While most gamers are looking to this coming Friday as the day Call of Duty: Modern Warfare arrives, there will no doubt be plenty who will be wanting a shooter experience that’s more thoughtful, more story-driven, and more in the way of gameplay depths instead. Good news for those gamers then: Obsidian Entertainment will be delivering all that and more this week with the debut of its latest shooter-RPG, The Outer Worlds.
Even better news: it sounds like the game is amazing. Game Rant’s review for The Outer Worlds declared it “a lot, in the best way possible,” and it’s easy to see why. The satirical sci-fi shooter, while maybe not as big as other RPGs like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim or Fallout 76, makes up for it with the sheer depth of its gameplay systems, from the variety of the quest and customization systems to the impressive layers of characterization given to the NPCs players can interact with.
But Game Rant’s not the only publication that got to review the game early. Here’s what others have to say about The Outer Worlds:
IGN (Dan Stapleton)
With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian has found its own path in the space between Bethesda and BioWare, and it’s a great one. And considering that new RPGs from either of those influential developers are still years away, this game couldn’t have been timed any better. It’s not as explorable as one big open world but it still packs in a large portion of flexible quests and conflicts within its series of smaller ones. And the combat, character, and companion systems have enough new spins on existing ideas to make it feel like an homage with its own personality rather than a copy.
PC Gamer (Tom Senior)
The game's retrofuturistic aesthetics and dark sense of humour pitches The Outer Worlds against Bethesda's Fallout games, but there are important differences. True, you have ray guns, and companions who will shoot enemies and stand around staring awkwardly into walls, but this game isn't a sprawling sandbox experience. You hop between planets and space stations, exploring fairly large (and very pretty) zones full of corporate employees staving off plagues and wild animal attacks. Each area is loaded with loot and sidequests, but it's a tight and prescriptive RPG. You fetch science fiction gadgets for quest givers and make some entertaining moral decisions. That's not a bad thing, but in a world of 70-hour RPGs it's useful to set expectations.
GameSpot (Edmond Tran)
I finished The Outer Worlds wanting more, eager to jump back into the world to see extra things. It's not a short game, but it's one packed with such a steady stream of wonderful characters to meet, interesting places to explore, and meaningful, multi-layered quests to solve, that it didn't feel like there was any room to get tired of it. I wanted to rewind the clock and do everything in a completely different way. The Outer Worlds is consistently compelling throughout, and it's a superb example of how to promote traditional RPG sensibilities in a sharp, modern experience.
Screen Rant (Christopher Teuton)
As more and more game companies pivot towards an always online live service model for their products, having access to such a complete "AAA" title with no additional microtransactions or purchasable cosmetic content is almost unheard of. The Outer Worlds, while still reminiscent of the games which came before it, is both a testament to Obsidian Entertainment's past quality and their ability to take what works best from other developer's titles and weave them into their own format in a way which feels at once unique and yet still comfortably familiar.
PCGamesN (Dustin Bailey)
Obsidian’s RPG fulfills its potential, but only in fits and starts. Sure, its worst moments are only ever as bad as workmanlike RPG-making, but they make the stretches between some instances of genuine greatness a little more disappointing.
Polygon (Cass Marshall)
Obsidian has pulled off the delicate task of creating an RPG that feels big while still keeping control of the overall scope of the game itself. There is a galaxy map, but this isn’t No Man’s Sky, with the freedom to completely explore every sprawling world if I choose to. Each planet consists of relatively small zones, so I’m able to focus on my current quest without becoming overwhelmed. These areas are always small enough that I never lose track of the story or my immediate goals, but complex enough that new seeds are constantly being planted for the next area and quest. The Outer Worlds is expansive when it needs to be, but never falls into the trap of believing that bigger is always better.
USGamer (Mike Williams)
In an alternate reality where modern Fallout retained the the focus on choice and role-playing, The Outer Worlds would be the result. Obsidian Entertainment delivers this small window into that alternate reality, a game that prizes picking the right skills to tackle weird and wild situations. The Outer Worlds shines in the writing, but the combat doesn't equally rise to the occasion. Likewise, the planets you visit could use a few more quests or interesting spots to explore. The Outer Worlds is still a fun romp though, something that will hopefully build to something bigger in the future.
Game Informer (Joe Juba)
Even if the larger beats don’t always land, The Outer Worlds shines with a constant stream of small, bright moments. An amusing interaction with a clueless guard. A sugary corporate jingle. A brutal sneak attack. A solution to a problem you are sure won’t work, but it does. The team at Obsidian excels at encouraging creative experimentation within its responsive and absurd setting, ensuring that every visit to Halcyon is full of delightful surprises.
So yeah, this definitely looks like the next game fans of shooter-style RPGs and corporate satire should get their hands on. As they can see, even the game’s harshest critics so far still consider it a pretty solid game. With its rich world and memorable story, The Outer Worlds should definitely appeal to fans of Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas looking for something to scratch a similar itch this weekend.
A word of warning, though. Console players are going to have to put up with a massive day-one update for The Outer Worlds when it arrives on Friday. Xbox One users will have it worst of all, as the update will require 38 GB of space, while PlayStation 4 users will only have to clear up a still-hefty 18 GB.
The Outer Worlds will be out on October 25 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. A Switch version is also in development.