The Outer Worlds comes from Obsidian, the creators of the ever-popular Fallout: New Vegas addition into the Fallout franchise, arguably the best Fallout game around. But this time, Obsidian has focused on space travel, as The Outer Worlds is not just based on one planet like Fallout was. Here, your adventure sees you planet hopping, completing objectives all over the star system Halcyon
Halcyon has been colonised by corporations, a different one for each planet, and this is where you come in. Mad scientist Phineas Welles wakes you up from your frozen deep sleep state. Your pod, on an abandonned ship called The Hope was one of thousands, each filled with scientists and colonists. In true RPG fashion, you begin by choosing your gender, and distributing skill points among the many talents your hero could potentially posess. Oh, and a name. We were called Leonard Kriegson.
From here, your first objectives take place on the planet Terra-2, a small fishing village like town called Edgewater. You’re supposed to rendezvous with Captain Hawthorne, but the fool ends up getting crushed by your drop pod, and therefore giving you chance to assume the role of Hawthorne and take his ship, the Unreliable. From here, the game sees you completing tasks, objectives and missions for the local residents of each place you visit. However, most of the time you’re going to be completing fetch quest after fetch quest. Something that’s not too unusual to RPG games.
The Outer Worlds is full of rich detail, and one that can easily compete with the likes of Fallout 76, which has been plagued with issues since launch. If I were you, I’d go for this over 76.
Where the game does shine is with its dialogue. There’s A LOT of it, and envoked feelings inside that I don’t usually get from video games. There’s a whole range of emotions, from happiness, sadness, laughter and confusion. Each character you speak to feels utterly unique, and depending on your stats, offer unique dialogue options to your game. If your character is classed as “dumb” for example, you get some really quirky dialogue choices. A highlight of mine is taking your companion Felix through Vicar Max’s quest line. Companions have their own quests that you can complete. The quest saw us at some kind of sweat lodge, inhaling a hallucinogenic which makes ghouls appear. Felix’s dialogue in this section is absolutely classic, and had me in stitches!
Throughout my time with The Outer Worlds, I couldn’t quite escape that Fallout feeling, to the point where it just felt like I was playing an extended universe Fallout game. There’s very little distinction (except setting of course) that makes this feel truly unique. We’ve seen it before. Granted, Fallout: New Vegas is one of the better Fallout games, but a little distance from a once great series for something a little more original would have been nice.
Another glaring issue I found with The Outer Worlds is the fact that it was so short. The main story quest can be clocked in at maybe 8-10 hours if that, and speed runners have already been blasting through it in 12 minutes. There is a large amount of side content here though, and I advise you get stuck into that for the most part to really get your money’s worth. And truly, the companion quests are some of the most engaging in terms of stories and drama.
Customisation here is a little lackluster too, especially when it came to body armour and guns. By the end of the game I had myself and all my companions dressed in the same Corporate body armour, as it was commonly dropped by enemies then, and seemed to be the most powerful. I had so much money that I could keep upgrading those sets again and again using a workbench. By the end of the game I was late 20s in level, and nothing could really touch me. Even the ending boss was a breeze.
I also wanted more guns. Simple as that. There were a lot of reused models, with names like Light Pistol Mk. 2. There are a few unique weapon and armour sets you can find, but again, they still use the same models and designs as the generic guns. Only differences are the stats. This was disappointing to say the least.
A nice touch, and one that’s really a trait to RPG style games is the fact you don’t need to resort to gun play on every single mission. You can employ a host of skills to get past certain objectives. Sometimes you can sneak your way into a building, if your sneak is high enough. Other times you can talk your way out of a problem, if your speech and persuade traits are high enough. It’s really nice to see that these have been employed here again, and really in a big way. I’ve seen people get through the game by literally killing everyone they come across. If that’s your bag, then great, it can be done. Others, like the speed runner I mentioned earlier, used speech and sneak and hardly fired a shot, if any shots.
It’s unfair to class this game as a AA game, when really Obsidian should be playing in the big leagues with this one. Sure, it’s short, and has a basic narrative of “TAKE DOWN THE EVIL CORPORATIONS” but Obsidian have done such a great job in wrapping a bland story up in a decent setting, and layering a HUGE amount of side quests over the top. There’s a lot to explore here, and to be truthful, I didn’t visit every single planet in my first playthrough. Which is good, because it can keep me coming back for months. At time of writing this review, The Outer Worlds is exclusive to the Epic Game Store, so head over there to check it out.