Private Division and Obsidian Entertainment released their space opera The Outer Worlds on consoles and PC. It’s a tough talking no-nonsense expansive first-person-shooter at heart drenched in an underlying dark-humour filled role-playing experience. Considering Obsidian’s heritage with Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout New Vegas to name but a few is The Outer Worlds a worthy game to sink the hours into?
To begin, players create a male or female avatar, a silent protagonist if there ever was one. The creation tools offer limited options but it’s quite easy to make a devilishly ugly rogue rather than a chiseled looking catwalk model. Spending more time tweaking nets greater results…obviously. Once the pleasantries cease, players land in hot-water with an introduction to features such as melee or ranged weapons, slowing down time to close the distance on enemies, stealth play and the art of conversation.
Obsidian’s experience in this field means some accomplished shooting action that’s fun-to-play. However, the script writing is well-met with a host of conversation choices available to suit varied approaches. Players decide whether to be a dick basically or a less-nuanced character. They can make the choice whether to shoot first and ask questions later. It’s quite neat looking at how events pan out depending on what is said during the many conversations players have with NPCs. Tried and tested by reloading a save and selecting something new.
As players level-up they can set points into various areas affecting the life of the Halcyon colonist. Pump points into melee, ranged or various conversation traits such as Lie, Intimidate or Persuade. These open up options during conversations often providing a way forwards that circumvent combat. Technical skills exist too for those who would rather sneak or hack their way through objectives. Whilst not original in any way it just seems to fit the game’s open-ended narrative.
Throughout the story, players undertake various missions for all manner of characters some more savoury than others. However, whilst the main story arc isn’t the longest, the number of side-missions can prolong the adventuring considerably. Players meet an assortment of companions who join your character (if desired) and offer their opinions on events and even their own side-missions in a Mass Effect kind of way. At times players make hard-choices where they have to side with one faction or another. These moments have a greater impact on the overall story where your decision can haunt you further down the line or not depending on what character type you affiliate with. It’s constructed well and often presents jarring moments on your objectives platter. You might attempt to be the peacemaker diplomat, but that doesn’t always pan out how you expect (avoiding spoilers here). The writing is refreshing, humorous and remains interesting despite mission objectives falling into over-familiar territory.
The Halcyon colony is a wonderful place in terms of its visuals which players explore freely. Jumping into their ship and zooming across the system to various planets and orbiting craft. Each zone has its own theme and factions making for a visually appealing game. Character models look good despite some repeated NPCs here and there and the enemies act as suitable fodder ranging from humanoid, mechanical and alien lifeforms. Their AI is somewhat questionable though. Performance is reasonable but an RTX 2080 Ti will struggle to maintain 60 fps at 4K resolution and max graphical settings. At least the option to tinker means you can lower to suit you PC.
Audio is of a good standard with an assortment of voices for your companions and NPCs acted well-enough. Music seems to compliment the action or exploration but not with anything too imposing or memorable unfortunately.
In terms of longevity our playtime after the end credits was 24 hours and that’s after completing quite a number of side quests as well. However, the replay comes in the form of choosing different responses, perhaps just randomly killing key personnel and playing differently a second or third time. There is an option to play a hardcore type mode for added challenge, although on default settings it’s not the toughest of games once you get some companions on your side. Perhaps that’s another challenge in itself playing solo as some perks offer bonuses for doing so. In all, players should get their monies worth (if purchased from the Epic Games Store). Playing it though for a couple of quid via the Xbox Game Pass for PC and it’s a no-brainer and totally worth the price-of-entry.
The Outer Worlds ticks all the right action RPG boxes. Upgrades, skills, levelling-up, decent combat etc. However, some elements rest on the generic side, which is not a bad thing here. The Outer Worlds ultimately is a fun game to play with its dark humour which is neat to mess around with given the options available. That said, it is familiar territory done-right and wrapped-up in an eye-catching lick-of-colourful paint.