Obsidian Entertainment has a rich and varied history in games development. While they’ve produced titles across a number of genres, their experience lies within RPGs. It makes sense, as the studio was built from past employees of Black Isle Studios – known as the original creators of the Fallout series. Once Bethesda acquired the series, the new team at Oblivion would ultimately go on to create Fallout: New Vegas, which many would argue is the best in the series.
I mention Fallout here because their latest release – The Outer Worlds – has drawn similar comparisons to the series. The game design feels very familiar, but instead of being dropped into a radioactive wasteland, you’re exploring space. Instead of fending off radroaches and super mutants, you’ll face off against canids and mantiqueens (to name a few). Despite the familiarity, The Outer Worlds still thankfully still feels unique, and goes so far as to succeed where the Fallout series has recently fallen short.
In The Outer Worlds, your character is found onboard The Hope – a colonist ship drifting through space. Its inhabitants have been in cryosleep the entire time, but one of them (you) is revived by Phineas Welles, a scientist who has found the ship.
Phineas needs our help in securing resources. The Halycon colony has fallen on hard times thanks to the misconduct of various megacorporations, and he believes The Hope holds the answer. With that, our adventure begins and we’re released from The Hope and heading to the first planet; Terra 2.
Halcyon is made up of multiple planets and colonies, each with its own style and environment. Some of the locations you’ll visit are safe havens for Halcyon’s inhabitants. The Groundbreaker and the ever-so-regal Byzantium are just a few examples of this. Other locations, such as The Emerald Vale aren’t so safe, with its towns borders riddled with enemy threats. No matter the location, each planet looks great in The Outer Worlds. They all feel unique enough in their design that travelling between each planet actually feels like you’re going to someplace completely different.
As you progress through the game the narrative will be built around the dialogue choices and character that the player wants to be. If you have the necessary skills, you can get through much of the game by saying the right thing at the right time. Alternatively, you can go in guns blazing too. I liked to utilise speech skills to unlock alternative solutions to quests, and I wasn’t much of a bad guy either, but seeing these capabilities in games is always awesome to see.
On your journey, you’ll encounter and recruit a number of companions to aid you. They’re easily some of my favourite characters in the game. Each companion comes with their own questline where you can learn more about them and what their motivations are. These quests, along with just general conversations that you can engage with your companions, make them so much more than just a glorified support in combat. I was genuinely interested in learning more about them, and by the time I finished the game, I felt much more attached to characters like Parvati and Vicar Max than I have been with companion characters in other games.
The Outer Worlds is great, but there are some areas where the game falls flat. The game suffers from excruciatingly long load times. I was playing on an Xbox One S, and there were times where I’d be waiting for up to a minute. For a game that needs to load new areas often, it doesn’t take long before it becomes frustrating. What makes matters worse is the texture pop-in once the loading is over, with the game taking a few seconds to fully render everything properly.
On a much smaller scale, I also found navigating the map and fast-travel menu to be quite clunky at times. For whatever reason, the game doesn’t recognise when you hover the cursor over your desired fast-travel location. Instead, you need to move it slightly to the right before it locks on. It’s only a minor issue, but it can be a hassle when the location that you’re trying to go to is in close proximity to other places on the map.
If you’re a fan of the Fallout series or just RPGs in general, I’d recommend checking out The Outer Worlds. Unfortunately, technical limitations do hamper the experience somewhat but some interesting characters, fun questlines and familiar character-building mechanics make it more than worth the investment.
The Outer Worlds is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
The Outer Worlds
Despite some technical issues, interesting characters, fun questlines and familiar character-building mechanics make The Outer Worlds one of the most fun RPGs on the market.
- Great companions
- Fun questlines
- Varied, unique locations
- A few technical issues