It’s always a little tricky to know when to review a game without an embargo, especially one where you can’t just beat the campaign and move on, you have to loot and attack the endgame for the loot.
But at this point in Outriders, I did all the quests and side quests on my Trickster and started a bunch of endgame expedition challenges. I almost finished the game again on my Technomancer. And I got a way to run a Pyromancer on PC instead of Xbox.
So yeah, I played a lot in the Outriders.
I wrote an article before the release of Outriders wondering if the game could be “The One”, a rare looter that gets things done at launch time, rather than having to wait for endless patches and buffs and full of extensions to get where it needs to be. . Games like Diablo 3 and Destiny (1 and 2) needed this full year. Others like Anthem, and perhaps Marvel’s Avengers, might never get there. A while back it looked like Outriders, what seemed like a relatively generic sci-fi IP address trying to capitalize on the looter craze, would likely fail. But in the months leading up to launch, clever marketing showing the depth of gear and skill, and a free demo showed just how much fun the gameplay can be. Minds began to change, including mine.
Here at the full exit? I am deeply impressed with the final product produced by Outriders. I am, above all, a loot player, and have dabbled in or become obsessed with just about every game of this genre at one point or another. And Outriders stands out as a meaningful and extremely good entry into a genre where everything is easy to screw up.
Outriders is the most literal interpretation of “Diablo with Guns” in history, even more so than the original series that tried this, Borderlands. The game is structured with small, somewhat linear levels. You are free to mix and match skills with skill modifiers on the armor (a substitute for gems / runes). There is a fixed gear that combines for powerful effects. These are endgame “runes” (expeditions) where you’ll farm the best gear once you’ve beaten the main story.
What works the most about Outriders is the way its gear systems intersect with the gameplay. I went through a period where I was skeptical of the Outriders’ addiction to essentially two types of encounters, a room full of human enemies under cover and a room full of monster enemies invading you in empty space. And really, that’s true throughout the game, but what changes is the way you deal with them. I’ve never been more impressed with a game’s combination of gears and skill than I’ve seen with Outriders here. The freedom to equip not only at the end of the game, but even at level 10 or higher with blue gear opens up the ability to freely switch between versions, all of which are fun, using various skills and mods that transform them.
There just aren’t any bad classes in the Outriders. Whichever class you think is bad at the start of the game, you just haven’t spent enough time yet. There are some amazing and viable endgame builds for Trickster, Teleport Hunter, Technomancer, Toxic / Frost Mage Type, Pyromancer, Fire Launcher, and Devastator, Rock Tank, all of which can be used as scrolls of support or DPS depending on how you build them. All of them are fun. None of them stand out as being decidedly worse than the rest, which, again, is very unusual in a game like this.
The key to combat in Outriders is that despite the chest-high walls everywhere, you’re almost never meant to be in cover, and rather, the game is a lot more engaging trying to play it like DOOM, in a hyper-aggressive way. . Not so gung-ho that you’re overwhelmed, but you can get into a tactical flow of moving around a room dismantling groups of enemies in a ballet of destruction that’s some of the best I’ve seen in the genre.
You might think that with good loot and good building potential, the story probably suffers like it does in most Raiders. Strangely, that’s… isn’t it true either? While this might not be a great video game tale of all time, I found myself enjoying the road trip vibe of the tale, getting involved in the characters, especially my own. ‘bored superhero’ attitude actually makes them quite likable, and gives them more personality than say, a speechless warden or division agent. I was also really taken aback by a lot of plot surprises that People Can Fly buried in the game as they went along, things they deliberately left out of marketing. The ending was a bit offbeat for me, but the journey to get there was fantastic.
So, any drawbacks? A few. The linearity of the level design is somewhat exhausting, especially when there’s a canned animation scene between opening each door or descending under each log to access a new area, and each map, already enough. small, is divided into 6 to 7. zones. The explanation was that this was built to accommodate co-op play, and yet almost everyone is going to be playing the campaign solo at least, so it seems unnecessary. It also raises the question of why this game could not have been launched with a period of offline mode, which I guess is not unique to the genre, but stands out here as being wrong, especially with the first server issues the game had near launch.
The Endgame Expedition Grind can be fun, but some are stupidly hard and some are fun, and they don’t seem very well balanced so far. I also hate the matchmaking system, not only because it doesn’t work most of the time, but because it usually won’t put you straight into a race, but rather into a “town” where you expect pierced players. through a menu from the supplier for ten minutes instead of actually starting the activity. In a genre focused on efficient grinding, having so much downtime between runs is incredibly boring, and it’s best done with friends you’re all on the same page with.
Some basic functionality is missing here. Lockable items, loads. The waypoint system is extremely broken as you step into the game. So it’s clear that there are some things that still need to be fixed, whether it’s quality of life or bug fixes.
And yet, Outriders exceeded my expectations in almost every way. Months ago I thought this would be another looter flop, but now it’s one of the best entries out there today, and even without a “live service roadmap” at hand, it is clear that you could potentially squeeze hundreds of hours out of it independently. I intend to do just that.
Square Enix has provided a revision code for this game.
Developer: People can fly
Editor: Square Enix.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/ S, Pc, Stadia
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