Outriders is the latest game from a popular game developer known for bringing us games like Life is Strange, Tomb Raider, Just Cause and Final Fantasy – Square Enix.
Around the middle of the 21st Century, mankind has destroyed and decimated the planet we call home (although the game itself admits that it does not know how we did it) and a select few have made the cut to board humanity’s last hope and take a voyage across the galaxy to find a new home in a planet that appears to be similar to Earth. This planet is known as Enoch.
You play as an Outrider, one of an elite team chosen to land first and scout out the surface of the planet to see if it is in fact inhabitable and where the best place to set up humanity’s new home would be on Enoch.
All seems like a pretty straight forward process in the first couple of minutes after landing as you set out to gather data from the beacons that were launched an undisclosed amount of time before you arrived. On locating the second beacon and radioing to the ship holding all of mankind’s remaining hope and what it needs to survive (both in people and resources) is when you encounter something the likes of which humans have never seen – the Anomaly.
Without giving too much more away – the Anomaly is one of the main issues that mankind faces on Enoch and is the sole cause for turning a pretty simple recolonization of a planet into something that is “game worthy.”
During this mission, you are critically injured and put back into cryo so that your life may be saved. Not all goes to plan and you are woken sometime later to a world rife with chaos and a long way off from the hope and dream of those that had set out from Earth.
This game is a third-person action role paying shooter where you take on the identity of Outrider, a soldier with a can-do attitude and one of the best Outriders to land on Enoch.
The game consists of elements that remind me a lot of Gears of War, Mass Effect, Destiny and Borderlands – yet this all somehow comes together to create a rather interesting way with a player that uses brutal powers and abilities to overcome their foes in a foreign landscape.
The game has some mind breaking moments as you work on side missions to uncover a dark history that has all transpired while you were sleeping.
There are four playable classes in Outriders that you can choose from, and players can create new characters to try out all of them.
The classes are Technomancer – a long-range sniper and control class, Pyromancer – a mid-range assault and heavy damage class, Trickster – a close-range mobility class and Devastator – a close-range tank class.
The game allows you to play any class however you want (fancy sniping with a tank? Why not) but will reward you for playing the class the way it was designed to be a player – especially since you only heal in very specific ways for each class.
Combat can seem a little repetitive as you fight wave after wave of enemies in a dungeon-delving way but can still throw some massive curve balls at you just as you think you are mastering a particular type of enemy.
Square Enix took “be aggressive” to heart when building the combat mechanics into this game in more than one way.
Firstly – you need to kill to heal while in combat. With that being said, it’s not just any kill that will heal you. You have to kill in the way that your class was made to kill, Technomancer won’t heal with close range kills and Trickster won’t heal with cross-map headshots, no matter how spectacular it was.
Secondly – you need to move! Early in the game, you will find yourself feeling like you are playing Gears of War with the moving from the cover-to-cover type of combat. But getting stuck behind cover can cost you dearly. Enemies are constantly on the move and if you don’t do the same, you will very quickly find yourself surrounded or stuck in a corner and unable to roll or dodge your way out of it (these are the ultimate spray and pray moments).
I was a little slow to get into Outriders as my internet really seems to struggle with the over 70GB game size. Once it was downloaded though – I dove headfirst into the game, only to be stopped a couple of times for some early post-release patches and updates. While these are good as they iron out the bugs – they are highly frustrating when you have just sat down and had your mindset on playing your shiny new game.
All updates aside – I did struggle to get into the game early on as I found the fighting tedious and repetitive (as mentioned before) but this was mostly during the prologue as I was figuring out the game. Once out of the prologue, I found the main story of Outriders pulling me in as its mission became my mission – GET THE PEOPLE OUT OF THE VALLEY AND SAFE FROM THE ANOMALY!
The interesting side of the game also comes in in its seemingly endless customization options – apart from the skill tree system for each class, everything in-game (guns to armour) is movable (is that even a word?) and allows you to tweak and tune until you find that perfect build for what you want to play, or completely mess up a build that was serving its purpose just fine.
The class I chose was Trickster and quickly abandoned my usual assault and sniper loadout for one better suited to a close-range kill healing class – high fire rate rifles and shotguns. My build also focuses on speed, weapons damage and support abilities, rather than HP, armour and damage abilities.
After soloing the game for a while, I joined up with some friends who also had the game and co-op definitely increased the fun factor of the game exponentially (because we all know what it’s like when the squad is online) and the game automatically adjusts to allow for each player.
In the co-oping, we did run into some issues where we tried adding someone new to the game but they weren’t able to join us as they were still busy with the prologue according to the game, when in fact they were quite far past it. This was fixed by quitting to lobby and adding him through there. While easily fixed – we did waste a lot of time trying to figure out how long the prologue actually was and why he wasn’t able to join us.
Other than the pros and cons mentioned above, Outriders does have a few other things working in its favour and against. Working in its favour in a big way is that the game is already available on Ultimate Pass – so if you have that, head on over and start trying to save humanity.
The game also has crossplay – which is good, but it’s currently not working and has been turned off – which is bad. This is only temporary though and will be fixed.
The game also has incredibly long loading times, made longer with more people in the squad, and I found myself semi nodding off on a couple of late-night gaming sessions.
The game (at the moment) hasn’t got thousands of daily events and tasks for you to do like other online RPGs so it’s not stealing all of your time and leaving you with anxiety while you’re getting on with real-life because you feel like you’re losing out on something. For now, it’s a nice chill and jam with mates kind of game.
Overall – I give Outriders a 7 out of 10 stars but I think with a few more tweaks from the developers, this game could definitely move up in the ratings.
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