I can tell you that I instantly felt right at home playing The Outer Worlds. Obsidian Entertainment is a name most of you should recognize. Whether it’s from Fallout: New Vegas, or all the way back to Knights of the Old Republic 2. With a few other games scattered around, like Alpha Protocol which I enjoyed. Obsidian also wanted to go off and make a game they were familiar with, and wanted no restraints on what they should do, or how the story should be told. So we get The Outer Worlds.
If you have seen trailers of the game, and thought it was Fallout in space, then you’d mostly be right. Mostly. By starting from scratch, the universe and characters are more prominent, with their own story arcs, and constant banter back and forth, that often reminded me of another game. And that would be Mass Effect. It even has a sassy ship A.I.! So now we have one big Fallout Effect family going on, and I’m determined to tell you of my days in the Halcyon system way out there in space. Spoiler free of course.
A crazy scientist decides to unfreeze you from a massive colony ship, and pretty much thrusts you right into the role of assistant to saving the Halcyon system. It’s all very familiar, with a nice touch of insanity coming from our scientist/savior who goes by Phineas Welles. The corporations have taken over, and the system is doomed to extinction, unless- you get the point.
So off I go, getting stranded on a somewhat desolate planet called Terra 2, in the Emerald Vale. As I look at my stats, I knew what this game was about. Dialogue checks, picking locks, and hacking computers. Yes, there is gun play, but I knew that I had to pay attention to putting points into the areas that all the fun stuff would be had. I wasn’t disappointed. Loot drops such as armor, change appearance, but also give buff to certain stats, which helps when you’re just shy of picking that lock or passing that speech check. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this game so much, is the fact that I truly feel like you are getting more powerful, and the game rewards you for it. Sort of a- we see all the stat points you have put in, so we won’t make you slowly inch your way through progression. Go out and have fun! And remember to choose Spacer’s Choice! Wait…. What?
Those corporations I mentioned? They are everywhere. Literally. You live and die by what brand you are using and working for. The ads are laughable. From signs on the walls, commercials, and drones flying around in your face telling you to buy their product. All of these corporations are fighting each other, which is only bringing about their eventual demise. Then you have The Board, who pretty much run everything. And they all have missions lined up. So, what are you to do? The short answer? Whatever you want.
Want to fight back against the corporations and help Phineas? Want to betray Phineas and work for The Board? How about work for yourself? It’s all there. This is a true choose your own space adventure, complete with the option to kill almost everyone in the game at a whim. And that’s where the combat system, you know, helps out with all of that. Unlike the Fallout games, the combat feels great here. Grab a melee weapon and go to town, complete with stat bonuses depending on the weapon, what damage type, elemental damage, etc. The sounds and hitting all feel pretty good too. I usually go for the nice stealth attack for a good old one hitter most of the time. Well, on humans and robots anyway. But there are plenty of space monsters to make sure you are running and gunning with all the latest tech.
Again, the gun play is infinitely better than Fallout. Yes, there is a sort of V.A.T.S. system here, but you just slow down time and aim for vital parts. Honestly, I rarely used it, as the frantic combat was more enjoyable and easy to get used to. So I’m traveling around space, gathering companions for my crew, enjoying the story, the dialogue, and even the well thought out side missions that lead to some zany boss fights and climaxes. One drawback is that each planet has a set amount of areas to play around in. Some are huge, open world planets with towns, other planets are just one or two areas. And while I get the reason, it might turn some Fallout fans away here. Me personally, I really enjoy the Fallout games, but a desert wasteland bores me visually. So the location swaps are personally fine just how they are. What you get here isn’t as expansive, with an almost never ending amount of things to do. You get a more compact adventure, that focuses on having fun and feeling like you’re ready to conquer the system and answer to only yourself. At least that’s how I felt. Yes, there could have been a bit more to the game, and even a little more time for polish, but not to the point of making it a big complaint.
I think The Outer Worlds is worth checking out. And if you are on the fence, it is on Game Pass for PC and Xbox, which completely sounds like I’m plugging here, but I’ll risk it. At the end of the day, it’s just a service, so check it out at your own leisure. Or don’t. I just wanted to let you know of your options here folks. There were no Spacer’s Choice, Auntie Cleo’s, or Boarstwurst Game Pass ads in game that I’m aware of! End transmission……
The game rewards you fast to feel powerful
Combat is fun, frantic, and limbs explode
Story, characters, everything is wrapped up nicely here
The worlds are not as open as I'd like
Some more time to add a final polish would have helped here