The Outer Worlds is the latest game from Obsidian Entertainment, who famously brought you Fallout: New Vegas, they’re back with another first-person RPG.
If I were to quickly summarise this game, for anyone that was interested, I’d simply say “It’s Fallout in space”. Now I don’t want to spend the entire review comparing the two, but since Obsidian has had their hand in that series, it’s only natural to work off what you know.
The review will be coming once the embargo has been lifted, this is a placeholder until then, be sure to bookmark it and check back later!
What Is Outer Worlds?
The game is set in an alternate future that diverged in 1901, when U.S. President William McKinley is not assassinated by Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition.
As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded him, allowing large business trusts to dominate society well into the future, where megacorporations have begun colonizing and terraforming alien planets.
Originally bound for the furthest reaches of the galaxy, a colony ship’s faster-than-light travel goes astray, leaving it abandoned at the edge of colony space.
The player character awakens on board from cryosleep only to find that most of the passengers are still in hibernation and begins a journey to a nearby colony to investigate the true nature of the corporations. The game features several factions and a branching story that reacts to the player’s choices.
The Outer Worlds follows the traditional RPG style of being able to create your own character and level up as you progress through the game. Your character has different abilities and stats that can be enhanced through gameplay, to help you overcome obstacles within the game e.g. improving your speech to negotiate better deals or solve problems peacefully.
During the game, you’ll unlock perks that will grant special abilities and help develop your style of play. Players can also encounter and recruit NPCs to their team, electing to bring two companions at once. These allies can develop and enhance their abilities and fighting style.
The plot appears to be a fascinating concept when you read about it, although I will admit, I don’t think that’s initially portrayed from the start.
It seems like the motivation for carrying out your main quest is also not inherently as clear or personal as some other RPG games, so it does feel tough to completely immerse yourself within the world and the characters within it.
As the plot describes above, you’re being sent to another world and need to be frozen for 10 years. Sounds good right? Sets up for a juicy story. Now it’s time to queue the stereotypical disaster that creates the basis for the game’s plot.
The ship obviously doesn’t reach its destination and you’re frozen for over 70 years, woken up by a scientist called Phineas Wells. While the rest of the ship remains frozen, he points out that being suspended for so long can cause a painful death in most cases, but he has managed to save you with his own chemical creation.
He recruits you to seek out more chemicals, in order to wake those still in hibernation. That’s essentially the motivation to go on your adventure. It feels like the motivation could have been stronger here, I’d be lying if I said I was fully immersed in helping these faceless strangers, in a plan I’m not entirely familiar with.
When you compare it to other games, you realise why this story feels a bit flat. In Fallout 3, you’re trying to find out why your father escaped your vault, why he left you behind and where he went.
In Fallout: New Vegas, you’ve been shot in the head and saved, allowing you to find your unknown assailant and enact revenge. Fallout 4, your child has been taken from you and your wife has been murdered – the common theme? It’s personal.
The small stories within the game fail to make up for this either, it was a struggle to find a character I was inherently invested in. That’s not to say the characters were lifeless, far from it. I’m also puzzled as to why the new environments and creatures are not more dramatised.
A lot will have changed in 70 years and to miss out on it would be a big deal for anyone; this is not conveyed in The Outer Worlds and would have been a great opportunity to start that emotional rollercoaster for the player. Instead, everything comes across as being normal, TOO normal in fact.
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