When The Outer Worlds was first announced, I was interested in it, but not completely sold yet.
Then I started to hear Mass Effect comparisons, a group I belong to picked it as November’s game to play, and GamePass for PC (which has The Outer Worlds as one of its available games) had an excellent deal at the time.
So I sat down and started playing The Outer Worlds.
The tone of The Outer Worlds is a little hard to describe. In some ways, it’s comedy, but definitely black comedy. It’s an alternate history sci-fi setting where megacorporations have colonized other planets, creating a bizarre dystopia where these corporations and their desire for profits are in control of everything.
You play a character thrust into this strange universe suddenly after being awakened from hibernation on a ship most people in the system believe is just a myth.
And so your journey begins to revive your fellow colonists and save the Halcyon System… except that’s not really our focus here. While I enjoyed the game a lot, one of my criticisms is that the main story is sort of bland and short. It feels almost more like an excuse to send the player on a journey from planet to planet to see this universe and its writing.
That’s okay, though, because the writing and side content is where the game shines.
Each place you visit presents you with a lot of side quests, various factions to deal with, and entertaining characters to meet. There’s a ton of variability in how you approach situations, with most quests having multiple ways you can complete or approach them. You often learn dark, bleak secrets about the world, but it’s often so over-the-top it’s funny.
Some combat is inevitable, but there are plenty of times when having strong dialogue skills can get you through a situation peacefully. Combat itself has a few different styles you can focus on, although I preferred talking to fighting.
Speaking of the game’s variability, I was happy to see you get a pretty wide range of dialogue responses to choose. Sometimes games fall back on giving you a friendly response, an aggressive response, and maybe something in between, but The Outer Worlds usually gives you a lot of different (and sometimes funny) ways you can react.
Sometimes your party members will join conversations with NPCs, which can lead to the NPCs responding to them as well.
In general, I liked the party members and their banter, as well as the little exchanges between them you can witness while on your ship. However, I wish there was more dialogue with each party member. In games like this, I like to talk to everyone in between plot events, but here they only occasionally have new conversations when you talk to them.
Still, there’s a lot to love about The Outer Worlds, and I enjoyed my time with it. It feels like it’s setting up a universe for a sequel, and I’d certainly like to play more Outer Worlds games in the future.---
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