The Outer Worlds is the newly released game from Obsidian Entertainment, it’s thought by many people to be a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas and naturally being a massive RPG and Fallout fan I just had to play this. So let’s not get it twisted, although Microsoft bought Obsidian, this game did not make use of all of Microsoft’s capital as the game was already in production prior and a deal was inked out with publisher Private Division, so this game is not AAA. What that means for the game is that it is a smaller title that skirts the line between a Double AA game and a Triple AAA one.
The first thing the budget means is that this game is not as big as you may originally think based on the Microsoft transaction, New Vegas is still a much larger game with Outer Worlds only being around 30 hours. However, does size matter in this instance? No, it doesn’t. The game is still chock full of content for you to experience and enjoy, albeit on smaller maps.
This game is not an open world, think of it as an Open Hub game, meaning it is an *area* that is open for you to explore. The size of these areas range from small to large, with an area such as Byzantine being relatively small as it is only one city, and with another area such as Monarch being rather big as it has several cities and lots of land. Don’t be scared away though, these hubs despite the size house many quests and none overstay their welcome.
At the start of the game, they immediately put you into a character creator. The character creator in this game is very in depth and you can make whoever you want to make as there are lots of options and The Outer Worlds is an RPG for you to be whoever you want to be. The one detraction of this is the streamlined skill system. This system works mostly, but the issue with it is that it groups its skills. So say you want to be a run of the mill hillbilly with Low Intelligence who is strong and likes to intimidate people, you can’t do it because the game forces you to invest points in persuasion and lying since they are all grouped. So the grouping of skills makes it harder to role play in some areas, but overall nothing major there, as skills are all good and you get different bonuses for getting them up higher levels.
So how about the Humor and Story though? Both are excellent, and this game goes to show that you can do humor and be funny without making constant fart jokes, as this game’s humor is much more cheeky and built in the universe’s absurdity. The story is also great and what you would expect of a game. There are many paths in the quest and lots of skill checks. Talking and persuasion can solve most things or by killing them. You can also kill anyone in the game and choose what path you go down. So if you are an RPG fan who loves choice and replayability then this game provides all of that for you as because of the many paths you can replay it several times and find new things to do in the game.
You can have relationships with each faction, similar to New Vegas. If you do something positive for them, then they will like you more, and prices will be better for you, and vice versa. So you can customize who you like and don’t enjoy depending on how you treat each faction in the game.
As for the synopsis, you are the unplanned variable woken up from sleep in the colony of Halcyon, it is a long way from earth and the colony is run by The Board and corporations. Whereas in the original Fallout the meta-story was about the Cold War and how humans could be our demise, this story offers its take on how unchecked capitalism can be dangerous.
The gameplay in The Outer Worlds is also as you would expect. The shooting is decent, although I will note that at times it seemed hard to aim and I would have to adjust the sensitivity. The melee in the game seems to be simply decent as well. The game has a similar system to VATS, called time dialation, it is where you essentially slow down time and can aim and shoot wherever you like, I found this helpful and used it a good bit. The weapons variety is limited though, after you get to a certain point you see Mk 2 of weapons you already have which is essentially the upgraded version of the weapon. These Mk 2 versions don’t appear until later though, and there is enough weapon variety before the Mk 2 versions to feel satisfied with it. This game also has lots of unique weapons for you to get by completing quest, so the variety, while limited, still feels good enough!
The UI in this game is not good. It feels way too cluttered and hard to find stuff, especially things like consumables. There is no easy way to search for one that gives the perk you need, so I found myself rarely even using them. The vending machines also feel cluttered and overall, I think the menus need an overhaul for the inevitable sequel. The map in the game would even refuse to load for me and I would have to exit the map and go to another place and load it up, this was a constant issue from beginning to the end. So the UI in this game is not good.
This game also features companions. All these companions have a quest, and although I found some companions more interesting than others, each is good. The companions will often make remarks about the area or quest you are in too, so there are lots of voice acting. You can customize them to be passive, aggressive, neutral. Tell them what clothes to wear, they even have their own perk tree. You can’t romance any of them though, so if you go in wanting romance, then you might be disappointed. Companions in this game are a positive, and Parvati might be one of my favorite crew members in any game just because I adore her personality.
The game has a flaw system, where if you get attacked by something long enough it will say something like “You have suffered so much plasma damage, you are extra hurt by it now” and the flaw will make you less resistant to plasma if you take it, but it will give you a perk. I love the idea of this system, however in execution, the perks just aren’t that good or as useful in perks in New Vegas, and I found leveling up gave me all the perks I needed so I rarely used this system and denied most flaws the game wanted to give me.