By Juan Calvillo
“The Outer Worlds” is a compelling video game that weaves action and adventure with classic role playing aspects, and wraps it all up with beautiful visuals and intuitive gameplay.
Obsidian Entertainment, Inc. took what they learned creating the classic “Fallout: New Vegas” title and put a unique twist on it. What came out of that is a game that is a love letter to fans of role-playing games, space and westerns.
The story in “The Outer Worlds” starts off simple enough. Phineas Welles, a scientist that is being pursued by a large corporation, saves the player from a hibernation pods aboard a transport ship.
Welles tasks the player with helping him save the rest of the characters aboard the ship by finding the correct compounds to wake them up.
The story slowly begins to evolve into an Orwellian nightmare of corporate-owned towns and people who cannot get out from under the corporation’s thumb.
At its core though, the game is about choice. Players need to make choices that are tough and not always good or bad.
Most choices lead to, at first glance, ambiguous outcomes.
However, as the game plays out, the repercussions become more apparent.
Obsidian did fantastic work making the decisions very much gray. There is hardly ever a good or bad decision.
Choices affect characters that are met in-game.
During a normal session, players reputation with different groups can be changed from positive to negative.
An example can be deciding to work with a different group over their competition.
One group will look more favorably on the player while the offended group will see the player as antagonistic and instances like this don’t simply end with the story.
These choices are tied not only to the main story but to the multitude of side quests and tasks that are given to the player throughout the many hours of gameplay.
Doing one thing or saying another during missions or conversations can affect the player’s standing with the diverse factions within the game.
The core gameplay mechanics of “The Outer Worlds” are reminiscent of the first-person exploration and shooting style that other RPGs tend to have.
While “The Outer Worlds” doesn’t play as fast as most first-person shooters, like the “Call of Duty” or “Borderlands” franchises, the shooting is responsive and there are plenty of tense firefights to be had.
The game uses tried and true mechanics, like sneaking and brawling to round out the combat.
Since the game is an RPG, Obsidian went back to some of the more core ideas for character building.
Using a point system to increase certain skills of a players character. These skills include weapon handling, science related traits and even leadership.
Players begin to level up their characters and gain access to significant perks that help them along their journey.
These include added weight limits to what they can carry, to faster movement and the ability to sell items back to vendors at higher prices.
Another core feature is that of companions.
There are six companions that the player can find and employ. It’s also possible to not recruit anyone for a player’s team, but each ally has unique missions, dialogue and gameplay “buffs” that enhance the player’s traits and skills.
“The Outer Worlds” is also quite a beautiful game to play. Its visuals are stunning and character and enemy designs are interesting and unique.
The color of each planet’s sky differs and the plant life is inventive and fun.
The game is an entertaining romp into sci-fi, space exploration and hard decision-making. Obsidian has created a game that is easy to pick up but intensely hard to put away.
“The Outer Worlds” is out now and is playable on Playstation 4, XBox One and PC. The game will have players constantly telling themselves at the end of each session, “See you, space cowboy.”