After 70 years spent adrift in a colony ship in space, you’re awoken from cryostasis to a galaxy owned and run by corporations, where workers struggle to survive. With the help of a mad scientist and the companions you meet, you must find a way to save your fellow colonists and stake your claim in this new galactic frontier.
“The Outer Worlds,” Obsidian Entertainment’s new first-person R.P.G., hits the ground running, literally, as you learn how to sprint after your space pod crashes on a new planet in the first moments of the game. Before you get to the action, though, you’re guided through the character creation section that makes “The Outer Worlds” feel like a classic R.P.G. Distributing points into categories such as strength, dexterity, and persuasion, and even choosing your characters past experiences, like a lab assistant or cashier, immediately puts the focus of “The Outer Worlds” on fleshing out your character over just picking stats that will do more damage in fights. Though what’s unique about building your character is what happens throughout the game. As you play, the game keeps track of things you are good and bad at and affects your character stats appropriately. For example, if you take a lot of falling damage, eventually your stats will change to make you slower, reflecting the damage to your character’s legs, while also giving you a perk point to use on your other character’s stats. It’s a unique way of character building, giving them just the tiniest of flaws or damage.
The characters you encounter and places you visit look beautiful. The first town you visit, Edgewater, is a walled-off community in the middle of a lush, colorful jungle. Inside it’s dark, and kind of bleak, giving personification to the feeling of the town’s people who are overworked and suffering from sickness. Where the graphics really shine is in the faces of the characters. They show so much emotion with the smallest of looks, moving naturally with small twitches and blinks. Speaking with these characters can be just as delightful. “It’s funny how a lot of the dialogue is like an advertisement for whatever corporate planet you’re on,” says Corey, a fellow gamer I spoke with about “The Outer Worlds.” “I think it’s realistic with all the worlds being owned by corporations.” For example, the first corporation you encounter is Spacer’s Choice (now with 30% fewer chances of a weapon misfiring!), and the N.P.C.s are ready to greet you with the company’s slogan; “you’ve tried the best, now try the rest.”
An issue I’ve run into with “The Outer Worlds” seems to be a glitch with the dialogue. When speaking with some of the N.P.C.s (non-playable characters), the conversation would suddenly jump to another topic that had nothing to do with the dialogue I’d chosen. I thought it was a glitch, but it could have been written and recorded that way, which seems odd. My other critique is that the game is a slow burn. With all of the dialogue choices and side quests and building your stats, “The Outer Worlds” moves at a slow pace, putting the action of the game as a secondary priority under plot and character building. That may not be a bad thing, though. I just prefer more action. When encounters do happen, the mechanics of the game and the use of this slowing time feature makes for some fun gunfights.
To put it simply, Obsidian’s “The Outer Worlds” feels like a mix between “Borderlands” and “Fallout,” which makes sense as they were behind “Fallout: New Vegas,” one of the more popular games in its franchise. It’s a strong call back to some of the older R.P.G.s with its stat building and interesting dialogue. The graphics and mechanics of the game work well, but the action seems to be few and far between, slowing the game down quite a bit.