The Outer Worlds has moments of brilliance that’s overshadowed by a weak story and mediocre gameplay. Here’s my review.
The soundtrack is incredible. Every location had a nice tune playing in the background. It reminded me of Borderlands and Mass Effect. There was a nice mix of different songs and none of them felt out of place or overly loud. It definitely added to my gaming experience. The voice acting is mostly great all around, but there are a few NPCs you’ll find here or there that sounds like they were just there to collect a paycheck. I also hated Sam’s voice. I have no major complaints about the overall sound quality of this game. It’s absolutely fantastic.
The combat is average at best here. Going from playing Borderlands 3 to this was a major letdown. The shooting mechanics feel like it’s from 2012 and I think Obsidian tried too hard to make this game feel like Fallout instead of doing something different. I would say this game is slightly worse than Fallout 4’s gameplay. Why? Because I enjoyed the melee combat a little more in Fallout 4 than I did in this game. Neither game has fantastic gameplay so don’t freak out.
One thing that this game added is companion abilities and it was pretty cool at first, but as I played I wished the camera didn’t have to zoom in on my companion doing their ability and would just let me keep fighting while they do their thing. Hopefully, we’ll get a patch that makes watching the skills optional in the near future. Outer Worlds has its own form of Vats. You enter a slowmo state and can maneuver around the map while firing off shots. At first, you’ll only be able to fire two to three times before the gauge runs out, but eventually, you’ll be able to keep it up permanently if you invest in the right perks.
The slowmo mode reminded me a lot of a mod I used in Fallout 4 called Bullet Time. It was fun in Fallout 4 and it’s fun here. I didn’t have need of the skill for the first 15 hours in the game, but once I realized how powerful it was I was activating it every chance I got. I just wish this game played more like Borderlands 3 than Fallout 4.
Once you level up you’ll be able to allocate your skill points into many different skill categories. At first, I was really excited because this is something that has been missing from modern RPGs for a really long time, but it ultimately doesn’t matter what you decide to invest your skills in. Having a low ranged weapon skill level didn’t affect my abilities to use guns whatsoever. I was still overpowered as heck by the end of the game and never needed to invest more than a few points in that skill tree. The only reason you’ll be investing skill points into your skills is to pass skill checks that will occasionally pop up.
Every few levels you’ll unlock perk points. Anyone that’s played Fallout knows exactly what these are. None of the perks were that exciting to use. There are your obvious ones like more carry weight and extra slowmo usage, but none of them were really impressive in any way whatsoever while in Fallout I could unlock a perk that lets me eat people. I mean… they could’ve done something with this mechanic instead of just making it add percentages to shit that I never use. There are two ways to unlock perk points. You can unlock them naturally by leveling up or by getting negative quirks to your character by doing things out in the world. If you use a lot of drugs you can choose to become a drug addict. It’ll come with some negative side effects, but give you an extra perk point. None of the negative side effects were worth it to me since you can easily complete this game on the hardest difficulty with no problems. That and none of the perks were that interesting for me to get negative attributes for.
The Outer Worlds story was really good when I first started playing the game. I was invested in it because it was a new Obsidian game and I always enjoy playing their games all the way back to Knights of The Old Republic II. The further I made it in the game the more I wanted it to end. I’m not blaming that on the story though. It was mostly because I found the gameplay to be really average. There’s not a lot of exciting locations in this game and the quests attached to them aren’t very good either. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy how fleshed out some side quest were and parts of the main story, but the whole thing and why my character is doing what he was doing felt lacking. To Obsidian’s credit, I could say I don’t know why I’m working for Phineas or turn him in to the authorities but my point still stands. Why should I care about this story or the companions I met along the way?
I like Parvati. She’s adorable and innocent, but her companion quest is terrible. It’s just a bunch of fetch quests so she can go on a date with some engineer she met earlier in the game. Nyoka’s companion quest was probably the only good one out of the bunch and Sam has to be the worst robotic companion of all time. I refused to have him in my party. He’s no HK-47. Working for Sublight was the highlight of the game for me. The missions were genuinely interesting and I loved playing as the smuggler/killer that gave no fucks about the job that was assigned to me.
Not all of the main story was bad. I did enjoy some of it up to a certain point. I just wish it was more consistent and fleshed out. The game is well written and well-acted, for the most part, and Obsidian has created some really neat backstories, factions, and lore for this game. I just wish I enjoyed the later areas as much as I did the first 15 hours of the game.
The Outer Worlds can be a beautiful game at times. A lot of the time, actually. The reason why this didn’t make the great section is because of the performance and some crashes that happened to me at the end of the game. I crashed 3 times in the exact same location that I won’t name because of spoilers. My performance was also really bad in some areas in the game. This game needs some patches, but it runs like a dream compared to some of Obsidian’s older games.
You get six companions in this game. I only liked two of them and by like I mean they’re alright. None of them are Mass Effect, or even Dragon Age, type of companions. Shit… they’re not even Knights of The Old Republic kind of companions. I’ll throw Fallout 4 in there too. There’s simply not enough banter for me. I was expecting to have multiple full conversations with everyone about their life, beliefs, etc. You’ll get a some-more dialog out of them during, and after, their companion missions, but none of it, outside of Nyoka and Parvati, was interesting to me.
The character creator in Outer Worlds is pretty bare-boned. There’s not a whole lot you can do with it and I hate the fact that there’s only ONE full beard in the game. What do developers have against full beards?! I managed to make myself an acceptable looking character and jumped into the game. I did get a glitch that changed my hair color to blonde from brown and made my character look 30 years older than what he was. It was hilarious at first, but I really wish my appearance didn’t change because I wanted to take some screenshots of him.
The various different armor sets don’t look that good. I think the best-looking set in the game is in the starting zone. It’s a piece of light raider armor. I fell in love with Sublight set that I unlocked after completing the questline for the faction and used that until I finished the game. One of the heavy armor pieces looks good too. Everything else didn’t appeal to me and was just different colors of the same armor set. Outer Worlds isn’t the first game to do something like, but I always complain about it. This game is no exception.
The science weapons could be considered legendary weapons. They’re unique in appearance and what they can do, but they’re incredibly weak even when I invested in those perks that increased the amount of damage I did with science weapons. Most of them are good for a few laughs and never used again.
I wish that we could customize our room. Instead, we get a bunch of random shit from the people that we’ve helped around the system. I would love to bring some of the random loot I found in my travels to my room and prop them up on display shelves. I ended up selling all of my science weapons because I had no place to stash them.
Do you want to know one thing that Bethesda and Obsidian have in common? They make buggy games. I’ve never played a bug-free Obsidian game. Never. And that continues to be the case in Outer Worlds. I’ve crashed to desktop multiple times near the end of the game and had some major fps issues on multiple zones. My character’s appearance changed drastically and the game would occasionally stutter when I first loaded in the game. This game needs some patches.
Space Travel Could Be Better:
This is really a nitpick and won’t factor into the final verdict whatsoever. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could actually see our ship traveling through the cosmos and orbiting different planets? Think Mass Effect Andromeda or, more recently, Borderlands 3. Both games did space travel better and had more interesting locations to explore..
The Outer Worlds is a good new IP. It's not the "Bethesda killer" that some people would have you believe it is. It actually has little in common with Fallout. It feels more like Borderlands than Fallout and that's not a bad thing at all. The story had its moments and the writing can be really good at times, but the gameplay is average at best. The companions are average, and the only thing I can really say that I loved was the soundtrack and length of the game. It's less than 30 hours long and in a world filled with 100+ hour games, I appreciate that. The Outer Worlds is a good new IP from Obsidian that I hope gets a sequel one day. I really enjoyed my time in it and when/if those bugs are patched I'll have no problem revisiting this review and upping the score a little. If you have Game Pass this is a must-play. If you're on the fence on whether or not it's worth $60 I recommend waiting for a price drop.