Review: The Outer Worlds

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Publisher: Private Division

Genre: RPG

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch (2020) 

Rating: M for Mature

Price $59.99

 

The Outer Worlds was first announced at the 2018 Game Awards. Obsidian had a long run of creating action RPGS, including Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and the cult classic and criminally underrated Alpha Protocol. While it seems Obsidian has been quiet the past few years, they’ve actually been hard at work releasing the Pillars of Eternity games. Also looming in the backgrounds was the Microsoft acquisition of Obsidian.

Much to my surprise, The Outer Worlds was still released on PS4. The Outer Worlds is a sci-fi,  first-person, action RPG game I feel we’ve been waiting for, especially after the industry has had to endure Mass Effect Andromeda, and Anthem. I don’t mean to beat up on those games too much as they do have redeeming qualities and offer fun. But The Outer Worlds delivers where those games certainly choked.

Content Guide

Violence: The Outer Worlds is a violent game. It contains guns, flamethrowers, and melee weapons. certainly not for the faint of heart blood spatters in gunfights and melee.

With plasma weapons and flame enemies scream in pain, the catch fire, burn and end up as piles of ash one of my favorite details.

Alcohol and Drug Use:- One of your companions is an alcoholic, you spend time in taverns bars, you can buy and consume alcohol.

Profanity: Words such as sh!t d@mn f&ck bit@h are heard frequently in dialogue and firefights

Canabalism: During a quest you come across a strange family who turn out to be cannibals. This quest is reminicent of a similar adventure in Fallout 3.

I don’t recall any sexual content dialogue or nudity. In fact, the player cannot romance other NPCs, but one extended sidequest involves the player hooking up NPCs with each other.

If violence or foul language is a barrier for you, don’t play this game.

Iconoclasts

Religion: There is a faction called the Iconoclasts. This group is an anti-corporatist whose co-leader who refers to Philosophism, to spur his  movement. I joined this faction because a side quest involves repairing a printing press which was an important item in church history. Alternatively, Maximillian DeSoto, a companion, is a memeber of The Order of Scientific Inquiry. This faith is the opposite of the Philosophists, who are pro-corpratist.

Review

The story of The Outer Worlds is fun and unique, with dark and twisted humor popping up during deeply inappropriate times. Mega corporations are in charge and colonize and terraform alien worlds. The corporations promise work and citizenship. Similar to the action sci-fi movie Starship troopers. To aid  in colonization, massive ships are used to transport huge amounts of settlers. However, one of the ships goes off track and is presumed as lost in space. But the starship Hope is discovered and a mad scientist-type character named Phineas has found the Hope, and slowly starts reanimating those colonizers from their hyper sleep. The only thing is, the ship has been drifting for 70 years and has mostly been forgotten by most people. This fact comes up in dialogue options with your character. But Then Phineas awakens your character. You are then are able to customize your character, his  or her background, starting traits and perks. After that point you embark on a mission of saving your Hope shipmates as well as bringing down the establishment.

Companions

You will work with a great crew of companions, fight or join factions, and explore vast and varied alien worlds.  One of my favorite planets to explore is Monarch. It is a beautiful planet full of marauders, enemy factions, a family of cannibals, and crazy wildlife who want nothing more than to spit acid in your face or tear you limb from limb.  I mentioned Starship Troopers above, and I feel that book/movie was a direct inspiration for some of the praying mantis like alien beasts you’ll fight, as well as the heveay corporatist presence. They are swift and tough, and can easily one-shot you if you’re unprepared. Even though Monarch is dangerous, I still plan on wrapping up all of its sidequests.

A second planet of interest is Byzantium. It’s like going to an elitist country club you don’t belong in, on the scale of an entire city. You’re an outsider, the residents aren’t shy about you letting you know that you are inferior. There are other worlds to explore but I don’t want to spoil your discoveries.

A mining town on Monarch

I hate to do this, but The Outer Worlds is a deeply political game. It addresses classism and consumerism, with a heavy poor vs. wealthy contrast. The game takes a deep dive at a how corporations treat employees by hiding information, diverting resources from where they should be used, and promising programs like early retirement when they are not what is actually advertized. I see similarities with the movie Idiocracy and The Outer Worlds. Music here consists of lines from corporate slogans and commercials, and the people just buy-in. Its funny because some of the dialog I heard from NPC is some of the same language I used when I was an assistant manager for one of the world’s largest retailers.

On the deck of the space ship, Unreliable.

Gameplay-wise, The Outer Worlds is great. It’s similar to first-person shooting RPG like Borderlands. Initially, gunplay wasn’t fun and enemies were bullet sponges. However, after I took my time and learned how to use the workbench and upgrade system, combat became fun and engaging; I actually began to out combat.

I absolutely love plasma guns and science weapons. In typical RPG fashion, the game has main quests and side quests. This brings my second real complaint: main quests are too long. I enjoy long games, but if a quest takes longer than an hour to complete, it’s too long. Admittedly, part of this added length involves picking up side quests along the way. In a weird but good way, The Outer Worlds reminds me of several games: Fallout for obvious reasons, Mass Effect because of the outer space exploration and Bioshock because to the weird dark humor and vending machines. Also, a cool combat feature is a time slowdown it reminds me of V.A.T.S. from Fallout, but I like this more.

If you enjoy deep engaging stories and strong RPG elements or science fiction. I completely recommend The Outer Worlds. In a sea of large recently released RPGs I prefer Outer Worlds slightly more than Greedfall but it’s a small margin. For me, science fiction will always edge out fantasy. If you have the time and budget play both certainly do so. The Outer Worlds is definitely more than Fallout in outer space.

The Bottom Line

 

 

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Lucas Miller

I'm a husband, father, and disabled pastor. Currently living in Nebraska and living the "Good Life." I love action-adventure games, RPGs, and platforming games. I'm also a fan of comic books, movies, and books. I'm happy to be a part of GUG. I'll probably talk about theology and accessibility.

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