Some Early Thoughts on The Outer Worlds

Okay y’all, we gotta keep this fresh, keep it popping. Keep ahead of the pack, pump out some piping hot pieces. I was going to write a 40 page thesis on why Fortnite is the Rosetta Stone of our Gamerz rich culture but some South Dakota boy scouts griefed me and said many rude things about my mother. So I guess I’ll talk about Outer Worlds or whatever.

Obsidian Game studio is picking up the torch that Bethesda has been fumbling for the past eight year. Obsidian has a nice history of showing bigger game studios how to actually make good games. The game plays almost exactly like fallout 3 or New Vegas with its major differences being in the gun play. You make a character by mashing up their face, deciding what they suck at and what they’re good at, and adding some garnish through perks and background junk. You find yourself in a foreign world, you run errands for complete strangers, and you make decisions that affect how the game will turn out. You pick up trash, discover better trash, eat some trash, etc. It has all the Fallout thangs. So far in my 12ish hours of playing, I’ve had an incredibly good time.

The writing and world building are easily the best part about the game. Your character awakes in a futury, space, capitalist dystopia. The Corporations that own almost all of the galaxy treat the people who live in it like property. They are corrupt, ever expansive and ever present. The way the game portrays the characters that live in this system is incredible! The residents of the galaxy are fully immersed in the society and will get genuinely angry with you if you questions the status quo. They put so much time in the writing that some characters will hold a conversation with for quite a while. The companions you can befriend in the game have very real motivations. They don’t join you for the “fantastical adventure” or because your character is a walking messiah. They’re just looking for a job and you’re looking for a crew.

Many of the game’s mechanics are wonderful! A game’s difficulty can be ruined by it’s healing system but I think Outer Worlds pulls it off for the most part. Healing happens outside of the menu and takes time. You take Adreno, which requires an unskippable animation and it takes time to take full effect. Enemies can charge you or gun you down before you can fully heal so timing is crucial. My only real complaint with it is an issue of abundance. You pick up so much healing junk, you won’t need to think twice before doing some healing suck.

Another great element in the game play is the time dilation ability. It is similar to Fallout’s VATS system, but it’s less of crutch. You slow down time and you plan out what kind of shots to make. When you are skilled enough at a certain types of weapons, you can apply effects on enemies depending on where you apply your hurt juice. You can apply a special effect with a shot to the chest, blind enemies with a shot to the head, and cripple with a shot to their legs. You can only really pull off two or three shots before it runs out so a majority of combat still happens in real time. When to use the mechanic and where to take your shots add a nice layer of complexity to the combat.

Some of the mechanics end up being so shallow they do not have a significant effect on the game play. There are only three types of ammo in the game, light rounds, heavy rounds and energy rounds. As you play the game, you will never come close to running out of rounds. Scarcity might have been an issue in the early game but once you’re a few hours in, you will be stockpiling around 1000 of each round. The worst part about this is that there is even a perk you can get that makes it so shop keepers have more rounds to sell to you. I never had to drop any money on ammo, let alone empty a shop.

Speaking of that, I also found the perk system to be quite lacking. While many of the perks in Fallout boiled down just being simple stat buffs, they were at least thematically interesting. They helped build your character’s story as well as give the player a sense of progression. Is my character especially good at killing the opposite sex for a deep seeded reason? Does my character have the ability to forcibly turn their enemies innards into their outtards? Do they have a relationship to a mysterious figure that comes in the nick of time to kill a molerat while a Deathclaw is turning your innards into your outtards? These things were interesting and fun to have! Outer worlds adds some clever writing to their perks but they just amount to a boring stat buffs.

Okay, I may sound a bit negative about the game but overall, I’m having some of the most fun playing a game I’ve had in a while. It is filling my western RPG hole that I desperately needed filled. The world is immersive, combat is a ton of fun, and it tells a story worth experiencing. If you’re a fan of the Fallout franchise or western RPGs, go get you some Outer Worlds.