When it was originally revealed, The Outer Worlds looked like a lavish and extraordinary take on the original Fall Out New Vegas formula. With the recent downfall in quality for the FallOut series, fans including myself were eager to finally dive into a game that seemingly didn’t forget what made western RPGs so special in the first place. I’m happy to report that Outer Worlds meets and at times even exceeds those expectations.
Outer Worlds opens up with a mad scientist waking you up from cryosleep. You along with a bunch of other colonists on a ship should have arrived at your destination and woken up years ago. You didn’t though and now this scientist has woken you up and needs your help finding resources to wake up the rest of the colonists.
Whether you choose to help them or not is up to you, but it’s this event that acts as the catalyst to the rest of the story and that’s ultimately in your hand. You see while you were asleep, the rest of the colony ships started to colonize the outer worlds.
Corporations started to get rich and capitalism expanded the poorer citizens essentially gave up their rights and pride to these companies, becoming slaves to them just to survive. Outer Worlds can take you as little as 20 hours and as long as 60 hours and that factors down to the choices you make and how you go about completing quests.
A lot of the quests in Outer Worlds are optional but they’re also incredibly interesting and fascinating. Missions can appear or activate based on the smallest of actions. Talking to an NPC about a skill they need to learn or perhaps trading a favor for a favor can both lead to new optional quests.
These quests add hours of playtime to your final total should you choose to go on them Even then you can complete some of these quests by simply thinking logically If someone has something you need and will only give it to you in return for a favor? Why not just shoot the person and take it by force.
Outer Worlds is a game that wraps its story around your actions and for that very reason you can do things like that. Its lore and story are told through not just the quests but the conversations, the computer logs and the descriptions of things. The most minute details that you’d skip in just about any other game mean so much more here like something outside of Control.
The Outer Worlds begins with a basic but acceptable character creator. Although some other features and options would have been welcomed, what’s here feels satisfactory and entertaining as we get to choose the job we did before the events of the game.
In classic Obesdian writing, each job gives us a different stat boost and a clever description explains why it makes sense. After creating your character, you’re launched on to the planet surface and the adventure begins.
The Outer Worlds isn’t an open-world RPG but rather a large multi sandbox game that somehow still mimics the feeling of exploring an open world. Perhaps it’s the visuals, the design of worlds or something else but I felt the urge to explore the environment.
This would often lead me to realize how this wasn’t an open-world but also plenty of secrets optional quests I would otherwise never come across if I hadn’t gone off the beaten path. Companions eventually join you on your adventure should you choose to let them. They’re great allies that are more than just NPCs that help you out in battles. Their personalities make them feel like unique characters, sometimes getting you to love them or hate them.
In battles they said you taking on the enemy like using special skills that activate these cinematic attacks. Combat feels significantly faster than what you’re probably used to with Fallout, it’s better in my opinion. Using a variety of close quarters, long-range, melee and even science weapons add for a variety of combat.
Science weapons are humorous and hilarious to see in action like the shrink ray that lets you shrink enemies. Gunplay isn’t the best in action games in general but it’s one of the best when it comes down to action RPGs.
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It’s a faster pace than something like Fallout with a greater emphasis on precision aiming. That’s most apparent with the TTD ability that acts as this version of Fallout’s vats. TTD or Tactical Time Dilation slow downtime for a few seconds to let you land critical hits on an enemy.
Shoot an arm and you might injure the arm used to hold their weapon. Outside of combat, the companions feel like a vital part of conversations that are frequently sprinkled throughout the campaign.
These conversations regardless if serious or comedic have a large assortment of responses that can let you answer something seriously or snarky. Depending on your skillset, if you have enough persuasion and leadership, you could talk a leader out of their position.
It makes just about every RPG element fit into each other, simply just working flawlessly. Companions even chime into conversations with their takes on the topic. I often found multiple companions conversating on our ship, having their takes and that’s refreshing to see. It made them feel more human
I do wish I could compare items I’m shopping for with what I already have equipped in a better fashion. For a game that offers so many quests, I can only really track one at a time and seems like something so easily overlooked. These are all minor nitpicks that could easily elevate the simple day to day stuff but nothing that ruined the experience for me.
The Outer Worlds isn’t the most impressive looking modern game but when compared to the other western RPGs it takes inspiration from, it’s top-notch. Imagine the gameplay of Fallout New Vegas but with the visuals and aesthetics of No Man’s Sky.
The color palette here is beautiful, saturated and vibrant. Character models are detailed with facial animations that seemingly reflect all the different personalities you’ll run into on your adventure. No one character looks the same and that goes a long way because you’ll be speaking to an A lot of them. Walking through the different towns I was happy to see characters that reflect that environment.
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I never saw a color of outfit swap NPC and that was refreshing in a game that takes such pride in building stories any chance it can. I was shocked to see how well this performed especially when compared to the recent Fallout 4 and 76 games. On consoles, Outer Worlds targets 30 fps across the board with different resolutions for each platform.
Base Xbox One runs an upscaled 1080p while base PS4 hits a native 1080p. PS4 Pro upscales 1080p gameplay to 4K while Xbox One X features a native 4k textures and visuals
On the frame rate side, you’ll see a pretty common 30 fps line though with the occasional dip in more populated areas. The most common occurrence in performance hiccups was the pop in the environment. Needless to say, The Outer World doesn’t just have great gameplay but it plays well too.
The fact that I genuinely felt spoiled by the way Outer Worlds performs and looks goes to show how it competes against the competition. It got me to think of how great the timing on the release was. Where its competitors flopped, Outer Worlds shows what the attention to detail and a modern the game engine can do for this western RPG formula.
The Outer Worlds does a lot with very little when it comes to its music and sound.
You see with a game from obsidian and as ambitious as this, I expected way more from its music, especially in terms of scope.
However, it doesn’t nearly have a grand orchestra track or anything, it’s reserved in how little instruments each song uses. That’s not a knock on it though because music in the Outer Worlds is great with the most notable tracks coming up while exploring the wilderness. Sound design is well done too.
Guns have a loud powerful kick sound to them that makes them satisfying to shoot. What stands out most though is the performance by the voice actors. Although the voice work may not always be in sync with the character models, the performances here are stellar.
The Outer Worlds is special in the sense it’s a story that just keeps on giving the more you put into it. It has a strong foundation for what western RPGs can be, taking bits from Fallout, Mass Effect and adding on to it more fleshed out gunplay, characters that feel like actual people and a game engine that doesn’t slowly decay as you play.
The Outer Worlds simply raises the bar for the games it took inspiration from and it goes to show how great these games can be if they get the love and attention they deserve.
I give The Outer Worlds 4 out of 5 stars.