Outriders - A Terrifying View of a Possible Future
Enoch is Earth's last hope - if we don't destroy that planet, too.
Square's Latest Efforts
Outriders is the latest effort by Polish game development studio People Can Fly and publisher Square Enix. The game is a third-person shooter with a splash of action, adventure, and RPG elements, providing a fascinating mixture of genres that Square Enix has become known for.
To be clear, this is a AAA game. It comes with world-class graphics, a massive promotional budget, and availability on all major gaming and computer platforms. Of course, it also comes with a AAA price, with the game costing $59.99.
You play as an Outrider, tasked with exploring the planet of Enoch, viewed as a refuge from a destroyed planet Earth. When the survival mission goes wrong, you are placed into a crypto sleep. Awakening 31 years later, you find yourself amid civil war and beset by enemies from all sides. Your job is simple: survive, and help restore the colony that represents Earth's last hope.
It's a well-worn concept, but People Can Fly executes it well. Additionally, it manages to take two major gaming themes - Fight the aliens vs. Enemies within - and mash them together in a brilliant display of lights and sound. The weapons are sharp, the combat is accelerating and visceral, and there isn't anything better than defeating a thing that you had never previously seen before.
Concept Rating: 4/5
The question with Outriders' graphics and audio was never whether or not they would be sharp enough. This is the work of Square Enix, one of the best publishers in the business, with the capabilities, talent, and resources to match. Instead, the question was whether or not the graphics and audio would hit the right notes. Would they adequately capture the excitement of exploring an alien world while also fighting a civil war?
The answer is yes. Cutscenes are rich, intricately detailed, and expertly voiced. The graphics of the game itself are gorgeous, and the soundtrack is simultaneously alien and familiar. It does an excellent job of creating an alien world, while also enhancing the feeling of internal conflict. Square Enix has always been known for creating richly detailed and visually stunning universes, and they have succeeded once again.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 5/5
Not Your Standard Shooter
Perhaps one of the best aspects of Outriders is the way it mixes and matches genres. It's a shooter, yes. You duck and cover, restore health, kill humans, fight off monstrous aliens, and all that jazz. That comes with many games like this, but Outriders executes these systems well. There is also a variety of side-quests, dialogue trees, and more. All of these gameplay options allow players to explore Outrider's richly developed and detailed world.
The game also comes with a variety of options, including single-player or online co-op. As such, you can enjoy this journey on your own, or with friends, with the game supporting 1-3 players.
Gameplay Rating: 4/5
Ahh, Yes, Technical Issues
Unfortunately, Outriders is out to a rocky start. It requires server access to play, and countless users (including us!) are reporting server difficulties as the game gets off the ground. These issues are par for the course for many games, and they are likely to be repaired, but it doesn't speak well of the game's preparation for launch.
In terms of replayability, it's hit or miss. Different play-throughs can give you a variety of different and very positive experiences, and you can take different tactics and strategies on various runs. However, this isn't a roguelike. Eventually, you will explore the whole world and run out of content. Outriders does encourage multiple runs with a variety of content, and DLC is almost certain. However, you can't play this one forever.
Replay Value Rating: 3.5/5
Outriders is a mash-up of genres that encourages action, adventure, exploration, and the unravelling of a deeply intricate world.