The Outer Worlds (XBOX One) Review
Game Name: The Outer Worlds
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Private Division
Release Date: October 25th, 2019
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, XBOX One and Nintendo Switch (2020)
I was really anticipating The Outer Worlds. All the trailers that I had looked at seemed really cool. The ingredients for making this game looked like a recipe for success. A few of the original Fallout series creators (Tim Cain ( DIrector) and Leonard Boyarskey (Directory & Artist)) were involved in the making of this game. The developers for Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian Entertainment) were also the developers. Having played Fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas and their popularity within the gaming community, I really was hopeful that this would not disappoint.
Let's see if it was all that it was cracked up to be.
The game starts you with an ad for the Halcyon colony. Basically it promises to be paradise. It very much reminded me of the promotions that you see in Fallout for vaults.
You wake up from a cryogenic sleep and you are part of an abandoned ship called the Hope. You were awakened by a scientist by the name of Phineas Welles. Throughout the game you will be helping him to get the colonists to awaken.
From this ship, you start your journey in the nearby colony of Emerald Vale which also has a section called Edgewater.
If you have played any recent FPS / ARPG's you will be right at home here. You first start with choosing certain attributes and characteristics. You can also customize the look and feel of your character.
As you can see there are a few things that you can choose from to start your character. You can add attributes points to 3 main sections, Body (Strength, Dexterity), Mind (Intelligence, Perception) and Personality (Charm, Temperament). I believe that you start with 10 points that you can distribute to those attributes.
The above screen is where you can assign some skill points. Every time that you level up, you will receive 10 skill points to distribute. This is pretty similar to the Fallout S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes.
You will not be able to max everything on the list as you can only level up until Level 30. After that any XP received will not count towards anything. It is slightly disappointing but not a big deal.
Then the last element that you can upgrade are your perks. These add some bonuses depending on what you choose. You can choose for more health or faster health regeneration for example. You can also pick perks for your companions.
Skill points are awarded after you level up. Perk points are only available every 2 levels. You also only receive one Perk Point.
When you start playing it will feel like a typical FPS. You will have some weapons that you will be able to pick up during your travels. When you encounter a workbench, you will be able to upgrade and fix your weapons and attire.
If you are looking for an elaborate upgrade system, you may be disappointed. You can upgrade your weapon's magazine size, scope and barrel. You can also upgrade your weapon with some parts that you pick up throughout the game. You can also breakdown weapons that you find and get parts from them. You can get 3, 4 or 5 parts per breakdown depending of your level. This aspect reminded me of Metro Exodus as the systems were very similar.
There are a few elements of gameplay that may remind you of other RPG's. For example, if you press the RB on your controller during combat, time will slowdown. This feels very similar to the VATS system found in Fallout 4. Just like that game, you can only use this for a limited time until your meter drains.
There are a lot of side quests that you can do. As of the writing of this review, I have finished the game and I had finished about 49 quests. I am sure that I missed quite a few. Some of these side quests will unlock once you speak to a particular person.
There is a lot to like about this game. In short I had a really good time with it. At least for me there were a lot more positives than negatives.
Let us start with the look and feel of the game. When glancing at the worlds, it gave me that No Man's Sky vibe. Unlike other games of the genre like Metro or Fallout, the colour palette is pretty varied. It is quite refreshing to see. I think in terms of visuals they hit it out of the park.
However, there were a few things that irked me about the visuals. At first the landscapes look cool and seem like they were full of detail. Then you walk past a tree and some of the bushes / grass looked 2D like sprites in the original DOOM. They had put so much effort in making an environment that the player would actually want to visit and then we see this. It is not a big thing and it did not take away from the game at all. It just felt that they could have tried a little more.
The one thing that I loved were the characters in the game. Either it was your companions or just random people that you meet in the streets, it was always interesting to listen to what they had to say.
Having said that, towns and cities seemed empty. These are supposed to be colony's with a vibrant population but it felt like there were only 10 NPC's (Non Playable Characters) in every town. Fallbrook seemed to have more but not that much. Again I am not saying that the colony's were empty, it just felt that way.
The one thing that I have to praise this game for are the companions. I have always been used that when you have a companion, they never talk until spoken to. Here on your missions, once you obtain the services of these characters, you can bring them on quests with you. However, the twist that I liked was that while walking from one place to another, they would talk to each other about various things like Tossball scores or stories from their adventures. It made the walks less boring and engaging. I found that this was a good innovation that I do not believe that I have seen before. To my surprise they did not repeat phrases too often.
Another aspect that I loved about the companions, is that while you are in a conversation with another NPC, your companions will chime in the conversation, adding an element or realism. Also the NPC's would look at them when they would talk to address them. It is small details like this that go a long way to a more realistic experience.
The one disappointing thing about NPC's were the models. It felt like they had only 3 or 4 models that they used. Yes some had wrinkles and others did not, but it was still the same character model. That took a little from the experience for me. It felt like Fallout 3, where the number of character models were quite few. Although for Fallout 3, it came out years ago. I expected a little more from a game that is released in 2019.
The one thing that this game did not do very well was the soundtrack. The soundtrack sounded very sci-fi generic. In some parts, it actually sounded like a slightly slower version of the Star Trek Voyager theme song. It would have been nice to have a better soundtrack.
The voice acting however, was spot on. Every character that you encounter, have their own personality and voices. For some reason I really was drawn to Parvati. For most of my question, she accompanied me. There was a depth and innocence to her that you rarely find in games. I know that some people found her annoying but I think she was charming.
I think this game is part No Man Sky (Visuals), Fallout (VATS and crafting) and Metro Exodus (Maps and Weapon upgrades and workbenches). I say Metro Exodus as both had sections and maps that had linear stories but you were able to go walking around. Just that in The Outer Worlds, the side quests are more frequent and more rewarding. The wayt he workbenches are setup, felt like Metro as well.
The best part about this game is that it is on XBOX Gamepass. It is well worth it and I think for the 50 hours that I played with it, it would be worth full price. I had fun and there is a sense of adventure. It felt like I was playing in an episode of Firefly. I also think that the game scratched that itch that I had since Metro Exodus. Is this a perfect game, no it is not. However, in the end what matters is that we have fun and this game was fun.
What do you think? Did you play it?