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Outward is a Western RPG with a Wide-Open Sandbox world, developed by the Canadian Nine Dots Studios, and released on March 26th, 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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It is set in a Low Fantasy realm of Aurai, a setting that can be described as a cross between Dark Souls and Kingdom Come: Deliverance, with its combat system and world-building being largely inspired by the former, and possessing the same sort of Survival Sandbox elements as the latter. It can also be played alone, or in co-op.

The player begins as a shipwrecked castaway, who is rescued from Chernonese coast, but must now repay a blood debt to the Cierzo city within five days, or be kicked out. They may succeed or fail; either way, they will have managed to attract the interest of the world's three dominant factions, The Blue Chamber Collective, The Holy Mission of Elatt or the The Heroic Kingdom of Levant, who are all hoping the player will join them and finally turn the ongoing stalemate into their favour.

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Tropes present in Outward:

  • An Axe to Grind: Axes are weapons with greater pure damage but lower impact on the enemy stability (and thus the chance to stagger them) relative to the "average" swords. With the enemies, Ash Giants and Elite Ash Giants are most notable for wielding large two-handed axes.
  • Artificial Script: Most of the writing visible in the game is written in the "rune alphabet", which consists of normal Roman letters mirrored over themselves. The actual text is mostly composed in French.
  • Blade on a Stick: The game has Spears and Polearms as separate weapon categories, since the former do quick thrusts and the latter are swung in wide arc. Troglodyte warriors exclusively wield crude polearms, while Mana Troglodytes have rather similar staves. Scourge Immaculates fight with Halberds.
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  • Body Horror: The Walking Hives are the formerly humanoid repositories of hornet-like insects whose nests now take up the space where their head and the upper body used to be. The rest of their original body is reduced to a skeleton, with spindly vines wrapped around some limbs to make them a little less brittle.
  • Bonus Boss: The Unknown Arenas are a series of hidden areas, three for each overworld region, that only become available after a player completes a main faction quest line. Each contains a boss fight against an enemy or small group that is substantially tougher than anything the player will encounter during a quest. Most of these are enhanced versions of regular enemies, as designated by the title "Elite".
  • Butterfly of Transformation: The enchanting pillar in the Soroboreans DLC, used to add permanent enchantments to equipment, has the legs and wings of a butterfly, and the types of incense used in the enchanting process are named after types of butterfly.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Player characters can catch the cold from being exposed to cold weather, which reduces speed and stamina and makes them cough, reducing their stealth. It can be cured with bed rest or a certain medicinal tea made from seaweed.
  • The City Narrows: Levant has the Slums, a ramshackle patch of crude buildings which are also spattered with blood and littered with bodies, the living inhabitants either begging to get by or preparing for illegal activities. Levant is notably the only city in the game that has such a disparity in its citizens, and is also the only one that eschews the Blue Chamber's laws of enforced equality.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In general, foods that restore health, stamina, or mana will be colored red, yellow or blue, respectively. This isn't an absolute; gaberries and products made from them are red, but have stamina restoration and warming effects, with no effect on health.
  • Continuing is Painful: The player character cannot die permanently in-universe, but they also lose practically everything at death, as well as waking up with persistent wounds. Thus, it actually takes longer to regain your progress than it would be in a more conventional game where the player was knocked back to a checkpoint.
  • The Corruption: A literal one had emerged as the result of the magical explosion that tore apart the mountains of Aurai, leaving only a canyon behind. It is now spread by the creatures known as the Scourge.
  • Crapsack World: Best exemplified by the intro: your friend's ship crashes because the lighthouse wasn't lit, killing everyone but you two and losing all the treasure you obtained while away. He's struck blamed for this accident with a blood debt, and you still need to pay your long-dead ancestor's, with the only reason your house isn't immediately taken away being because the town chief is reasonable. You can comment how unfair this is, at which point you'll be told that it's in place because it works, but you're free to venture out. Sounds like typical scaremongering, right? Well, when you do venture out, you'll find the world is bleak. Aside from bandits, there's no human civilization that hasn't been long destroyed in the starting area, and the world is mostly empty. For all the issues the blood debt has, it works.
  • Dem Bones: The player will encounter Animated Skeletons at Corrupted Tombs and Ziggurat Passage. The former mainly fight with picks, and only possess the same durability (90 HP) as a common Bandit. The latter wield axes or claymores, and are substantially tougher, with their 150 HP equivalent to Bandit Captains or Defenders. Being undead, both varieties are immune to bleeding and poison; however, their skeletal frame also makes them easier to stagger than the living humans.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Elatt was a mage before he became the God of Mankind. He still remembers what it’s like to be human and he’s surprisingly humble when you first speak to him.
  • Dialogue Tree: Present during the quest conversations.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The open world nature of the game allows a player to get very powerful equipment early if they know where to look.
    • Head to the beach near Cierzo at night and you'll be able to collect deposits of blue sand, a crafting material which sells for a good bit (12 silver a piece, compared to the 6-8 silver you'll be getting from selling bandit weapons) and can be used to craft a set of armor that provides the best general defense in the game. You don't even need to fight anything to get it, the only enemies around are shrimp which, while powerful, are easy to avoid.
    • Make your way to the Vendavel Fortress and you'll find a scary looking knight guy equipped with a tower shield and a brutal mace. He may look dangerous but if your dodging skills are good enough (or you climb up on a nearby rock and pelt him with arrows) he can be beaten to acquire a tower shield and brutal club, allowing you to effectively block most attacks for awhile and giving you a weapon stronger than most of what you'll find in the area.
    • The Tuanosaur Axe and Greataxe can both be obtained without exploring any dungeons or fighting any bosses and are only outclassed in their type by endgame weapons. To get either all you need is the brutal version of their weapon type (You can buy a brutal axe in the starting town rarely, and you can get a brutal greataxe off of bandits), and some palladium and alpha tuanosaur tails (Both of which can be obtained in the Hallowed Marsh region).
    • The Thrice-Wrought Halberd does substantial damage, half of which is ice and half fire, meaning that almost nothing in the game can meaningfully resist it. It can be found in the Cabal of Wind temple, which can be cleared without fighting any monsters because there's a resetable trap in the central room. If you can manage to lure the monstrosities inside, you can kill them off with ease, netting both the Halberd and a bunch of valuable monster parts.
  • Divine Intervention: During her first mission, Oliele is almost killed by overwhelming corruption, but is saved by Elatt; as a consequence, her limbs and eyes are replaced by living light.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers are treated by the game as a subset of maces, and like them, they will stagger enemies more easily than the swords, but deal less pure damage. When it comes to the enemies, Bandit Lieutenants typically wield greathammers.
  • Dual Wielding: The Golden Sceptres that lack Lightning Cannons fight with dual blades replacing their arms instead. Guardian of the Compass is a Sword Golem boss that nimbly wields two swords.
  • Easy Level Trick: You could scrounge up the 150 silver you need to pay your Blood Debt the honest way...or you could steal a bandage from the storehouse, head down to the beach, and use said bandage to save a dying villager, who will offer to clear your debt as thanks. Granted, the beach is crawling with lightning spewing shrimp, so it may not be entirely easy.
  • Elemental Rivalry: Most of the magical elements are paired, such that creatures with an affinity to one element tend to be vulnerable to its opposite. The main pairs are fire and ice, and decay and lightning. Ether is a mostly neutral element, with most ethereal creatures both dealing ethereal damage and being vulnerable to it, but it is sometimes paired with lightning as well. There are a few pieces of gear in the game that have affinity with both elements in an opposing pair, giving their user a particular advantage against mixed company.
  • Elite Mooks: Played with, in that the enemies that are literally called Elite in their name are usually a straight-up King Mook Bonus Boss. Thus, Elite Alpha Tuanosaur is a boss found at the Ziggurat Passage, the two Elite Obsidian Elementals and an Elite Burning Man make up a Burning Tree boss fight, Three Elite Ash Giants are one of the boss fights in the Giants' Village, and the special Troglodyte varieties - Armored Troglodyte, Mana Troglodyte and Troglodyte Grenadier - also possesses Elite versions, which are all encountered guarding their queen.
  • Exposed to the Elements: This is not something a player wants to do, as exposure to the cold is a thing, and so staying warm is a concern. Literally the only advantage of basic torches over lanterns, for instance, is that they generate heat along with light, and so can be more helpful in the cold areas: there's even a counterpart with Ice-Flame Torch, which will cool the player while providing light. However, these items are hardly something you want to rely on.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Highlord Cyr, the leader of the giants, wears one.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: While normal plants exist, many have minor magical properties, and others have been significantly changed by their environment, such as turmmips, blue turnips that restore mana, and purpkins, purple pumpkins that ooze Corruption.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, as the game includes six types of blackpowder pistols (though no larger firearms like rifles) and four of them also inflict elemental debuffs. They are much more damaging than bows, but have a shorter range and a long reload time.
  • Friendly Fire: Averted. In particular, the explosive bulbs thrown by the Troglodyte Grenadiers will also damage their allies.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The various Marsh Bandits wear Ash-Filter Masks, which are basically a medieval-era attempt at creating a gas mask that would also function as a normal steel helmet.
  • Giant Mook: The literal Ash Giants. The most basic variant has 700 HP, which is equivalent to the HP of the two boss Liches. Out of the regular enemies, it is only slightly exceeded by the comparably large Scourge Immaculates and Shell Horrors (775 and 750), while Ash Giant Priests possess 800 HP.
  • Golem: Some of the Construct enemies are called Beast Golems, Forge Golems and Sword Golems. However, they are all very untraditional examples: Sword Golems are spindly, finely forged automatons at odds with the traditional image of a bulky golem, but they at least have a humanoid shape. Beast Golems are essentially mechanical hounds that bite opponents with metal beaks, while Forge Golems are like a miniature version of a Chicken Walker; they may be only half as a tall as a human, but their Molten variety compensates for that with in-built dual Flame Cannons.
  • Healing Potion: Played straight with Life Potions, which instantly restore 50 HP, while Great Life Potions fully restore up to 300 health and also close the Bleeding wounds.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Armored Troglodydes, which are said to be the few Troglodytes who lived past their first birthday and learned about the merits of armor. Instead of forging it, though, they simply roll around in metal scraps until they stick to their soft and bulbous hide. This approach works well enough to boost their HP to 225 - 2,5 times larger than a common Troglodyte, and 1,5 times greater than the elite skeletons or bandits. They have an Elite variety too, which outright has an HP of 350.
    • Bandit Defenders overlap with Shield-Bearing Mook, as they wear full plate armor and also carry tower shields. Moreover, some Bandits will both tame Hyenas, and give them armor on their back.
  • Hive Queen: The Troglodyte Queen, who is worshipped by the rest of the species as a goddess and is guarded by six of their most elite fighters.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted. It is truly dark at night, or in many underground areas, and the player is essentially forced to carry torches or lanterns with them. Wearing a backpack onto which you can hang a lantern (or even craft a Glowstone or even Light Mender's Backpack that'll act as light sources of their own), and thus free up a hand for a shield or a two-handed weapon is one of the more important Boring, but Practical tweaks you can make for these times.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Cabal of Winds suffered this: they were previously the leading religion of the continent, until one of their proteges named Elatt founded a rival group. In an effort to stop him, the Cabal concocted a very extreme plan involving the consumption of an entire leyline in order to place a curse on Elatt, transforming his life force into corruption. The plan backfired spectacularly: Elatt consumed the power of the curse and became an immortal god, while the corruption spawned from him created a horde of monsters who rampaged across the land, but were most concentrated near the Cabal's centers of power. As a result, in the game's present state there is only one Cabal member still surviving.
  • Homing Projectile: Elite Obsidian Elementals cast homing fireballs at the player, and the Elite Burning Man can do the same once he hits his second phase.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Downplayed, as only certain food items like Bread of the Wild will gradually regenerate health over time in addition to simply providing sustenance. Most foods are simply there to stave off hunger.
  • An Ice Person: It is possible to specialise in ice spells, though like with all elemental magic, most are less-glamorous things like weapon buffs, magical shields, or even a Cool spell that simply counters getting overheated in hot regions.
    • Wendigos are monsters focused on ice magic. Bandits can at times be accompanied by Ice Witches, who cast Ice Bolts and Ice Explosions. Balora, one of the Vendavil warlords, is an much more powerful ice witch.
  • Item Crafting: A crucial part of playing the game, with dozens of recipes for a wide variety of helpful items and consumables.
  • King Mook: Frequent; see Elite Mooks above. In particular, the boss battle at the Burning Tree of an Emmerkar Forest overlaps with Wolf Pack Boss, as you confront an Elite Burning Man and two Elite Obsidian Elementals. Notably, the Burning Man is buffed much more than the Elementals - the latter go from 400 HP for the basic version to 900, while he gets 10X values with 2500 HP over the basic variety's 250. To be fair, it also gets a second phase at 75% HP, with attacks that are unique to it.
    • The principle also applies to the bosses who aren't simply named Elite "Enemy X". Ash Giant Highmonk is the advanced priests, Scourge Butchers of Men are advanced Immaculates, Balora is an upgraded Ice Witch, etc.
  • Ley Line: Leylines are concentrations of magic, and visiting one is the only way for a character to learn magic skills. Within the explorable area of the game, there is only one currently active, under the Conflux Mountain in the Chersonese.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Light Mender, aka the Gold-lich, specializes in electricity, creating massive and complex machines with a golden motif, as well as robotic mooks that glow with a pure golden light. He's also bent on controlling humanity, or if that fails, destroying it.
  • Mana Meter: A particularly cruel variety. The Low Fantasy setting means that the players do not start with mana by default like they would in most RPGs. Instead, it can only be gained at the Ley Line in the Conflux Chambers, and getting 20 points of mana forces the player to sacrifice 5 points of HP and stamina.
  • Mecha-Mooks: All of the enemies in the Construct category. Just like Undead, they are immune to Poison and Bleeding, and many of them are also immune to Burning; the ones that aren't are creations of the Gold-Lich with high Lightning resistance (but weakness to Ethereal and Decay) instead.
  • Mind over Matter: Blade Dancer is a construct found in the Hallowed Marsh area, and which telekinetically controls multiple jade scimitars.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Since the lanterns are powered by flammable oil, they can be thrown with pretty much the same effects as a Molotov.
  • Mook Lieutenant: All of the Bandit varieties have Lieutenants and/or Captains.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Storage capacity is an important consideration in this game; as such, there are several legendary backpacks that can be found or made.
  • Mushroom Man: According to the lore, all of the troglodytes are actually a type of sentient fungus. However, that doesn't stop them from feeding on normal mushrooms.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The leaders of Scourge fought at the end of several quest lines are the elite Immaculates called "Butchers of Men".
  • Our Liches Are Different: According to Word of God, they're individuals who have bound their life force to a phylactery in order to achieve immortality. Not exactly undead, they're not necessarily evil either, though of the five liches that can be encountered in the game, three are innately hostile. Their immortality isn't perfect, either: one, the creator of the Walled Garden in Abrassar, was killed in the initial attack by the Scourge and their body can be found there.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghosts in Outward obviously do not bleed or suffer from poison, and are mostly, but not entirely resistant to all physical attacks - 20% of the damage will still get through, while the Green Ghosts in the Corrupted Tombs only possess 40% Physical Resistance. Still, it is very much preferable to obtain a source of Ethereal damage instead, which deals doubled damage to them (even though that's also the damage they are using). Besides the weaker Green Ghosts and the "default" purple ones, there are also Ghosts of the Scarlet Lady, which have the least HP but inflict burning with their attacks, and the elite Red Ghosts, which possess 270 HP and can heal themselves with a Shockwave Stomp explosion that also damages the player and renders them vulnerable to further Ethereal damage.
  • Our Gods Are Different: A human can become a god, or a "being of living thought", if they survive being hit by a massive amount of magical power. Elatt was the first person to undergo this, and at the end of the Holy Mission quest line, he elevates Queen Calixa of Levant to the same status.
  • Playing with Fire: The player can develop fire magic, although the traditional stuff like fireballs requires one to draw a Sigil of Fire and stand within it first. However, you can learn to cast a flamethrower burst from within any lantern you hold, though that'll obviously end up degrading the lantern. Otherwise, you also have the ability to warm yourself if you spent too long in a cold area, and the same spells infusing weapons and shields with fire damage/protection as ones possessed by the other elements. (And like with the other elements, you can either perform an Elemental Discharge from the infused weapon, or strike it into the infused shield for a powerful explosion.)
    • The Fire Beetles can cast two varieties of a fireball. Alpha Tuanosaurs can generate a flame explosion, and the Elite Alpha Tuanosaur boss can cast homing fireballs as well.
    • All of the enemies affiliated with the Scarlet Lady Lich possess flame powers. Thus, Ghosts of her followers inflict burning with their attacks, while Burning Men not only do that, but can also generate a flame blast or a flamethrower-like stream. The stag-like Obsidian Elementals will simply cast a whole volley of fireballs, which also home in on the player for their elite versions.
  • Slave Mooks: Bandit Slaves, which are predictably the weakest humans in the game.
  • Power Floats: The two boss Liches, Light Mender and Plague Doctor, float around to represent their power. Burning Men also float but barely a foot off the ground.
  • Power Glows: Mana is bioluminescent.
  • Powerful Pick: Miner Skeletons predictably fight with their former tools of trade.
  • Respawning Enemies: Downplayed. While all of the enemies that aren't unique or quest-related can respawn, this only happens if the player spends a full week outside of their area. Otherwise, they'll be replaced with a different, "reserve" group of enemies instead, in a process which can repeat several times in each area.
  • Save Scumming: Averted, as Outward doesn't provide manual saves and constantly auto-saves everything the player does instead. PC players can recover old saves; this is meant as a protection against bugs, but it can be exploited.
  • Schizo Tech: The world is firmly medieval fantasy, but there are remnants of advanced machines all over, and Levant has the knowledge to make basic firearms.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: The Vigil Pylons work this way: each contains an imprisoned Scourge monstrosity kept alive unnaturally while it is continuously attacked by the spirits of Holy Missionaries, its anguish warding other Scourge away.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Most enemy types are hostile to each other; thus, an effective strategy, especially in the Hollowed Marsh and several dungeons, is to lead one mob so that it clashes with another mob, wait for them to duke it out, and mop up the survivors.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The basic bandits and their regional variations will wield either or with a shield. Bandit Defenders always carry large tower shields. Red Ghosts of the Scarlet Lady used to be warriors with swords and circular shields, and they can still block the player with them.
  • Shock and Awe: Ash Giant Priests can summon Lightning orbs. Mantis Shrimps can do a similar attack.
    • The Light Mender is an ancient, immortal Lich with Lightning powers. His time spent studying electricity allowed him to create a whole army of constructs that also use lightning - from Golden Minions that fight with polearms and simply generate a lightning explosion up close, to Golden Sceptres that are often equipped with outright Lightning Cannons.
    • The player can temporarily add shock status to a normal weapon with Infuse Light spell or with Bolt Rag and Bolt Varnish items, while the weapons from the Gold-Lich set are all permanently imbued with Lightning. This is especially important when facing Troglodytes and the Scourge, who are all vulnerable to lightning. They can also specialise in Lightning spells, but as with all other elements, nearly all of them are of buff-oriented and defensive nature, with the straight-up attacks like Lightning Spark and Lightning Bullet requiring the Sigil of Wind to be cast first. Otherwise, you can only perform an Elemental Discharge from your currently held lightning-infused weapon or infuse the shield as well and go for a "Gong Clash" (striking a buffed weapon into a buffed shield to generate a powerful explosion) - the moves which have direct equivalents for all other elements.
  • Shout-Out: There's a food item named Bread of the Wild.
  • Spikes of Doom: In an inversion, the player can deploy these by creating and deploying Tripwire Traps, which will have sharp spikes (wooden, iron or even palladium, depending on the player's dedication to crafting them) pop out of the ground once someone walks over them.
  • Spike Shooter: Manticores can shoot a sequence of five spikes.
  • Sprint Meter: The stamina meter is consumed both while moving, and with any other action, such as attacking.
  • Squishy Wizard: Played straight for the players, as getting any mana in the first place requires them to permanently sacrifice HP and stamina, so a spellcasting character is always squishier than a pure warrior character of the same level. When it comes to the enemies, however, the mages are generally substantially tougher than most enemies: Ice Witches have 200 HP, which is more than double of basic Bandits' 90, and is even greater than 150 of Bandit Captains and Defenders. Same goes for the Mana Troglodytes. Ash Giant Priests have a 100 more HP than the normal Ash Giants, giving them HP of 800 that exceeds any other non-boss enemy.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Hallowed Marsh area is a complicated example: as the site of the Holy Mission, it houses those who are most responsible for fighting the Scourge, and they seem to have a respect for the marsh itself. However, the area is also steeped in corruption, with poisonous waters and unusually dangerous fauna. The Marsh varieties of the bandits found there are some of the toughest, having more HP than all the rest and being resistant to Decay rather than weak to it, and with minor resistances to the other elements.
  • Timed Mission: The very first mission of paying off the 150 silver blood debt (or obtaining a Writ of Tribal Favour instead) can be failed if not done within five days. Afterwards, each of the three factions also has at least one quest with a time limit; failing them will not stop the player from completing the game, but will still have consequences, ranging from some NPCs dying of starvation to getting locked out of a secondary location or receiving a permanent stamina debuff.
    • Once the player joins one of the three main factions, the long, multi-stage Vendavel Quest will begin as well. If it is not completed within 20 days, Cierzo, the first city in the game, will be permanently destroyed, and be a host a bunch of tough enemies instead.
  • Tragic Villain: The Immaculates are intelligent constructs with their own personalities and interests, but programmed with an overwhelming urge to slaughter humans. Some have gone to considerable lengths trying to overcome this instinct, but so far to no avail; as such, Immaculates and humans simply cannot coexist, even though they don't necessarily hate each other.
  • Warp Whistle: A downplayed version is found in the Soroboreans DLC. The traveling Soroborean merchant will take you along with him to his destination, but you have to pay him and have enough travel rations on hand to make the journey, and you have to go wherever he is going. The same amount of in-game time elapses, but the player is saved from having to make the trek. This method is the only way to get to the Ancient Plateau, the world region introduced in the DLC.
  • Weird Moon: Though the moon itself looks fairly normal, it's surrounded by a ring system and several irregularly-shaped smaller satellites.
  • Wendigo: People who commit cannibalism transform into wendigos, powerful undead that exude cold. They're commonly found around bandits, who abuse and neglect their captives to the point that cannibalism approaches inevitability. The bandits themselves are also prone to turning.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: In Levant, you can walk right into the royal throne room and talk to the king and queen; the king will even teach you an attack in exchange for some money. By contrast, the leaders of the other factions won't talk to you until you join them.
  • Windmill Scenery: Every region in the game has an abandoned windmill somewhere. Caldera is an exception, but you can build one in New Sirocco.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Eating is one of the necessities for survival in this world.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Burning Tree boss battle consists of an Elite Burning Man and two Elite Obsidian Elementals. One boss battle at the Giants' Village has you confront three Elite Ash Giants. The battle with the Troglodyte Queen also involves six of her Elite guards, whom she'll regularly heal (and two are healers themselves.)

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