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REVIEW: The Outer Worlds — The Fallout We Deserve?

 
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Overview
 

Published by: Private Division
 
Developed by: Obsidian Entertainment
 
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows PlayStation 4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch (Soon)
 
Genre(s): Open-world First-Person RPG Shooter
 
Mode(s): Single-player
 
Game Type: , , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
80%
80/ 100


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Raves


Satisfying Gunplay, Stunning visuals. Brimming with activities. Good Story.

Rants


Lackluster weapons and customization. Segmented worlds.


0
Posted April 5, 2020 by

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Obsidian Entertainment’s no stranger to the role-playing game genre, having made done classics such as Neverwinter Nights and Dungeon Siege. In more recent times, they’re been known for developing Fall Out: New Vegas, a spin off that most fans consider superior to Fallout 3.

The Outer Worlds is Obsidian’s latest ‘fallout-killer’, this time with an original setting in space. The game brings some interesting new things to the genre for sure, but they’ll have to make more meaningful improvements to confidently claim superiority over the obvious competition.

STORY

As the title suggests, The Outer Worlds is set on interplanetary sci-fi space that retains that familiar vintage theme the Fallout series has been known for. You play as a crew member of Hope, a colony ship that had been adrift in space long enough to be regarded as an urban legend. Kept in suspended sleep for decades, you’ve been awoken by a mysterious stranger and finding yourself tangled up with a conspiracy that threatens the entire system of Halcyon.

Like most Fallout and Obsidian Entertainment games that came before, The Outer Worlds’ story is left for you to tackle however you want. Most missions and encounters can lead to a multitude of different outcomes, getting you to commit to one end of a spectrum or device an outcome to please both. Though some seem quite predictable, there were certainly a number of surprisingly well written moments, often being so morally ambiguous that you can’t really tell if you’ve made the right choices. This is interesting considering most of the choices you make can have a lasting impact in the Story as you progress.

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The open-endlessness of these encounters brings with it countless possibilities, making The Outer Worlds brimming with replay-ability. Whether by starting entirely new game or reloading encounters until you end up with the results you want, you can easily sink hundreds of hours well before the end of the campaign.

GAMEPLAY

On the surface, the game shares a lot of obvious similarities with Fallout. You have a set of attributes that define your character’s specialties as well as perks that grants various different passive and active abilities. Like Fallout, the way you approach situations will depend largely on how you build your character. The foundations are very much Fallout, but Obsidian does make a few subtle differences to set itself apart.

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One notably difference I noticed early on is how easy skill checks were for the first few hours. Not only are skill checks early on passable on base stats, but often in conversation, there are multiple skill checks available. You’ll then have to choose which trait to commit to as the skill check thresholds begin to rise.

I think this is fantastic in that it gives players a chance to figure out and decide on their character’s archetype before having to completely commit. Weapon skill requirements are similar to this, too. You’ll be able to utilize any weapon you want. You’ll just be more effective with certain weapons depending on your build. That isn’t to say that weapons outside of you’re specialty are useless. This is great for players who wish to build a character who specializes more on non-combat related attributes, without being completely useless in a fight.

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One clear superiority that The Outer Worlds has over fallout is gun-handling. Gun-play in Fallout has always been so-and-so, but we largely attribute that to the RPG nature of the game. The Outer Worlds makes no such excuse, as gun-handling in it is as fluent and responsive as a good FPS game. The game’s version of V.A.T.S. is quite different, too. Instead of pausing for a more tactical gameplay approach, there is instead a time-dilation mechanic that allows you to slow down the action to perform more precise shots. Certain perks and skills can further enhance this time-dilation, like the ability to move at normal speeds during time-dilation or staying in it longer for every killshot and more.

To put it simply, The Outer Worlds puts more emphasis in the FPS combat without compromising from the RPG elements… much. The weakest aspect of the game for me is in it’s loot system. Outside of the five ‘Science Weapons’ — unique weapons with unorthodox special effects, majority of The Outer Worlds weapons feel uninspired and repetitive.

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There are 6 different weapon types and about 5 major damage types. Beyond the cool visual difference of each damage types, they’re really nothing more than your typical elemental mechanics. On top of that, there are about 8 different weapon special effects, which are in turn the equivalent to status ailments which could be triggered by chance or through certain conditions. This may seem like a recipe for varying combinations, it doesn’t take long until you get tired of the same old guns. There also doesn’t seem much variety in weapon and equipment models. In terms of armor, way too many of them seem to be just palette swaps, and there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to upgrade your armor beyond swapping to something similar but with higher defense.

You can mod these weapons and armor but all that really does is swap attributes between the already limited options available. Weapon customization in The Outer Worlds is no where close to what the recent Fallout games offer.

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

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This is where I can say for certain the game has advantage over Fallout. Though the gameplay is inherently similar to the latter, it’s in the visuals that The Outer Worlds really sets itself apart. Everything is vibrant, and jumping between planets means the environments are always vastly different but all equally gorgeous. The inhabitants of The Outer Worlds don’t come off as stiff as those in Fallout.

Regardless of what the game does well or doesn’t., they’ve at least set a solid visual foundation to build upon. That said, the size of the maps aren’t much to boast about, and each are segmented between planets with very few intractable ‘dungeons’ within each. That being said, The Outer Worlds is a visual monster and you’ll definitely need a beefy rig to crank up all the settings even at only 1080p. Loading between levels and quick saves also don’t take long, and that’s on an HDD, too.

VERDICT

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Playing The Outer Worlds, it’s hard not to compare it to Fallout as often as I did. Though the game has some obvious advantages over it’s competitor, there’s also equally as many disadvantages. The shooting in Outer Worlds feels ‘worlds’ better than Fallout’s for sure, but it struggles hard to devise RPG elements to rival that of the latter’s. Thankfully in terms of Lore, world-building, and narrative, it is at least on par with its predecessor.

For Fallout fans looking for a fix to their cravings, The Outer Worlds is certainly fit to fill that void. Those who hoped for something definitively better than Fallout will have to keep hoping.

[This review is based on a retail version of the game provided by the publisher]


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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