Game Review: The Outer Worlds – PS4

Title The Outer Worlds
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre:Action/adventure, first-person RPG, action, RPG
Date completed:April 2020
Information on game

Summary review: A very good experience overall, if sometimes hard to follow.
Graphics: Texture details is quite impressive. At least with my humble little 1080p TV. I did not notice any frame drops (also don’t know the FPS it was running at).
Music: Very impressive with surround sound system, audible cues work flawlessly
Controls: No issues with controls
Replayability: I would like to someday replay this to see the alternative endings and what difference they make. The relative shortness of the game as a whole would make this an easy proposition (as I would take closer to 20 hours the second time around).
Total score: 85 / 100 – The only reason I didn’t give this a much higher score is the difficulty I had following the main story thread. I never felt particularly attached to any of the crew members and I found out what was at stake entirely too late. I’m not sure if I managed to find a wrong order of side quests and main story quests or if this is flaw in the game.

I bought this game on impulse one day with no idea if I would really play it to the end or not. I knew going in what kind of game it probably was going to be and that the same developer was responsible for Fallout: New Vegas (which I have not played) but that is about it.

I think I’ll go out on a limb here and say this plays almost exactly like Fallout: New Vegas. It has all the basic HUD information like the compass and map as well as those old-timey vending machines and basic armor and weapon mods.

The game itself has a lot of similarities with Mass Effect: start as just-some-guy, eventually become captain of a ship (with an AI no less), accumulate crew members each with their own side quests and personalities and eventually explore the solar system’s different planets.

The plot is much different and it’s a much shorter game than Mass Effect but it’s basically Mass Effect using the technology left over from Fallout: New Vegas. Which isn’t a bad thing. Just saying if you’ve played a Fallout or Eldscrolls game since 2001 or so the mechanics will probably seem familiar.

I played this game in a way I don’t usually play these kinds of games: will lots of gaps. I think that’s why it took me so long to finish it. From what I read it should take at most around 25 hours but it took me closer to 55 hours. I don’t really have any reason for this other than trying really hard to figure out the best armor and weapon combos and not being sure where to go when.

By the time I did get to the end I was way over powered and actually one-shot killed the final “boss” if you can call that a boss. Unless that whole last level is supposed to be the final boss. There are sections of some of the maps where the enemy creatures and bandits will re-spawn. Although at some point they’ll be way to low level to make the experience points really worth bothering with I didn’t exactly have a hard time getting to entirely too high of a level.

The things I don’t like about it are the lack of real depth to the characters. There’s a character whose profession is a “Vicor” that joins the crew early on. Only I felt like I barely knew him and could see no conceivable reason why he even wanted to join the crew. I had a hard time really feeling like I was connecting with the crew members I guess is my only complaint.

I also had some issues figuring out what kind of weapons each crew member really specialized in. I could guess but I still don’t know if I really got that part of it right.

I eventually started to figure out how certain pieces of armor buff specific stats. If I need to go into an important conversation for instance I’ll buff the conversation and/or intimidation stat. Or if I need to hack or lock pick a door I’ll switch to armor for that. I could go from 60 lock pick up to 101 lock pick for instance just by a combination of armor, choosing a crew member to bring with me and maybe some extra chemicals to put me over the top.

I should mention the skill tree and perks: I found it confusing and tedious. It’s easy to “re-spec” a character – reset all the skills and percs back to zero and re-distribute for a new kind of “build” – but I only did this maybe three times. I imagine it’s more useful on the higher difficulties. Actually, going into what I knew was the last level of the game I had no idea what I would be facing so it was difficult to re-spec my character for effectiveness. Turns out I should have stayed specialized in hacking, lock-picking and stealth. But I figured that out too late. Still managed to finish though.

Final thoughts:

I think this can all be boiled down to a few basic questions:

Would I play this game again start to finish? Perhaps just study the story a little more closely and try and see a different ending.

Would I play another game in the series based on the experience of this game? Eventually, I think so yes. Although it would be a hard sell for me to buy any DLC for this game. I think I’m about as likely to re-play this game as your average Elderscrolls or Fallout game. Although the brevity of it certainly helps.


Metadata

Method of control used Standard PS4 gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) n/a
Hardware requirements: n/a
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
Device(s) tried on standard non-pro PS4
TVregular old 1080p, nothing special
Initial setup required I did turn on subtitles
Sound setup5.1 surround system/receiver
Total time to completion~55 hours
difficulty levelsecond easiest
Random assortment of meta data

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