Over the years, Obsidian Entertainment has developed a number of solid games, like Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout: New Vegas, giving players a reason to be excited about their next release. So, when The Outer Worlds, a title that seems to share a lot with Fallout, was revealed, it looked to have a lot of promise. This was furthered when we got to check it out at this year’s E3. Given so many things working for it, is The Outer Worlds another win for Obsidian or are their best years behind them? Here’s our The Outer Worlds Review.
If you played Fallout: New Vegas you will find the similarities between that and The Outer Worlds the moment the game starts. From scale to presentation to the overall feel, it will evoke a sense of familiarity to Fallout: New Vegas, though there are differences. There are a lot of things in The Outer Worlds that make it stand out on its own and it’s something fans of the genre will love.
The Outer Worlds follows a story of a player created colonist whose ship has been stuck in the Halcyon galaxy for about 70 years. Thanks to a scientist and fugitive named Phineas Welles, you awake from your slumber and start investigating the planet. Eventually you will learn why so many were put to sleep in the past. As you solve that mystery, you will tackle several side stories that will help shape the bigger picture. Just like in Fallout New Vegas, your actions will change the overall plot, giving you different directions and paths for the story.
But, before you can solve anything, you need to create your character. Options are rather limited, though skillsets are what is really important. To be competent when exploring different planets, it’s best that you have your skills set properly and choose perks that apply to your build. There are numerous skill trees that you can pick from, each with their own unique modifiers. For example, a ranged or melee character has a skill tree that focuses on weapons specific to that class. This can be overwhelming at first but the pacing makes it easy to figure it out in time.
Exploring every nook and cranny is something you should be doing in The Outer Worlds but unlike in Fallout games where the world is massive, The Outer Worlds is broken up into a variety of different planets. Just like in Mass Effect, you have a base ship in The Outer Worlds called The Unreliable. As you progress, more planets unlock. After selecting a planet you can explore alone or with up to two companions. Similar to Fallout, they are AI-controlled but you can control their equipment.
There are about six companions that you can recruit, each with their own personalities and can shape how battles and dialogue progress. The journey in getting them will not be an easy one as certain ones like Vica Max and Parvati have long quests before they join you. When it comes to using them in battle, they have certain uses such as enemies can’t detect them but when it comes to relying on them, they can be unpredictable.
As you defeat enemies you’ll find new armor and weapons to use in combat. Some of these items are unique and give different stats based off who equips them. These also play into different play styles, so make sure to mix and match accordingly. What makes The Outer Worlds stand out is the variety of types of equipment out there. Not to mention that there are different sets scattered throughout the worlds that you can loot.
In making your weapons pack a punch when taking down enemies, there are a lot of mods to further a weapons usefulness. Things like the plasma launcher or gravity-defying grenade launchers are great if you’re looking for something powerful and stylish.
Surprisingly, it’s not as long as you would expect from an RPG. There is about 20 hours of gameplay, falling shy of the usual 100+ in Fallout, though it’s a choice that encourages additional play throughs. In addition, there is also a Supernova difficulty that you can unlocked, which offers new challenges to overcome.
When it comes to combat, The Outer Worlds has a similar style to the Fallout games. The gunplay feels a little wonky and far from perfect. It feels sloppy most of the time but when it comes to shooting, there is something called Time Dilation Skill that plays similar to V.A.T.S in Fallout games. With the Time Dilation Skill active, you get to slow down time, allowing you to hit your enemy in the body parts you want. As you level up the Time Dilation Skill, more features get unlocked such as being able to see weak spots and cripple body parts. In reality, the skill is like a modified V.A.T.S but it works and is very helpful. If you are hoping this game will be a straight out gunplay, you will be disappointed as the combat is very similar to Fallout that is wonky and dated but it works.
One of the main highlights that I find really enjoyable in The Outer Worlds is the writing and the characters you interact with. Every character you meet has something to say. The conversations you get are deep enough for any RPG fan to like. It has flair to the tone of conversations that you get to see from a serious one to a very humorous one. For someone who has played every Fallout title, I find the characters and conversations to be a little more interesting and humorous in The Outer Worlds.
Visually, the game looks phenomenal on Xbox One X. Thanks to 4K support, the game looks very crisp and detailed. There are occasional hiccups like pop-ins but it’s very minimal. However, compared to the current-gen visual art styles and character model of other games, it does leave a lot to be desired. It looks a little bit dated as it’s similar to the engine Fallout New Vegas used but improved. Though when it comes to visiting several planets, the design is simply outstanding as it’s vibrant and colorful.
The Outer Worlds Review – Verdict
It’s easy to see The Outer Worlds was inspired by Fallout, though it’s so much more than that. Where it might not be as vast as Fallout: New Vegas, clever writing and a choice-based narrative more than makeup for it. Combat feels similar, which can be viewed as a downside, though it is certainly not a deal-breaker. Flaws aside, The Outer Worlds is a fun RPG that offers a fair amount of replayability. Between comical and fun narratives and plenty of RPG elements, it feels like the spiritual successor of Fallout: New Vegas and that is certainly alright.
[Editor’s Note: The Outer Worlds was reviewed on the Xbox One X platform and was provided to us for review purposes.]
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