Pew pew. Ability ability.
Okay, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted so please forgive my rust. I’ve just been gaming so hard that I forgot I should take a second to jot my thoughts down and update this ghost town of a blog.
Today, we’re going to talk about the Outriders demo not to be confused with Outsiders (shout out Ponyboy).
Square Enix and developer People Can Fly (Gears of War: Judgement and Bulletstorm) have teamed up to create the next step in looter shooters hoping to challenge the proverbial king, Destiny, while avoiding the debacle of Anthem. Is it any good? Does it challenge the king? Is it Anthem Next (pour one out for the reboot)?
Let’s talk about it.
The Setup & Gameplay
So what is Outriders you ask?
Well how do I explain it…
In its simplest form, Outriders tells the tale of society. Earth fell apart, and the remaining members of society took to space to find a place to colonize. Having traveled space for a long freaking time, they finally stumble upon a foreign world named Enoch which the humans want to colonize. You land there, bad stuff happens, and somehow you end up with super powers.
I’m going to be honest. I skipped through most of the story parts because honestly it’s a demo. I just wanted to see how the game functioned since, come release, there won’t be too many differences in the story and all the cut scenes can be re-watched.
So you load up the demo and instantly get to create your own character. The create a character was pretty standard as usual for games like these, but I got to put on some earrings for my character. You then take control of your character and instantly feel a mixture of different games in one.
You shoot enemies and take cover in a style almost exactly the same as Gears of War. You loot and explore a world that almost feels like the one Bioware made in Anthem (gear actually changes how your character looks). You use abilities in a similar style of Destiny and Tom Clancy’s The Division with each their being two buttons responsible for a skill and pressing both of them at the same time gives you the option for a third skill. Speaking of which, you have four class options to choose from, which can’t be changed after you choose one. I chose the Pyromancer, who uses fire to deal damage and also receive healing in return when your abilities kill an enemy.
Outriders pretty much follows the typical formula when it comes to games of the loot and shoot nature. Do a quest, get a reward, level up. Rinse and repeat. Now the real question is how does it all feel when it comes together.
I think it comes out solid: at least what we have is solid.
The challenge I think this game is going to faces is content and rewards. In my opinion, I felt like the team at People Can Fly are trying to make an engaging story something that is almost absent in this genre of gaming. Part of what turned me away from Destiny and The Division is the lack of content and how un-engaging the story gets. I don’t expect a perfect story, but if I could get a story that doesn’t make me go online to learn more about it, looking at you Destiny 1, then I’ll be happy.
Another point, end game content. This kind of flew under the radar, but back in November, People Can Fly put out a trailer detailing their end-game content with a mode called Expeditions featuring “no recycled content from the main campaign” which is the biggest shot at Destiny I’ve ever seen. Basically, they are missions that grant you better rewards the quicker you finish them. Interesting.
The developers claim the game features a “40 hour campaign”. Pretty wicked if true.
On the other hand, the rewards part. There has to be an engaging, meaningful loot system. The other thing that turned me away from Destiny is how meaningless the grind felt. Every week you rush to do your high tier content just to get a bad drop, or a good one, then wait until the next weekly reset to run the same activity again hoping for better stuff. From what I’ve experienced in the demo, the game drops you plenty of loot and completing quests gives the player a choice of reward which is pretty engaging. Going back to the above video there will be mods for your weapons, skills, and armor the will change how you play. It’s all standard for games like these, but if they can deliver on the tone of excitement the video has then we might actually get an engaging system here.
I know I’m probably blabbing about meaningless info so I’m sorry. Do I think the actual gameplay core is good? Yes I do. I enjoyed fighting enemies and using my abilities to smoke them. My only pushback is they felt a bit bullet spongy. Part of why I wanted to skip through the story content is because I wanted to fight some bad dudes because I enjoyed the combat that much. The abilities were interesting as the flame boy, and the weapon loot was pretty good as some of the higher end loot gave you shields on kill. Engaging.
Now, unfortunately, I did have a few other things I wanted to gripe about. Personally, I don’t think the game looks good for a next gen title. I don’t think the setting they gave us in the demo helped my thought process as the entire world was brown and destroyed. Hopefully, there are more environments that give us better visuals in the full release. Secondly, I had a weird glitch happen where the words a character was saying didn’t match their actions. It reminded me of those old Godzilla movies where people would scream, and the audio delay made them look crazy. Minor stuff that hopefully doesn’t carry over to full release. Oh and a huge red flag; the game is online only. In order to play it, you have to have or create a Square Enix account which is a bummer. Also, the more I look at it, the more the hub looks like Anthem.
Broken record time. Did I enjoy my time? Yes. The game has co-op but playing by myself was just as fun. Are there kinks? Yes. Hopefully, they get ironed out. Do I recommend this? If you’re on the fence about the game, worse case scenario, wait until after release to see what the general consensus/state of the game of is. I think there’s a lot of good that offsets a lot of the minor issues I had, and I’m also plenty patient when it comes to fixes. Random side note, during the campaign and character moments, I felt like I was playing Saints Row. If you’ve played the games, maybe you’ll understand the vibes I get.
Anyways, play the demo and see how you feel. I’m starting to cramp up from not being used to maniacally typing.
Outriders is set to release April 1, 2021 aka April Fools Day.