Welcome to Brandon’s Banter. The Outer Worlds has been getting a lot of attention lately, and I recently got my hands on it and wanted to share my thoughts. Let’s get the frick into it.



What is it?

Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, The Outer Worlds is a first-person sci-fi RPG game. Your character is a colonist part of the Halcyon Colony, which is controlled by a corporate board. You wake up from some sort of cryogenic sleep state and are thrown right into what I’d describe as a great depression. The colony isn’t doing so hot and you could be the person to help change that. There are different planets you can explore and factions on those planets that you can become friends, or enemies, with. If I were to compare this to other games, it would be a weird hybrid of Fallout, No Man’s Sky, and a little bit of Warframe. Like most RPG games you are able to build your character however you like and any choices you make throughout the game affect the overall storyline. The game also has a pretty important companion system. You could run through the game solo, but having a companion or two can be pretty useful.

I usually stick to fantasy RPG games but I had some fun playing The Outer Worlds. The skill system is super innovative, companions aren’t totally useless like in most games, the visuals are pleasing to the eye, and although the gameplay has some significant drawbacks, it’s still decently fun.


Skill and Perk System: Be who you wanna be.

When I first saw an ad about The Outer Worlds, they were claiming that you could build whatever playstyle you wanted. I’d say that was pretty accurate. Right from the start you are able to choose what attributes your character excels in. These attributes affect your base stats in certain skill sets. You’re also able to choose a backstory for your character. Whatever you choose gives you a slight buff in a skill or some innate ability. For example, I chose Factory Worker and it gave me plus one to my dodging ability, since my character always had to dodge dangerous machinery and accidents.

Every time you level up, you receive ten skill points which you can put into any set of skills you want. These skills sets are made up of three different skills, which all level up with the main set. For example, the Stealth set has sneaking, lock picking, and hacking as its subskills. All of the subskills have perks that you can unlock by getting it to a certain level. So at level 20,  for one handed melee, you are able to do power attacks with one-handed weapons. You gain these perks every 20 levels up until level 100. I always like being able to fully customize my character to fit my playstyle, so this was heaven for me.

Your character can also gain perks. Every two levels you gain a perk point, which you can spend on a list of innate skills, like more base health, or faster sprint speed. You can also gain perk points through flaws. Flaws are exactly what they sound like, something wrong with your character. These flaws are more or less a constant debuff on your character. Let’s say you keep getting attacked by robots and they mess you up every single time. A window will pop up saying you have a new flaw available and you have a chance to accept or decline it. In this case, it would probably be a damage taken debuff against robots. If you choose to accept it, you’ll get a perk point, but you’ll be even weaker against robots. It’s definitely an interesting mechanic and I thought it was actually pretty cool.



Companions: The best crew a captain could ask for.

I’m sort of a loner when it comes to RPG games. If companions are available I usually don’t pick them up because they’ll most likely get in my way and they are always mostly useless. In The Outer Worlds I decided to give companions a chance, considering the companion system is a core element. I was surprised at how much I didn’t hate it. The first companion I found was a mechanic named Parvati. She came in handy all the time. Not only did she fight beside me without getting in my way, but she also was a huge help whenever I needed someone who was knowledgeable with mechanical stuff.

Your companions also level up with you and gain perk points every few levels. With these perk points you can build them to be the role you prefer them to be in. For example, I unlocked a robot companion named S.A.M and decided I wanted him to be my tank. So, the first perk point I used on him was for a perk that made him generate more threat when attacking enemies. The companions have special abilities that you can unlock and activate on your command. They also contribute to the story with their own set of questlines, which added more depth to each of them. The Outer Worlds did a great job with the companion system and, despite being a solo player, I kind of liked the company.

Visuals: Perfectly executed retro feel

The overall game visuals weren’t revolutionary, but still pretty cool. I really like the retro feel of it all, especially the loading screens. I actually enjoyed my time waiting for the game to load because of this.




Gameplay: Rough start, but still fun

The gameplay is where things get a bit iffy. I’ll get into the bad stuff later, but for now, I’ll tell you what I loved about it. It was fun, engaging and sometimes really intense. I built my character to be a stealthy assassin. Lock picking, sneaking, sniping, and melee was all I knew. I usually go with this approach in any RPG I play, so I was happy that it was an option. That playstyle actually worked really well with your main ability, which is time dilation, or slow motion. At one point, I used my sniper to take out two guys during the time dilation and finished off the third guy right after the ability was up. The game activated a cool cinematic view of the guy getting blown to pieces from my sniper, similar to Skyrim’s death blow animations. I wasn’t expecting it to happen so I got pretty hyped.

Dialogue is a huge part of the game as well, and you better be ready to read, because there is a ton of it. You are given a lot of dialogue options when talking to people and you can basically create the personality you want your character to have with these choices. These will be the easiest choices you’ll make though, because at certain points you have to make choices that will affect your entire relationship with factions, which are groups of people on planets. Your relationship with them affects store prices and whether they’ll kill you on sight or not. All of these elements add to the immersion and enjoyability of the game as a whole.

There was one thing that bugged me right from the start of the game. The gunplay. The guns in the game just don’t feel satisfying at all, with the only exception being snipers and sometimes shotguns. I felt that the snipers and shotguns were the only guns that could take full advantage of your time dilation skill. I may have had some underpowered guns at a few points, but it still felt like most of the guns weren’t hitting as hard as they should. I also found the gunplay to be incredibly boring. I never really enjoy games that make it absolutely necessary to hide behind cover when in a gunfight, and I found myself doing this alot early game. I would rely on the time dilation to allow me to hit three or four shots before I had to hide again. This made certain parts of the game really unenjoyable. Once I leveled up and had more points in my build, I could start a fight with time dilation and sneak damage. This let me pop a few guys with my sniper before they even knew I was there. This made the gunplay a little more enjoyable and has me thinking that it’s an issue with pacing or balancing in the early areas instead of the guns themselves.


My final thoughts

I enjoyed The Outer Worlds a little more than I expected. I always like games that let you decide your own playstyle, and the skill and perk system lets you do just that. The companions were actually great and help you in some areas of the game. The visuals, especially the loading screens, are awesome and fit the game’s overall feel, and the gameplay was fun and engaging. The only issue I have with the game is the gunplay, which really sucks because that’s a huge part of the game. Which is why I’m giving The Outer Worlds 3.5 hammers out of 5.