I remember my first time booting up Fallout 3 and walking out of the vault for the first time and into the wasteland without any real clue of where to go. The sense of discovery and exploration that that game provided is something that sticks with me even today. Since then, I’ve been waiting for a game to provide a similar experience on current generation hardware, but nothing has even come close, including Fallout 4.
Now, enter developer Obisidian Entertainment and their newest game The Outer Worlds, which has seemingly blown all my expectations out of the water. After going hands-on with The Outer Worlds for a few hours, I can honestly say that chances are high this is the narrative-driven RPG that I’ve been waiting for.
While fans of this genre are used to frequent loading screens and poor NPC design, I’ve always felt like this console generation could do better. Obsidian seems to thinks so too with the steps they are taking in terms of systems and presentation with The Outer Worlds. The immersion that it ultimately provides is a breath of fresh air. It’s as if they knew exactly what this console generation needed and instead of merely flipping assets from older projects, they’ve created a brand new world that begs to be explored.
While playing I was able to explore the planet of Monarch and was given a choice about whether to head into town or just adventure around. Being the explorer that I am, I turned away from the town and headed out into the unknown. After a few twists and turns, I found a merchant in need of help to take out some enemies so he could deliver some goods. After completing the quest he allowed me to purchase items and weapons from him and we created a friendly relationship. Now, this is just one instance of something that didn’t have to happen, but it did. However, this doesn’t really encompass what makes The Outer Worlds different.
Heading into town is where my time with the game started to change. Learning about the town and the people while accepting a few side missions felt like I was creating my own story. The way the game flowed felt so natural as if the team had written the game to be linear, but it was all based on my actions.
Taking on the main quest to infiltrate a base offered me a few different options to get to the target. However, given that I didn’t really know who to trust, I went a peaceful route in hopes to maybe get some more information about the person I was supposed to kill. Well, it just so happens that while I could befriend this person, I ended up not liking him, so I killed him.
It’s actions like these that made this playthrough my own. I’ll have to live with the choices that I made and I felt like my choices affected the story overall. This also happens to affect my relationship with the other NPCs in town. For example, completing the quest allowed me to get my own room.
Combat in the game felt good and is nothing close to the hoops I had to jump through to shoot something in other titles. Weapons feel powerful and require maintenance to get the most out of their various effects. I also enjoyed the look of each of the weapons I acquired during my time with the game.
I’d also like to point out the relationship with the AI companions. These aren’t just empty shell companions, they have goals and opinions on your actions and react to statements during dialog. Even though your character doesn’t have a voice, other then the chosen dialog options, the companions can speak up for you in a sense.
After playing The Outer Worlds for three hours I felt that sense of wonder that I’ve been looking for in narrative-driven RPGs. The game offers so much in terms of places to go and things to see that it was tough for me to put the controller down at the end of the event. There is still much to see in terms of how the main story of the game rolls out, but if it’s anything like this small chunk of the game that I experienced than we are all in for a grand adventure.
The Outer Worlds has the offerings to make me excited about narrative-driven RPGs again. I can’t wait to play more.
The Outer Worlds is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25, with a Nintendo Switch version coming later down the line.
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