THE OUTER WORLDS: Our thoughts on Obsidian’s New Space RPG

Game: The Outer Worlds

Developer – Obsidian Entertainment

Platform(s) – Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

It’s not the best. But it’s worth your money and time.

Not many games are reviewed better this year and The Outer Worlds is one of the best-reviewed games of 2k19 so far, currently rated an 86/100 on Metacritic on PS4. Divinity: Original Sin II on Switch is currently on top of the list and The Outer Worlds isn’t far behind.

The Outer Worlds
Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

The Outer Worlds is a new RPG developed by the makers of Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity. It’s very similar to the Fallout and that is what some reviewers liked most about it.

Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica says The Outer Worlds is “the best Fallout-like game in years” He wrote

It’s better at being a Fallout 3 sequel than Fallout 4 was, undoubtedly. But this is still the same gameplay skeleton as Bethesda’s classic, not an utter reworking or a wholly different 3D-RPG perspective a la The Witcher 3.

That’s fine. In fact, that’s more than fine. It’s the best open-world adventure of the year.”

A Senior Contributor at Forbes, Dave Thier, has similar praise, writing: “So far, this game has its hooks in me. I’ve only explored the colonized backwater, which is most definitely Fallout by way of Firefly, a space western with corrupt corporate chiefs, questionable grifters and a whole lot of people just tryin’ to get by. It’s good stuff, even if nothing earth-shaking so far. Again, with The Outer Worlds, we were promised the kind of RPG we know and love. And that’s exactly what we’re getting, a familiar experience in a new setting.”

The Outer Worlds
Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

Fallout isn’t the only Bethesda game The Outer Worlds is being compared to. Jeff Grubb of GamesBeat writes that the game “is the Skyrim in space I’ve always wanted.”

Grubb actually mentions Fallout plenty in his piece, however, writing:

“But does The Outer Worlds feel significantly different from the Fallout games? Not always. The towns on frontier planets could probably fit right into any of the recent Fallout games. But it starts to feel more like an epic space-exploration adventure when you get on your ship or dock on a space station or an orbiting communications satellite.

“And as I’ve played the game more, even those town and wilderness spaces are starting to remind me more of Firefly than Fallout. And that’s a very good thing.

“I wanted Outer Worlds to make me feel like Han Solo or Malcolm Reynolds in the space equivalent of the Wild West. And it definitely achieves that, which is why it is quickly climbing my game-of-the-year list.”

The Outer Worlds
Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

Okay, up to now, we were talking about similarities between Fallout and The Outer Worlds. Now let’s talk about the real stuff, i.e The Outer Worlds.

First of all, if you are willing to buy or have already bought the game, get ready to fall in love with graphics. The Unreal Engine 4 is best at its work. You will experience some brilliant graphics of playable and non-playable characters. The foreign denizens are so well written, all fully formed with their own thoughts and motivations that sometimes you may think, are they really virtual?

Along with all those graphics, the strong vocal performances, the convincingly rendered facial expressions, has put a whole new life in the game characters. This game has some of the most well written, multi-faceted, intelligent and human NPCs I’ve ever had the joy of getting to know. The intricacies of conversing with them bring their own kind of rewards, making for The Outer Worlds’ best moments. Their reactions are so precise to your behavior, the company you keep and the events that occur around them, it hurts my brain to even imagine how Obsidian accounted for every dialogue tree stored within their coded personas.

On the other hand, the combat isn’t very challenging and enemies fit into worn categories—face rush melee types, sniper types, dog types. Sometimes, the fight can go hilariously wrong and you may not be able to hold your laugh. A couple of times enemies explode into chunks with enthusiasm, often while screaming overwrought barks. It’s entertaining even when it goes wrong. I blew a man’s head clean off and he fell over screaming “aaaaargh my eyes, I can’t see!” I’ve encountered a bunch of other amusing RPG contrivances. I looted money, light, ammo, drugs, and an entire mining suit from a man’s dismembered right leg.

The Outer Worlds plasma fire
Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

There is, at least, a full cast of recruitable companions, two of whom can join you on your adventures at any one time. They bring their own flavors to the carnage via special attacks that lend a pulpy, cinematic flair to critical hits. Watching them stomp, smash, quip, and drop-kick their way through enemies was enough to keep fights entertaining, even if the efforts of my own attacks never connected with as much panache or impact.

It’s still a fun journey. We have several planets to explore rather than a single contiguous wasteland to explore. This is some unique introduction of variety. It’s a colorful universe excellent lumpen spaceships. You travel through implausible sci-fi landscapes, brightly lit space stations, and robot-infested facilities. I love the design though some minor texture popping in larger areas took me out of the moment at points.

The Outer Worlds performance stats
Image credit: Future

Obsidian’s rigorously bedded system of failsafes and alternate pathways make sure that there’ll always be a probable route for you to pursue every questline. You can kill friends, partner up with former enemies, or terrorize entire cities if you want to, there will always be a way to move further, with no arbitrary gauge of right and wrong to push you in sure directions. Sometimes, this makes many of The Outer World’s narrative selections even more difficult.

Check out: Our thoughts on The Last of Us 2

The game was a reliable and ran at a stable framerate on standard PS4 Slim, with only the odd freeze and texture pop in and around loading in assets for a new environment. Loading times are a bit of a hassle with regard to their duration and speed, but The Outer Worlds is an experience that is otherwise difficult to blame on the technical side, with a sparkling, Golden Age-inspired art style that elevates its modest graphic make-up into some very eye-pleasing playgrounds.

The Outer Worlds
Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

You wanna see Obsidian’s quality game writing skills, then play The Outer Worlds. The choice-based narrative and complex role-playing systems among the beautiful and stunning graphics plus strong vocal performances. These are enough to say that it is the beginning of next-generation games. There are still plenty of rooms for improvements like the combat can be a bit more impressive and rewarding as the rest of the games. But still, I think The Outer Worlds is one of those that can stand out of rest.

Those expecting a straight-up spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas might be surprised by Obsidian’s more contained and old-fashioned approach to science fiction, but stick with this unashamedly talkative tragic comedy, and you’ll discover one of the smartest games of the year.

THE OUTER WORLDS: Our thoughts on Obsidian’s New Space RPG

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