Revealed at the 2018 Game Awards and then elaborated on in an extensive showcase of gameplay uploaded by Game Informer, The Outer Worlds is the year’s biggest surprise and one of 2019’s most anticipated titles. With a boatload of RPG mechanics, a colourful world brimming with personality, and a self-aware style of comedy reminiscent of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Obsidian’s newest project is an adventure through space that’ll make up for BioWare and Bethesda’s blunders.
BioWare’s Anthem hasn’t released yet so it’s not officially a darling or a shallow hal mistake the beloved company regrets more than Mass Effect: Andromeda. Still, while their Destiny competitor isn’t finished, the developer’s fanbase is annoyed at it not including anything that made Mass Effect and Dragon Age so special. Bethesda, meanwhile, have had a torrid year as their irrefutable reputation for amazing games has been sullied by the release of Fallout 76. So, with the return to the post-apocalyptic wasteland having been a disastrous fail, and Anthem appearing destined to be an unspectacular experience, Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds will mercifully scratch everyone’s itch for a mainstream single-player RPG filled with character, memorable moments, and difficult choices that give you PTSD.
In Game Informer’s fifteen-minutes of gameplay, The Outer Worlds massively resembles Fallout before the bastardised 76. It’s a first-person RPG with a character creation suite that’ll be detailed but probably not extensive enough to let you customise the length of your dong as in Conan Exiles, and it lets you wander about the world with two companions hanging by your side. The protagonist you create is completely voiceless, and you interact with companions and NPCs through a dialogue box that is superior in every way to Fallout 4’s infamous dialogue wheel.
© Private Division
The best part of the dialogue options is not that the protagonist doesn’t parrot your choices, nor is it that their detailed descriptions will spare you of humiliating moments where you think your character will say ‘hello’, but instead rudely tells someone to do one. It’s that a lot of the options are morally grey and not spelled out as good or bad. In addition, your choices have actual ramifications because if you continue to be a shameless d*ck, your party may criticise your behaviour and leave you to return to your team’s spaceship. And if you choose to be an imbecile, your crew will again react accordingly.
Outside of your spaceship where you can talk to your crew is a colourful world full of advertisements. The landscape’s blend of present and future makes the Fallout comparisons justifiable, but Obsidian’s planet is way more captivating as a result of its vibrant shades and in-your-face anti-corporate theme. There’s a lot of glowing lights that make the environments pop and feel alive, and the neon tint isn’t excessive like in Far Cry: New Dawn and Rage 2.
As for gameplay, you go around shooting and looting a wide variety of enemies and creatures. With it again being very similar to Fallout, it’s exactly what you expect. There’s a mechanic which lets you slow down time to more precisely target enemies’ weaknesses, and there’s a plethora of drugs for you to take if you desire to be a limitless addict.
© Private Division
The only concerning news is that there’s no third-person view, and you can’t be a casanova who beds the entire crew. While the inability to romance members of your ragtag group will undoubtedly annoy a large section of RPG fans, the dismissal is probably a wise one considering sex in many games feels like a cheap reward for selecting the dialogue options which blatantly translate to ‘let’s f**k’. However, the absence of a third-person view is more than disappointing as despite seeing your protagonist through the inventory screen, it makes the inclusion of a character creation suite redundant.
Obsidian’s newest title is very much Fallout in space, which is precisely what we want and need. BioWare and Bethesda have turned their backs on what made them special for Destiny and survival MMO competitors with Anthem and Fallout 76, so it’s up to The Outer Worlds to fulfill our desire for a mainstream single-player RPG in 2019. Brimming with life, personality and morally grey choices we’ll no doubt ponder for ages, the sci-fi, anti-corporate title looks certain to succeed.