Outer Worlds Review
Call me an idiot, but Outer Worlds was really a game that came out of nowhere for me. How I missed it, all the pre-launch hype, all those amazing trailers…I’ll never know. But when I finally powered up Outer Worlds about a week ago, I was blown away but what I was delivered. It’s part Fallout and part Mass Effect, and it’s all gold, well almost.
The story, while not shocking or wildly different than other space/colony stories, does it’s job. You are one of many colonists who was sent from Earth to settle the Halcyon system, but during transportation, the ship holding your body, as well as the body of others, is lost, and therefore, you are not ‘resurrected’ to your normal self until Dr. Phineas Welles wakes you up, and tasks you with a grander mission.
The entire system is operated by The Board, and if you haven’t guess it yet, The Board – those dirty corporate overlords – are poorly operating the entire system, and only doing it for their own personal gains. You are tasked with stopping that.
Like with Mass Effect, the development team is trying to make Outer Worlds about choice. And while many games offer players choices in 2019, few actually leverage that for the better good of their title. Outer Worlds is NOT one of those games. With a good, bad, and neutral dialogue options offered up consistently throughout the game, I really feel that each person who powers up Outer Worlds is likely to have a very different experience.
Do you steal research to sell for profit, or do you help the system thrive? Do you pay regular price for goods at stores, or do you shake down the owners and pay below market value. Sometimes your choices are dictated by your circumstances. If I need money, I’m going to try and find money. No matter the costs.
What might be an initial turnoff for many is the character creation screen. Getting your character from their pod to the world is a LONG process, and one that doesn’t necessarily get explained well. You are told to assign attribute points to specific areas, without knowing really how those specific skills will help you in the world. When creating my own character, I put points on skills I knew I had, from playing other First Person Shooter titles. Did I make good choices? I’m not sure, but the longer the process became, the less I cared about what skills and attributes I was unlocking.
And sometimes it all feels useless anyways. Getting through the 20ish hour game isn’t as difficult as I would have thought. And because it borrows so heavily from other popular RPG franchises, many of the things you are required to do are pretty predictable. Thankfully, I don’t think Outer Worlds is working to hide the influences you see from other games, to the betterment of the game, instead of a detriment. They knew what was going to work, what fans really liked, and delivered it all in a short, polished package.
And ultimately, if you walk into Outer Worlds expecting the sprawling worlds of Skyrim, or the details areas of the various Mass Effect titles, you are going to be disappointed. While the world is plenty big, the entire game – side missions and all – can be done in under 25 hours, which is probably half the amount of time it takes to play these other, massive open world experiences. This isn’t a long game, and that’s actually something I’m really OK with.
So often, I find myself diving into these epic open world titles only to never see the finish line. With Outer Worlds, I got to see the finish, and damn it, it was worth it. Shorter RPGs are pretty uncommon, which makes Outer Worlds stand apart from it’s counterparts, no matter how much they borrow from other franchises.
This won’t be for everyone. The clothing / armor customization is severely lacking, and outside of creating your characters face, it often feels like you have little-to-no control over your character, outside of the dialogue choices you make. Still, it’s a fantastic experience that I’m happy to have played, and its easily one of the best RPG titles I’ve played on Xbox One X this generation!