The Outer Worlds came out on consoles back in the 1960s, and after all that time, it now gets a release on the PC via Steam with big ol’ bells and whistles, what with the multitude of settings you can configure.
You know when you’re playing a good game when everything else gets put on hold. No, I’m not just talking about the review pile or backlog, but life. I went from installation to some seven hours later, and I’m still playing The Outer Worlds to just ‘test’ it first of all.
It reminds me of a mixture of the Fallout series, Bioshock, a few nods at Borderlands and the storytelling of Half-Life. These are all massively positive comparisons as these are the top FPS, RPG, narrative-driven open-worlds – whatever you’re labelling them.
The Outer Worlds Review
I heard so many good things about The Outer Worlds, and the Steam page drives that fact with the glowing reviews. The minute the game loaded, I could see why. This is why I got back into PC gaming.
The build-up is like a locomotive with the subtitles of the game shown embedded in the objects on the screen, and the visuals were stunning (I had them sent to very high in fear of struggling at ultra). Your character has been in stasis for many years along with a lineup of other characters that bring hope.
Unfortunately, this was around the time of changing my PC setup and the rig I was using was struggling with the visuals after updating the drivers (a bit of a sore point). This briefly interrupted the experience, but with a new GPU, I’ve been playing at 1440p with the top settings, and boy is it good.
Without a doubt, the visuals help with that absorption into the lore created by Obsidian Entertainment – veterans of the genre, having members that worked of the titles it emulates in some respects. From the alien worlds to space stations you visit, they’re all offered with such vibrance that looking out the window is pretty bleak.
But the presentation is just one element. This isn’t a showreel; we want adventure, and The Outer Worlds, published on Steam by Pirate Division, knows precisely how to offer that to players.
Aside from the customary ‘create a character’, which I have to say is easily on par with Baldur’s Gate 3 and Fallout 4, you get to invest in your hero and a crew of specialists whose skills range from engineering to hacking.
First impressions are overwhelming when it comes to how the character statistics are presented, but once you get accustomed to it, the initial walls of text are concise and help you structure your build without wasting points.
Other than the expected melee and ranged combats skills, you can invest in people skills to persuade and intimidate, your leadership skills to manage your crew (whom you can also giver orders to), as well as hacking and engineering skills to repair and upgrade your equipment.
Level Playing Field
Any decent adventure will give players the option to stick with the main story or stray off the beaten path for a fetch quest or two. The Outer Worlds is full of them and if you want a fighting chance, or want to access the very many perks of each character, it’s worth attempting as many quests as possible.
This is the downside, but not a bad one to have, as, like the Fallout series, you can’t pick this up to play a quick mission. A quickplay would probably last an hour or two. This is great for engagement, but if you have other commitments, investing the time required in The Outer Worlds is the most challenging part (plus some of the difficulty levels). Again, it’s not a bad thing to have, just be aware if you’re limited with playtime.
Completing these side quests, using your skills and defeating enemies will level your characters up, allowing you to invest in character perks that relate to how much you can carry, health, time bonuses to skills – that sort of thing.
I won’t cover the story as it’s so in-depth with all the factions to appease (or taunt), but the skinny is, you’ve exited a hypostasis state or sumink, and the scientist who has revived you has tasked you with securing the supplies to revive the rest of the crew. Where the story goes from there, is up to you.
An after-effect of you being frozen in time means you have a very welcome glitch: you can briefly slow down time. This is great for crowd control and lining up headshots. With the perks mentioned above, you can get an increase in the duration and improved cooldowns.
Something I found out early in The Outer Worlds is your actions have a consequence. What may seem like a good decision with one party may anger the other, and you’ll lose kudos with each faction. This understandably plays a part with your overall influence.
Equally, shooting an NPC in the head is meaningful, as chances are, they’ll die, and the law will be after you. I’m not the type to stir the hornet’s nest, but a couple of times I hit the left mouse button while moving, inadvertently shooting someone and hampering my progress. True, it’s not an excuse for being an outlaw. But you can be one, should you choose.
The Outer Worlds isn’t as harsh as say The Elder Scrolls series – kill or steal from an NPC there, and they’ll be hostile for eternity. Here I shot a civilian, by accident, then a guard as they witnessed this in a hotel. When I exited expecting to be gunned down, the guards outside were indifferent. Fluke, methinks.
The Definitive Quest
While I haven’t been using choice ‘drool’ words over The Outer Worlds, believe me: I may as well. This is a stunning adventure and genuinely pleased that I controlled myself and didn’t watch too much gameplay from when it came out last year.
A few game writer acquaintances at the time told me The Outer Worlds looked nice but was glitchy, incredibly easy and short. Perhaps half a dozen said that at the time, but, in fear of this whole website being defunct from this next comment: judge a game for yourself, don’t solely rely on a review as it’s subjective. Then again, I don’t expect you to buy a game based on my recommendation alone.
From my perspective, these comments could not be further from the truth. While they weren’t wrong in their opinions, I didn’t encounter any issues and still going through some side missions and to say it’s short is lunacy. I will say one problem I did encounter which was infuriating, and unrelated to the game itself. Still, after exiting Steam and reloading, I found that The Outer Worlds had been uninstalled.
Nobody else has access to the system and I 100% didn’t click uninstall. Fortunately, all my save details were there, but I had to download 45GB+ again on a mediocre WiFi connection – this isn’t a small file. However, considering how vast these worlds are with lush visuals and fully acted dialogue with a limitless outcome, it could easily have been double the size.
Anyhoo, you’ve probably read other reviews from last year or already have the game. If you haven’t experienced The Outer Worlds yet and a fan of the Fallout series, you’ll love this. As I said, superlatives are mostly omitted for some weird reason, but it’s hard to fault this adventure. Other than the time required to play, this is superb.