The Outer Worlds

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Charles Phipps, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Link: https://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-outer-worlds-review.html

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    Country roads, take me home, to a place--oh wait, wrong game. Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. Ah, yes, that's much better. Outer Worlds is one of the three games I've been looking forward to with the others being Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 and Cyberpunk 2077. Basically, the video game industry has all but killed my love of gaming with some recent disasters that seem utterly determined to remove anything resembling storytelling and nuance from the genre. I don't know what happened that caused so many developers to come down so hard on games as artistry but they've done an amazing job of squeezing it out from the medium.

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    I liked his original Doc Brown look even more.

    If you'll forgive a short rant: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Fallout 76, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and the increasingly theme park Assassins Creed games just left me feeling cold. Those are also games that I bothered to play. Ghost Recon Wildlands may have been a generic game but it at least had a plot that involved politics of some kind unlike Breakpoint. I didn't go in expecting the Outer Worlds to be the redemption of video games as a medium but that's what I got.

    The premise of the game is you are one of a generation ship's colonists, similar to Mass Effect: Andromeda, that have been frozen for decades. Awakened by an eccentric scientist, Phineas Wells, you are asked to help him free the other colonists that need a special collection of chemicals to waken them all up safely. I can't help but wonder if the premise is a bit of a jab at Fallout 4 but virtually the entire game feels like an extended "this is how you should have done it" to Bethesda. Frankly, while, I defended Fallout 4, this is well-deserved.

    It's difficult to describe what the plot is after this because you have an incredible amount of freedom post-awakening. You can turn in the scientist who freed you by the second hub and immediately go to work for the evil megacorporations that you've seen can't run a salted tuna factory without killing people. You can kill all of the NPCs, utterly derail the plot, and betray every faction you've aligned with multiple times until everyone hates you.

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    Its a beautiful system.

    The game world is a beautifully rendered, vaguely comedic retro-future that resembles a 1930s-esque vision of the future with corporate rulership mixed with Flash Gordon aesthetics. If I had to give an explanation of what it looks like, imagine Bioshock: Infinite's Columbia with none of the racism and all of the corruption but set it in space instead of the atmosphere. Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky didn't adopt a retro-future feel for the original Fallout games (that's more a Fallout 3 thing) but they take that here and run with it. It's like Firefly's Western feel updated by about thirty years.

    Each of the locations are well-done with lots of quirky townsfolk, fun little missions, and humor. There's a bit of a Borderlands 2 feel to the place with everyone some manner of idiot or insane but that makes sense since that was strongly influenced by Fallout. The maps are a bit cramped with none of the other games wandering and everything over the next hill but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Your character can also be a complete jackass with some incredibly witty dialogue from the protagonist. The fact they're a silent protagonist does little to take away from amusing they are.

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    The secret ingredient of saltuna is...people! No, not really.

    The Companions are quite well done with most of them resembling off-brand versions of the Serenity crew mixed-and-matched. You travel with a Vicar, a mechanic, a space pirate, and a couple of other fun characters that certainly liven up the game. There's no romance option in the game and I feel that's a shame. My favorite character is easily Parvati, the sweet as pie mechanic who is socially awkward to the point of being unable to even speak in the presence of her crush.

    What surprises me is that the game is as relentlessly political as it is. The corporations running the Halcyon system are horrifically bad at it. They cut corners on basic survival matters, deny scientific facts, and attempt to misuse the local religions to keep the masses quiet. They're also incompetent at running things so that the entirety of the colony project is on the verge of mass starvation. Not because they're being evil. No, it's worse than that. The fundamental problem is the skills of making money are different from caring for people. Charismatic slogans and victim blaming do not solve the problem. If anyone has read any of my books, no points for guessing what I think of these views.

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    I love The Unreliable.

    Gameplay-wise, this is basically Fallout: New Vegas with shooting and looting as well as skills plus perks. Given that Bethesda did away with all the RPG elements of their RPG shooter series, it's kind of ironic that this is basically an idealized version of the RPG-shooter that many fans initially complained about with Fallout 3. Given Fallout: New Vegas was awesome, though, I have no complaints. I also appreciate they've just completely done away with hacking and lockpicking minigames. If you have a high-enough skill for it, you can do it. If not, then you have to find another way around it.

    This is a game you have to take a slow and methodical approach to. The quests aren't easily marked and the game doesn't hand hold you to find them. A lot of people have speed-run through the game and missed hours of content. Overall, I think the game is about 15 to 30 hours long if you vary between a main-quester and completitionist. This is a smaller game than I'd hoped but it's got more content than may be initially apparent if you do bother to ask around and do every little bit.

    In conclusion, The Outer Worlds is an incredibly fun game and extremely good. I'm not going to give it a 10 out of 10, though, because it feels pretty small for an interstellar game. The tight budget constraints and development time meant this is a AA game rather than a AAA game. That's not a bad thing and I got more than my money's worth. I just hope they do a bunch of lengthy DLC expansions and have a bigger sequel. This is a great single-player experience and its relatively modest size means I wouldn't mind buying a lot more in its style.

    9/10
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I think it is a 7/10 for me thus far. It feels generic a lot of the time for me.
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    It feels like Fallout in Space, which is pretty much what I wanted after the failure of Fallout 76. I came here basically for a hamburger and fries rather than the Witcher 3.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I didn't come for The Witcher 3, either. Once you get into the game, it becomes a very generic experience with every corporation looking and acting the same exact way, except for the signage. All the building across all the colonies look pretty much exactly the same. That is part of what makes it feel "small". A small map and planets that are mostly indistinguishable from one another.

    I do think there is a nucleus there that would be interesting to see moved forward.
     
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  5. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm really enjoying this at the moment. I'm about 21 hours in, as I've been doing my best to do as many side missions as possible as I go. I like how open it all is, with some wonderful characters along the way.

    The aesthetics are like if Fallout an Bioshock had a baby, and I love how it looks.

    I'm with you on how Andromeda and Fallout 76 didn't really do much for me. This is certainly filling the hole I was hoping they'd fill. I haven't actually bought the game yet, I just signed up for Game Pass again, and it's on there from day one of release. I'm tempted to buy it because I can't see how a second or third run through will be the same as what I'm trying now.
     
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  6. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I got it today and played for about 3 and a half hours (basically the whole first world with the sidequests), and this game is really great. I love playing it, the writing is good (and funny), ad the overall story is interesting. This is definitely living up to the hype for me.
     
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  7. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This will likely be the next game I get after I'm finished with God of War. I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. Although one thing that annoys me from what I've seen is that the NPC dialogue are like talking heads again. That's one thing that I liked about Fallout 4; they made the NPC interactions feel more dynamic and they moved around a lot while talking rather than being locked into a dialogue frame. It's a nitpick, and It won't stop me from playing, but I still thought that maybe we'd have moved beyond that now.
     
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  8. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finally finished my walk-through and loved my ending. I can't wait to come back to this again in the future and have much more selfish attitude to the game, and see what hell I can bring to proceedings.
     
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  9. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    This is Obsidian at their best - with a Microsoft budget.

    It's AAA New Vegas - in space.

    So, in conclusion, 5/5 stars, GOTY.
     
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  10. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought Obsidian had started this before being purchased by them? I think the true test will be with their next game. Also interesting that this is showing up on PS4 too, as they could just as easily made it an exclusive to the XBox.
     
  11. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeap very impressive game, and it makes every broken unfinished Bethesda game that was thrown out the door look amateurish and embarrassing.
     
  12. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft, its being published by a company called Private Division, and MS had no choice over what platforms that publisher put The outer Worlds, since Obsidian was already making the game for TPD. Going forward, Obsidian games will only be made with MS, but MS had no authority over this particular game (although the probably have the rights over any potential sequels).
     
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  13. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ahh, I see. Yeah, I figured something like that was the case.
     
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  14. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

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    Just finished it...

    That was a very enjoyable 30 hours and I look forward to the DLC. It's been a long time since I found a really enjoyable single player game and it really has helped me get back into gaming.

    Next up - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (when it comes out).
     
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  15. Ketwolski

    Ketwolski Ensign Red Shirt

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    Jan 7, 2017
    Just finished my first playthough. If you like exploration and dialogue RPGs then its a no brainer to play. I enjoyed it a lot....now its time for a run through by killing everyone and becoming the Chairman!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
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