Yep, The Outer Worlds is good. Damned good.
I’m not sure I’d say it breaks any molds in any big way (though it does have some really neat twists on stuff we’ve seen before), but it’s really polished, and densely packed with good stuff. Ultimately it feels like, by leaving Fallout behind, Obsidian has managed to create the best post-Black-Isle-era Fallout game yet.
In fact, as much as I’ve loved Fallout over the years, there’s something to be said for leaving the drab post-apocalyptic wasteland (and its many shades of brown) behind for a brand new aesthetic, which is every bit as rich and dripping with charm. The Outer Worlds captures all of the same style (often with a dash of the same 50s era inspiration), a world and society that feels lived-in and believable (and hilariously fucked up). And the characters and quests just beg you to keep exploring.
I’m going to recount an early game experience as vaguely as I can, in order to avoid spoilers but still convey how great the quests are in Outer Worlds. I was presented with a situation where there’s one thing, but two different people want the thing. So naturally, I have to decide who gets the thing. Pretty standard, we’ve seen that before in these games: I have to please one person, and disappoint the other.
I’d thought I’d made a decision, but one of my companions presented an argument that made me reconsider, which surprised me a little bit. But beyond that, after I made the decision, the quest didn’t simply end there. Where a lot of games might have simply said “now live with the consequences”, I was actually able to continue talking to everyone involved, and was presented with a number of options to reconcile the new situation I’d created. In the end I was able to take rough deal where I’d basically fucked someone over, and spin it into a situation that (I think) was actually better for everyone in the long run.
I know that’s vague, but the point I’m making is that Outer Worlds has a lot of beautifully crafted quests that are not at all black and white, and even when you pick one side or another, that doesn’t always mean that’s the end of the story. Making these tough decisions just opens up more interesting storytelling options.
And on top of that, I feel like The Outer Worlds gives you more choices for how to handle situations than Fallout ever did. There are so many times that I was certain I was heading for a fight, or for murder, and the game presented me with an option to lie, threaten or sweet talk my way around a confrontation, and it makes the game so much more interesting that way.
The game is definitely more segmented than Fallout has been in recent years; there’s no giant, sprawling open world to traverse here. Instead you’re hopping back and forth between smaller zones on different planets, but each of these areas is densely populated with design, instead of just space. There’s still lots to do, lots to find, lots to see, and stuff to discover off the beaten path, just without so much of the emptiness inbetween it all.
If I had one major gripe about the game right now, it’s the text size. It’s painfully small, and you do a lot of reading in The Outer Worlds. Especially if, like me, you love reading all of that the computer terminals have to offer. So I’m hoping we’ll see a patch in the near future that adjust the font size.
If you’ve enjoyed Fallout 3 or 4 or NV, you’ll love The Outer Worlds. It’s basically those games, but distilled into the best essence of itself. I’m not saying I’d never go back to the nuclear wasteland, but Obsidian has done something pretty cool here, and they’ve done it in a way that they retain full ownership. That bodes well for the future if we’re lucky enough to see this spin into a franchise.
“It’s not the best choice, it’s Spacer’s Choice!”
Well said! I’m loving every minute of it myself, almost too much as I needed to do some work that, I left until the last minute.
I think you said it perfectly when you said it’s nothing groundbreaking(inside joke!) but it’s just a wonderful, solid, Fallout-esque game which is EXACTLY what I need after the, sigh, continuing farce that is Fallout 76.
If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of character did you build?
I went pretty hard into Stealth and Dialog, followed up by ranged for when I need it. I throw some points into the other stuff here and there, but mostly I wanted to see what I could talk my way around in the game. Not really a fan of melee in TOW.
That’s reasonable: I honestly haven’t seen a more interesting First Person Swordplay mechanic since Jedi Outcast.
And even with that one half time time it was more interesting in the third person camera.
I whole heartedly agree! I’m loving The Outer Worlds 🙂 Let’s just hope that Microsoft (as the new owners of Obsidian) will see this and let Obsidian keep doing what they do best!
I just want to say that I LOVE Tim’s writing in these. The little jab at Fallout is so tiny and yet so prickly, it’s amazing.
So thank you again, Tim, for providing endless entertainment for years on end!
‘Prostituting her privates’ is the BEST jab – and so sadly true
My favorite thing is an NPC saying that needing three keys to do a thing is ridiculously overcomplicated.
frankly I’ve been having doubts about Bethesda being real since they announced fallout 76
a good game spoiled by the taint of Epic’s Greed
If you hate Eoic so much, the game is available on the Microsoft Store. It’s even in the Gamepass Library for PC.
Don’t need Epic, Microsoft Game Pass = play without the taint of Epic. Seriously. I have it on both my PC and Xbox 1 x. Haven’t really touched the PC version since my wife likes to watch the me play
Hey Casra. My partner likes to do the same. If you have a modern-ish TV you should be able to use it as a wireless display for your PC.
Yeah, you can get it on the Microsoft store in Windows on PC now. Microsoft screwed over Epic Games when they bought out Obsidian. XD
Seriously. You want to hate on Epic, fine. But at least be informed about which games are ACTUALLY Epic Exclusives.
OYE, be fair here:
Epic locks down more store exclusives, including Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, Remedy’s Control
The headline didn’t mention that it was also on Windows, and even I didn’t know the MS angle was available till recently.
Yeah, god what a greedy company, taking less of a cut than Steam for sales on their store and often giving away their engine for free! What a bunch of bastards.
The Epic Games store is also woefully underdeveloped as well. All this money Epic Games is throwing around for exclusivity deals would’ve been better spent developing their launcher/store to be a true competitor to Steam. They can’t keep on doing those exclusivity deals forever but they can make their launcher/store be in better shape for better long term health of their company.
Except it’s not just money being thrown around to get exclusives, it’s the fact that they are taking a lower cut of sales. Steam takes 30% of sales, Epic takes 12%. And they’re now making unreal engine free if you sell on their storefront, so from the perspective of an indie game developer it’s the choice of giving 30 to 35 cents on the dollar vs 12 cents. That’s huge, and I’m sure the epic store will improve over time. And it’s not like Steam is flawless as a launcher itself. One thing I have not seen is whether companies… Read more »
and now I really want to play it
I can appreciate that Obsidian has leveraged their Isometric RPG chops into a fine FPS-RPG
Maybe they can jam with inXile Entertainment a bit too? I really loved Wasteland 2 and, despite the near lack of combat – and perhaps because of it – Tides of Numenera. It’s nice when you don’t get stuck with four buttons with a one word description of your reaction to an NPC.
Completely off topic, but I love how vivid Ethan’s sweater is.
I hate you. I use to be a huge gamer, spent way too much time in WOW, Fallouts, Elder Scrolls and a few racing games over the years but after my daughters were born I drifted away and have barely played much of anything since. Nothing has really pulled me from my valued family time, nothing has seemed interesting enough to pull me from that. Most of your articles are funny and make me like the idea of playing but most reassure my decision to not spend the money or time on xxxx game but… I really want to play… Read more »
If it wasn’t for the Switch, I’d have no time to game at all. Haven’t had an hour to myself on a couch in the last, oh, maybe six years.
So sure, I COULD get The Outer Worlds now, and I’d be able to play a little bit here and there. Or, I could buy it when it comes out on Switch, and be able to do the same exact amount of progression in one day that I’d do in the six to twelve months I’d be waiting.
I’m with you on the Switch letting me sneak in time here and there.
I really hope the Switch release isn’t super watered down… I remember when I picked up a Lego game for the Vita (after playing on 360) and it was unberably awful.
Don’t know if I’d be approved for replacing the dusty 360 with a One just yet..hah
I mean, I’m anticipating something along the lines of Witcher III, or Wolfenstein. The exact same game, but with lower resolution, simpler textures, and 30 fps. Something that’ll still look amazing on the handheld screen, but will look like running your PC on its lowest settings when docked.
For me, that’s 100% worth it. Even if I had an hour or two a night to play on the big screen TV, that’d be worth it.
EDIT: And I’m betting that if you played a LEGO game on the Vita, it was an uprezzed 3DS game.
Just think of how cheap it’ll be when she finally goes to University though, just gotta play the long game!
If she hurts you again?
An Outer Worlds MMO will come…….
Tim are you talking about that side mission super early in the game you get when you’re doing the other collection mission thing for the one guy? The one where you could miss the second option if you’re not paying attention as you leave? I loved it. The game is littered with these choices. I also love how different the worlds are and even settlements on the same planet. I think Obsidian, while releasing a ‘safe’ game on the surface, really showed what a triple-A title can be if it’s developed and released properly with respect to players. I was… Read more »
I was thrilled that the protagonist is silent. I don’t need to listen to some voice, which likely doesn’t match the idea I have of my character, read out the line of dialogue I just selected. It’s also a great boost for modding, since you can create expanded content or even just new response choices without the awkwardness of re-using protagonist voicelines from elsewhere or suddenly jumping to an unvoiced or differently-voiced protagonist for modded segments.
This is going to sound odd, but I’m thrilled that Obsidian is a Microsoft first party. In general, I am not a fan of Sony as a company, and I really hate some of the more cutthroat, anti-consumer things that they do. However, they not only get a lot of good exclusives, but get a lot of the niche JRPGs that never make their way over to Microsoft. And while I love Uncle Phil, the XBone just doesn’t have many games to justify buying it over the PS4. Obsidian is right up my alley. If Nintendo is doing well enough… Read more »
I played a good chunk of Outer Worlds this weekend and while I’m a bit disappointed at how few weapons there are (I’ve pretty much already got the best 1H melee weapon in the game at level 10) I can’t help but be delighted at the setting. There’s something absurdist about a lot of it that just makes it fun. Soldiers forced to parrot sales slogans and the moments when you recognize the absurdity in some corporate structures (at one point you can discover a review for an individual who is described as “too good at getting things done himself… Read more »
I love reading the bureaucratic interoffice memos where it’s like “Your infraction has been logged. Please report to management for an official reprimand. Failure to do so will result in an official reprimand.”
It’s epic exclusive on PC though so it’s pretty much just garbage. Platform exclusive is stupid on consoles and stupider on PC.
Actually available in the Windows Store for PC as well, so your opinion is pretty much garbage.
playing in supernova, getting fallout new vegas Vibes and good memories and the loading times arent even that long (They are but not as much as new vegas) really a great game,
Seems like Obsidian have done what Bioware and others haven’t done, which is learn what was great about their previous games and distilled them and developed them to make this one. I’m flipping LOVING playing Outer Worlds, because it has just enough of what was great about Fallout or KOTOR2 while standing on its own. The characters and worldbuilding is fantastic, the story makes sense, and it’s just the right amount of insane fun at times. I genuinely laughed out loud when I started hearing the way the corporate lines have invaded the culture – so simple and subtle but… Read more »
I’m not sure Bioware can be blamed for being consumed by EA, the owners who sold it probably can be though
I’ve been saying for years that Bethesda should just leave the writing and such up to Obsidian since they’re clearly better at it than Bethseda, seems that Obsidian was listening.
If there’s DLC, I’ll get it. if there’s a sequel, I’m pouncing on it. It was delicious and I want more.
I love the game, my only pet peeve was that the companions kept getting in the way during combat. They just seemed to have very basic pathing that put them in between me and targets a lot. I had to do weird commands to put the to the side in some of the tougher fights, and I could see needing to manage that more on harder difficulty. I didn’t have my stat on them very high, but they were actually useful otherwise so worth the trouble of it.