At its core, The Outer Worlds is a celebration of everything that makes RPGs great. More specifically, it celebrates everything that makes Obsidian RPGs great. The devs have masterfully crafted a unique-yet-recognizable romp that stays true to their core skills, while not changing too much of anything in the process.
Anyone familiar with Obsidian Entertainment games will recognize The Outer Worlds' main setup right away.
It's a fairly straightforward mix of cRPG-esque/KOTOR-like skill mechanics, stats, and trees mixed with Fallout: New Vegas-style FPS action, all blended seamlessly with the snark the studio is known for. It's a mish-mash of some of the best features in the genre, and The Outer Worlds is a kind of vehicle that propels these types of games into the modern mainstream.
While the FPS mechanics really aren't that special--sorry Obsidian, but you really can't compete with the id Software-powered Fallout 4 here--the main RPG systems are exemplary and refined to a fine sheen. It's here where The Outer Worlds really shines.
What makes the game's RPG systems so great is there's no real feeling of loss or regret. Thanks to the hugely dynamic and multi-faceted skill system that sees certain abilities affecting unexpected things, you never really feel like you're making a mistake.
The system is immensely synergistic and ties everything together in this awesome package that actually makes your character feel, well, like a powerful character.
For example, Persuasion isn't just for dialog. It actually affects combat. Having a higher persuade skill will literally cause the Cower status effect in humans, which basically stuns them for a short period of time. The higher your persuasion skill, the more damage you do against Cowered targets.
The same is true for the Lie skill (yes, there's a Lie skill, and it's awesome), which can confuse and Scramble robots to fight on your side. The Intimidate skill is the same and causes wild creatures to flee in Terror. This is great for a ranged character who likes picking off baddies from a distance.
Again, all of these dialog skills affect gameplay outside of dialog. That's incredibly refreshing to see, and the way Obsidian did it deserves lots of commendation.
Skills give you nifty bonuses every 20 levels. There are lots of unique choices here to round out your character's abilities in and outside of combat. Throw in an awesome companion system that not only lets you equip your team with custom weapon and armor loadouts but also pick their passive perks; you have the blueprint for some truly synergistic builds.
There's a great perk tree that gets better and better as you level up. Mixing and matching your perks properly is essential to surviving on harder difficulties like Supernova.
You can respec your character for some bits (the in-game currency) on your ship, which is great. But more important than that, the game gives you plenty of opportunities to solve specific problems in specific ways. If you don't have enough Persuasion for a dialog skill-check, you can chug some purple berry wine for a boost, or have Felix jump in your party.
The game gives you many ways to shore up your weaknesses, whether it be with specific gear, consumables, or your teammate's passives.
The items themselves are great. There's tons of stats, elemental affinities, and a systemic series of values that defines the classes of items--whether it be 2handed mauls or fast pistols. Everything is balanced in a way that seems fair and useful, depending on your build.
Ultimately, The Outer Worlds isn't all that innovative. It's more cohesive than anything and consistent. The game ties together a lot of the classic things Obsidian is known for in a delectable treat rather than pushing any real new boundaries. And honestly, that's enough. But it's important to understand what the game is and what it isn't.
The Outer Worlds does a lot of things that other games did before it. The game essentially borrows some of the best things from gaming while being infused with Obsidian's amazing storytelling.
It has its own VATS-style system that slows time instead of freezing it, a nifty dodge-roll mechanic, as well as a big crafting system that lets you upgrade, repair, or mod weapons and armor. It lets you use a variety of weapons, from melee two-handers to guns and sniper rifles, and there are lots of consumables.
One interesting thing The Outer Worlds did was the inhaler, which is kind of like the alchemy skill in Elder Scrolls games. With a high enough Medical skill, you can add up to four consumables into the inhaler and get some serious bonuses at once. This is immensely helpful during the harder mini-boss battles.
Combat in itself isn't all that crazy and tends to get rather rote and sometimes tedious. The basic formula for The Outer Worlds is: pick up a quest, talk to some NPCs, run around in the world and shoot stuff, and loot items. That's pretty basic for any game these days, and it's not to say that certain moments don't pop out, but I would say combat isn't entirely memorable.
If anything, combat is a playground for you to test out your new goodies, whether it be a new skill or shiny new gun. A lot of the time, it feels like it's there to break up the awesome dialog sequences.
Last updated: Dec 8, 2019 at 06:11 am CST