Fallout in Space?…Almost
Have you ever wanted to roam futuristic alien planets? Did you want those planets to be inhabited by strange creatures and humans worked to the edge of death by money hungry corporations? Would you like the ability to exchange witty banter with or simply murder said humans? If you answered yes, then “The Outer Worlds” may be for you.
The Outer Worlds was released back in late October (yes this review is late to the party; I’m a casual gamer at best) by Obsidian Entertainment whom happen to be the developers of “Fallout: New Vegas”, amongst other titles. If you’ve played New Vegas, you’ll notice some similarities but I can’t in good conscious tell you this is just another Fallout game with a space western twist. To anyone familiar with recent Fallout entries, you’ll feel right at home with the gun-play, melee system, tongue in cheek humor, and skill checked dialog; the last of which is my favorite part of The Outer Worlds.
Finding a (lack of voice) in The Outer Worlds
Unlike the last Fallout game (Fallout 4), your character is once again voiceless. Like most people, I had a pretty “take it or leave it” type attitude with the fact my Fallout vault dweller had an actual voice. In The Outer Worlds, you’ll find that the interactions you have with the locals do wonders to give the worlds life and personality and you’ll almost always have a dialog option that will make you chuckle on some level. Anyone with a few modern RPG’s under their belt will be well accustomed to The Outer Worlds skill/attribute based dialog options and the game does a good job of giving those options on the regular. On top of that, putting points into dialog skills will give you passive combat abilities so you won’t be sacrificing too much combat effectiveness if you plan on doing a silver tongue type character build.
Will work for Skills
The skill system, in my opinion, is pretty solid in this game. In most RPG’s, your first play through tends to get a bit…sloppy, later in the game. You may not fully understand the game mechanics early on and your skill choices aren’t usually optimized to your play style. The Outer Worlds counteracts this pitfall a bit by, more or less, forcing you to generalize your skill set early on which allows you to get a feel for different weapons or decide you would really like to hack computers and lockpick better without making you feel like you’ve left something on the table…plus you get access to a skill respect machine super early in the game.
There are a barrage of skills, all of which have different tiers of usefulness as you donate more points to them. I’ve played the main story through once already and I can say all of the skills definitely come in handy, so take a look at what they all do and you’ll have a pretty good idea what type of build you’ll want create. Naturally, you’ll want some combat skills which, unfortunately, is probably the weakest part of the game. The gun-play is tight enough but nothing to write home about. There is a “slow time” ability you have at the get go but it’s only moderately useful at best and the melee combat is basically useless if you ask me. You just constantly run into guys with guns and hopping around to close the distance is just tedious. Shoot things, you’ll have more fun, trust me…as long as your companions don’t get in the way.
You’ve got a Companion in me
Companions in The Outer Worlds are actually a pretty solid feature. They provide the usual benefits of soaking up bullets and extra carrying capacity (which is wonderfully passive), as well as adding extra skills to offset your weaknesses or boost your strengths. You get to bring two along with you everywhere, or none if you prefer, and they can be equipped however you like. They’ll talk amongst themselves on occasion, while also interjecting into the conversations you’ll have with the NPCs of the world. All of this is pretty well executed and never really feels out of place; your companions all have very distinct personalities and certainly help breathe life into the game. On a scale of 1 to 10 (or Skyrim to Rent-a-Friend), I’d give The Outer Worlds companions a fairly solid 7.
You’ll rarely find yourself hating their company but they don’t feel particularly effective in combat and the amount of times I found myself shooting into the backs of my companions heads instead of enemies was more than I care for personally. You’ll also find they get incapacitated a lot in combat which is suuuuuuuper annoying if you decide to play the game on the “Supernova” difficulty…because they die for good. If you’re the lone wolf type, don’t worry, there are perks you can take to boost your effectiveness while traveling alone.
The Outer Worlds – Play or Pass?
All things considered, “The Outer Worlds” is a pretty excellent game with a personality all its own. It’s not a particularly long game, I charged through the main story quests and beat them in a little over 20 hours, but there are plenty of side quests and companion quests to keep you occupied plus a DLC is scheduled for 2020. The story isn’t going to blow you away but it’s not quite as simple as good and evil. Most of the choices in the game fall into a bit of a gray area morally, which I found delightful.
Aside from the category of weapons known as “science weapons” you’re not going to find anything unfamiliar. Pretty standard fare with the upgrade options you’d expect and a mix of elemental type effects to round things out a bit. If you’re even a moderately experienced gamer you’ll find the “Normal” difficultly gets pretty easy really quick. If you’re a masochistic animal of a human, you can play on “Supernova” where enemies are noticeably tougher, your companions can die for good, and you’ll have some eat/drink/sleep meters to fill regularly.
I’m on a second play-through in supernova difficulty and honestly…I hate it…did I mention supernova basically turns off manual saving? No? Or how it makes fast traveling almost nonexistent? Ya. Those are things. What else can I say about the Supernova difficulty you ask (and you’ll hear this a lot)? It’s not the best choice; it’s Spacer’s choice.
Guest review by Benjamin Emmett