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11/12/2019 18:59:28 •••

I'm Way Too Jaded to be Playing Video Games

There's something about the Outer Worlds that makes me ask myself "haven't I been here before?"

It might be the dated aesthetic. I am rarely impressed with the way anything looks and often find myself thinking of other games' landscapes: Fallout, Borderlands, No Man's Sky, XCOM 2. The game is steeped in references and homages to Firefly, Futurama, and Foss. Once the novelty of the intro wore off, I felt like I encountered little new.

It might be the gameplay, so clearly inspired by Fallout 4 and it's streamlined shoot'n'loot experience, Tactical Time Dilation only barely improving upon VATS. The combat is fun, sure, but it does little new. You get a directional dodge, fragile companions with one special ability apiece, and a forgiving locational damage system. Damage types consist of Normal, Plasma, Shock, Acid, and Radiation. Weapon modifications are paltry at best.

It might be that Obsidian's quest design is getting a bit old hat by now. After New Vegas, both Pillars, and Tyranny, I feel like I've seen it all: there are always two conflicting, ideologically opposed factions to choose from, with a clever compromise for the enterprising player to stumble across and plenty of skill checks along the way.

It might be that the game is riddled with reused assets, from a small pool of possible enemies, multiple tiers of functionally/aesthetically identical weapons and armors, repetitive map parcels, and too-similar NP Cs.

Obsidian makes an effort to justify some of these pecularities, with prefabricated buildings and mass produced corporate crud explaining the repetitive spaces and mediocre equipment variety.

But the more time I spend playing the game, the more I notice the cracks in the facade. It starts to feel rote after a while — you can only shoot the same collection of enemies with the same weapons in the same interiors so many times before fatigue sets in.

If you haven't spent too much time with Obsidian's older properties, The Outer Worlds is as good an entry point as any. But if you've seen the best they have to offer, it's worth waiting for a sale. You can still pick it up on Microsoft's Game Pass for a dollar, but I don't know how long that deal will last.

EDIT: This is something of an afterthought, but the game's plot is literally just Hanlon's Razor applied to a solar system. Because it is ultimately the forces of impotent greed and incompetence versus the forces of ideological purity and shortsightedness, it becomes harder and harder to take the conflicts seriously. There are very few characters with a vision *and* the will to pursue it, much less as actual antagonists. There is no Caesar here — only a dozen Crockers and Swanks.

11/04/2019 00:00:00

I have to say, that is the harshest review I\'ve ever seen for the Outer Worlds.

11/12/2019 00:00:00

I mean, they are very much playing to the formula here. It\'s not their best game, by any means, but I enjoy it for what it is.

I think it would\'ve been better for them to play the joke a lot harder, since it\'s almost all a big joke. I\'ve heard that a lot got cut out of Byzantium, but I think that really needed to be their centrepiece here.

11/12/2019 00:00:00

@Unsung

I agree. With how central Byzantium is to the Board and their agenda, there\'s surprisingly little to do there. At first I thought all the named stores and the increasingly ridiculous excuses for their closure was cute, but then I realized there were like, four sidequests in the entire hub.

Shame, too — it has an atmosphere that is decidedly hollow and uncanny and only one of the quests there really deals with that.


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