idea must have looked fantastic. But the end product is sort of underwhelming.
We’re going about this as it’s just with a sense of disappointment we found The Outer Worlds to deliver such a derivative experience.
Yes, it’s a decent game—good, even! Very engaging at its best moments. But it flags far behind its inspirations for entertaining gameplay.
There’s even one section where you descend into a building with mechanical beings you have to take out. Exactly like a rather thrilling dungeon from Bethesda’s classic.
The RPG elements are arguably its best moments. Although that often involves long conversations with locals who provide you with quests.
It’s these sections that remind us of games of recent generations. Weird close up encounters with odd lip syncing and voice acting.
But you complete the NPCs quests to get experience, which helps you advance on your skill set. This determines the path you take through the game.
Here’s a sample we nabbed from someone’s YouTube channel.
As with Skyrim, you also get a “follower” who supports you on your various adventures. Those typically involve wiping out enemies you come across.
The battle system takes a bit of getting used to (it’s actually very clunky at times, too), but can also be rather satisfying.
A third-person camera angle would have been welcome, but isn’t there. So you’re always stuck in your FPS view.
As you advance, you become more accomplished and have fewer problems taking out enemy bases and completing quests. But death is a common occurrence early on as you encounter powerful monsters.
Then it’s back to trekking (or fast tracking) across the odd looking, lifeless environment to do another quest.
We must say, The Outer Worlds feels like a remaster of a non-existent original. One overhauled to pay homage to its tenth anniversary, or some such.
It’s divided opinion, sure, as some gamers really like it. And the press provided generally favourable reviews.
But we’re just surprised the open world you’re in is so restricted. It’s often empty and uninvolving and gameplay is nothing you haven’t seen before.
The Outer Worlds was hyped up with an expensive marketing campaign and gaming media coverage. It was the big deal of the moment. But it delivers little to make it memorable.
It’s good—and a challenge you may well enjoy—but it’s a rather clunky experience that lacks character and panache.
And if you disagree with our opinion, then you’re just a noob.