The Outer Worlds might be my game of the year. It’s got everything I like in a game and little if anything that I dislike. The gameplay is similar to the more recent Fallout games which makes sense since Obsidian made Fallout: New Vegas – possibly my favorite installment in that series. The explorable areas in The Outer Worlds are smaller than a Fallout or Skyrim, which I actually quite enjoyed because it made the game feel more focused and less overwhelming than some open world games.
The story is funny and compelling, a really great blend of soft sci-fi and comedy. I genuinely laughed out loud in parts and enjoyed reading through the messages and logs on the various computer terminals spread around the game world.
All of the companions are fun and interesting with some great side quests and the different paths you can take to solve puzzles and quests was appreciated. I played a character with high charisma and speaking skills and more often than not I was able to talk my way out of a situation that likely would have resulted in a fight otherwise.
It seems like there are multiple paths through the story and potentially a few different endings based on what I experienced so there’s definitely potential for replaying and choosing to side with different factions.
Visually the game is very interesting. I actually found a number of the worlds and areas to be fairly ugly but it made them feel alien and in that sense it works quite well. So while this might sound like a negative and I’ve seen people comment on it I actually think it’s a good thing.
The worlds and areas are all distinct which is nice, with different plant life, animals and color schemes.
The characters and companions have a slightly cartoonish look which works well and they’re also very diverse and interesting.
Character creation is fun and works well, it was easy to make a character that I was happy with and that actually still looked good in-game once I started playing.
The game is fully voice acted and all the performances were really solid, with some great background banter as you’re wandering around. The conversations are repeated so if you’re hanging around on a planet or come back to it later you are likely to hear the same things but it’s not distracting and it kind of adds to the charm of the game.
I really enjoyed the music and I zoned out during the credits just listening to it which is always a good sign.
It reminds me more of the Knights of the Old Republic games (Obsidian also made KOTOR2) than it does Fallout, except obviously its first person. The stat system is clear and makes sense and the way the skills work is cool. Skills are divided into groups and until you’ve raised a group of skills to a certain level they all get raised. Then you can start to focus on individual skills.
I highly recommend The Outer Worlds. It’s a smaller and more focused role playing game which I think works in its favor, it knows what it’s good at and it sticks to it. I’m looking forward to the upcoming DLC and there are rumors that we might end up with a sequel, in which case I hope they stick to the feel of this and don’t try and make it into some huge sprawling thing. It feels like they spent their time focusing on a few core strengths with this game and it’s feels solid as a result.