Friday, 27 December 2019

The Outer Worlds ★★★★★

‘The Outer Worlds’ is the latest game from Obsidian who have recently been acquired by Microsoft, and if there is one thing to glean from my near 40 hours with the game, it’s that this was a very, very good investment on Microsoft’s part.

The game is set in the distant future, where mankind is colonizing other worlds in alternative solar systems, and you play as a character who was on one of the colonizing ships that got somewhat delayed on its journey (by 70 years!). Now you must try to help save your frozen colonists and find out the truth about what's happening in the Halcyon system. Or, you could do neither and just cause as much mayhem as you want. Because, with the outer worlds, the beauty is that you can really direct your stories in some very varied directions with the choices you make – hell, you can just kill everyone and be done with it if that's really what you want to do.

The game is very much a spiritual successor to ‘Fallout: New Vegas’ which Obsidian worked on before but with a smaller scope. Unlike ‘New Vegas,’ the game is not truly an open world to explore but rather a number of sandboxes for you to play around in with many different quests to do and loot to find. It's more akin to ‘Borderlands’ in this design and it is greatly appreciated because it comes across as more of a bitesize experience where you can do a little bit each day, whether that be progressing the story or clearing out an area.

The main gameplay loop is quite different too. Each area starts with a main quest, branching off into many more that are related in some way. The side stories in the game are unique and the writing is excellent. I would also say that the companions you meet have some amazing quests that shouldn't be overlooked (much like the ‘Mass Effect’ franchise). I would say my only real complaint of the game is that the actual combat feels a bit like an afterthought. The combat is serviceable but won't blow you away in any aspect, with it being not quite as fun to play as ‘Fallout 4’ or ‘Borderlands 3’. This holds it back slightly, although it does have some good mechanics such as the ability to slow down time.

One of my favourite aspects of the game is that it isn't a 100-hour experience, which makes a refreshing change. It is built to be so varied in the story that you could play it through multiple times and have very different outcomes, however, just playing it once makes for a fulfilling experience. A lot of what we’ve become used to within giant RPGs to has been taken out, leaving a collection of really meaty, story-driven quests. It’s a breath of fresh air when compared with so many games just trying to pack as much content in as possible. Everything you do within ‘The Outer Worlds’ is meaningful and has an effect on the world around you, sometimes in ways you won’t be able to predict.

Don't sleep on what is possibly one of the best Western RPGs of the generation, which not only blows the likes of ‘Fallout’ out of the water but is also so unique that you will be aching to play it through again and again. The characters and the world are stunning, making it well worth buying!

Hannah Read

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