The Outer Worlds arrived at almost the perfect time, whilst Bethesda are struggling to keep the Fallout franchise alive through the frequently botched Fallout 76, Obsidian has delivered a well made and enjoyable alternative that could give the Fallout franchise a run for its money.
The story goes that you are a colonist, frozen until your arrival to a brand new world except that you were left to drift indefinitely. That is until a wacky scientist decided to thaw you and you go off trying to fix the troubles of the galaxy you now inhabit. The story is good and fun with a few twists and turns throughout, the side missions are plentiful and contain enjoyable sub plots. There were often times when I really felt I was making a difference for the people that live on each planet. Whether that was removing corrupt officials or brokering peace between warring factions I really felt like what I did impacted the characters around me and build my characters confidence from loner to revered helping hand. Some of my favourite missions were companion missions.
There are a total of six companions that you can find relatively early on in the game, you don’t have to join forces with them however they each have their own combat skills and buffs to your attributes. They also come with their own missions that delve into their back story or further develop their characters. These range from reuniting families to helping one of your companions traverse the awkward dating scene of space. These were all fun and helped build the world that I was playing to make it feel real.
Gameplay is very much similar to Fallout and other first person shooters but with less of a slow down during combat. Instead of VATS, Outer Worlds contains a unique slow down option to help you figure out your next move. But unlike VATS this only lasts for a few seconds so doesn’t slow down the action in quite the same way. There is a vast variety of weapons at your disposal, each with different weapon types and some, like the science weapons, with their own unique abilities that add to the wackiness of the game. My only issue with the weapons was it was difficult to identify what was useful against certain enemy types. The enemy types are vast with most either being human, mechanical or creature, the creatures are where the variety takes place with lots of different species to fight.
As with any game of this kind there are lots of dialogue choices, I often found myself anxiously trying to get certain characters to stand down hoping to have enough skill to complete persuade or intimidation checks. These especially came in handy when stealing items as with a high enough persuasion you can talk yourself out of almost any predicament. There is also no lockpick or hacking minigame which makes the game flow a lot quicker. All these checks add to your experience which when levelled up give you skill points to add and perk points every other level. Perk points can be used to give yourself extra HP or carry more items etc. These can also be obtained by taking certain disadvantages. Sometimes during gameplay if you frequently get attacked a certain way or constantly take fall damage you can take a disadvantage but get an extra perk point. The only issue I found was that the level is capped at 30 which I reached quite easily by the end of the game and it made me feel like there was little point in completing the few extra side quests I had left before tackling the final story mission.
The graphics are wonderful; they are both vibrant and realistic with a few cartoony aesthetics thrown in to create the realistic yet wacky universe that is The Outer Worlds. I also read that the game doesn’t have a colour blind option as it is completely colour blind accessible with nothing requiring the identification of colour to complete. I didn’t experience any framerate issues but there were one or two occasions where the game had to load the next area. The load screens tend to last a little too long too but there are a few funny anecdotes to read whilst you wait.
I had so much fun playing The Outer Worlds that by the end I just wanted to keep playing. For a game that lasts about 30+ hours that’s pretty impressive. If anything I felt it was too short and I wanted to keep exploring these unique worlds until I had interacted with everyone and solved all their issues.
+ Compelling story and deep side missions
+ Fun well paced gameplay
+ Interesting companions
– Too short?