The Outer Worlds Review
As I get older, it takes alot more for a game to pull me in and keep my attention, but right from the beginning The Outer Worlds had me. From the moment you exit your escape pod and realize that you’ve crushed your contact whose body lies mangled under your pod, you know you’re in for a treat.
It’s almost impossible to play The Outer Worlds without comparing it to the Fallout series, but the title keeps its own identity and pulls off a lot of things really well in the process. The overall aesthetic of The Outer Worlds feels as if it’s beautifully payed homage to early 50’s and 60’s sci-fi art and B-movies. The color palette is colorful and welcoming, and although I think it fits perfectly into the art style, I still personally found it to be too much on my eyes periodically after long plays. That’s not to say it doesn’t it doesn’t look great, because it does, I’m just speaking my experience, which could have resulted from past LSD use.
The Outer Worlds is NOT a fully open-world game, and holy shit it comes so much more refreshing than you think it would. The game is built of zones, more reminiscent of Borderlands than Fallout 4. Additionally, you have the ability to fast travel to any of your previously visited locations, which I used to their full advantage, although sometimes I would just make the journey on foot either to explore or get some good ole’ combat experience. Especially since I accidentally talked my way out of a bunch of fights.
I put alot of skill points toward my social abilities like persuasion and lying, because I really enjoy getting my way of course, but this would cause me to sometimes choose the dialog options relevant to my skills without really taking to account that it would end the altercation right then and there. This is one of the things that makes The Outer Worlds great though, the well written dialog and the ability to make impacts on the story. Another thing about the dialog, there’s a lot of it. The Outer Worlds is overflowing with content and there is a ton of spoken dialog to go with it. The voice acting and character building are superb so every bit of this dialog is super enjoyable, there’s just, well like I said…a lot of it. Therefore I can’t lie and I gotta tell ya I skipped some of it because I have some terminal version of ADD.
Every time I visited new planets and acquired new side quests I felt no pressure whatsoever to follow them in any order, and by the time the main story rolls around to (small SPOILER alert) you re-board the Hope, the story flies along so fast because it’s so entertaining, Obsidian did such a damn good job with keeping you engrossed in thn.e story, especially after things really start to pick up a couple of hours in.
The skill system is remarkably clever, particularly in the early game. Instead of investing in individual skills you put points into categories to raise three skills at once, like pumping the Stealth category to raise Sneak, Hack, and Lockpick. After reaching the 20 point mark each of these individual skills grants a useful bonus. For example, at 20 Lockpick you get to open level 1 locks without losing a pick. Once a skill in a category hits 50 you go from investing in categories to individual skills, at which point you need to specialize.
By frontloading all these options at a relatively low investment cost, you’re encouraged to dabble in multiple weapon types, conversation options, and mechanics in the early hours while you’re still trying to figure out what your character will be doing. This is a brilliant idea, even if later breakpoints 40/60/80/100 could have been more creative.
The Outer Worlds is a memorable RPG experience reminiscent of the Fallout glory days. Which is perfect right now because Fallout doesn’t remind us of the Fallout glory days.