By Staff Writer Eric Sousa
The Outer Worlds, a game released on October 25th, is a first-person RPG set in a multi-planetary universe. It has some of the best story-telling I’ve ever experienced. It has a diversity of weapons, playthroughs, and characters. This means that no playthrough will ever be a repeat. It has a plethora of good qualities, but it has my most important game characteristic baked into every detail: competence.
A lot of the discussion surrounding this game relies on the ties that the developer, Obsidian, has to the Fallout universe. There is nothing worse than following the hype of a game just to have it fall flat on its face out the gate. Bethesda, the developer of the two most recent Fallout games, is a master of that.
After months of build-up, a disappointing product hits the consumer right in the gut. Out of the two companies that have been producing the Fallout series, Bethesda and Obsidian, Bethesda is the company that always supplies the disappointment.
Obsidian and Bethesda had different approaches to doing the Fallout series justice, as in Obsidian would and Bethesda wouldn’t. In the last pairing, where Bethesda produced Fallout 3 and Obsidian produced Fallout: New Vegas, the latter was seen as the fan favorite.
Many fans tout New Vegas as having a better story, better dialogue, better immersion, and better everything. It is this history of development that cemented Obsidian as the fan favorite for producing Fallout games, and made Bethesda the subject of ire from the fans of Fallout.
The gaming community didn’t want another shooter like they got with Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. Sure, it looked familiar, but it didn’t have that feeling of immersive storytelling that made the classic Fallout games so special. In short, they wanted character development rolled in with a captivating setting, surrounded by so many detail-oriented responses it feels like the world molds around how you play. Obsidian heard the call and answered.
The Outer World is Obsidian’s response to Fallout 4. It is their way of saying, “Oh, you meant to make THIS game,” before rolling out an RPG masterpiece. Funnily enough, it’s not a Fallout game. They didn’t get the rights. But what they did do was take the energy of Fallout and capture it in a way Bethesda never could.
Off the bat, it’s beautiful. Casting off the post-apocalyptic setting of Fallout, The Outer Worlds takes that energy and launches it into a planetary-capitalist society. A society where efficiency is religion and everybody in power is a zealot. Some of the planets are cast in hues of blue, others roasting in tawny reds and golds. They’re all, however, beautiful.
The interactions with other characters are hard to explain, if you’ve never played a decent RPG before. It’s hard to imagine changing your decisions based on the scorn or praise you’ll receive from non-playable characters. But it’s real. The sympathy you feel for the well-written survivors is real, and the anger you feel for the greedy megalomaniacs is palpable.
There is no one way to solve any situation in The Outer Worlds, which is similar to the good parts of old Fallout games. The player can bully their way through the front door or the player can use their wits, charm, or deception to find another way in. In one sequence, the player can assume the role of a doctor to get into a hospital. The protagonist can convince a town you care, or they can siphon their oxygen for the business mogul’s paycheck. You won’t have to sacrifice how you want to play the game to proceed, you’ll just close a couple doors by choosing one.
In summary, the game grips you. It causes you to care about fictional characters, their individual wants and personalities. The game judges you or praises you for your actions, and usually different characters will have reverse opinions on your actions. The game will provide you a hundred different scenarios that you will approach a thousand different ways, but it’ll always feel important.
I give this game an 8.4/10. If RPG’s are your forte, then this is absolutely a game to add to your repertoire. It you’re not into RPG’s, then I’m pleasantly surprised you took the time to read this.