The Outer Worlds – Review

Why not do another review? I played fucking loads of video games during my time in the isolation station, so I may as well talk about them.

Last week I reviewed Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the game where you work for a terrorist bent on bringing down an all-powerful corporation that cares more about profits than the lives of the people. This week I’ll be reviewing The Outer Worlds, a game where you work for a terrorist bent on bringing down an all-powerful corporation that cares more about profits than the lives of the people.

Huh.

I don’t think this is going to be as long of a post, but fuck it, let’s give it a shot.

Two Games

So, there’s really two games here. The games the trailers and the character creation/opening makes you think it is, and the game it actually is. This makes it sound like I didn’t like the actual game. Let me try to explain.

The trailers make it look more….comedic. The opening follows suit, with Phineas Welles (fantastic name) failing to open your cryogenic pod, so he starts slamming on the terminal to make it open. When you design your character, your aptitude (essentially your background) includes such gems as “Elevator Operations Specialist”, “Sub Sous Chef”, and my favorite, “Farmer, Dirt”. It presents a world where you’re a professional fuckup, something I can relate to more than I like to admit.

Instead the game has a much darker sense of humor, in a dark setting. The first subquest you get is collecting money for peoples’ graves. The whole setting is like a social darwinist experiment with the thumb held on the fast forward button (line stolen from Neuromancer, with no apologies). Even the regular folk who you could be saving and improving the lives of are so unlikable and unpitiable that I’d almost rather kill them all. There’s one person suffering from a plague sweeping through the company town, who refuses to get medical aid from someone (you) who doesn’t work for said company.

Oh, and the plague? It’s malnutrition. None of these people eat fruit or vegetables, just Saltuna. Which in this world isn’t even Saltuna, so much as from scraps of scavenger meat, dirt, and random fungus as a filler. With bellies full, they are wasting away. There’s a random lottery where citizens are allowed to retire early to Byzantium, the paradise city of the rich.

They’re killed by robots immediately. Spoilers.

Two Plot Lines

So there are also two plot lines that can happen in the game. The one that happens naturally is you follow Phineas Welles’ mission list/grocery shopping list, as part of your goal of saving a lost colony-ship full of scientists and grand thinkers and leaders (the ship you’re from….odd given that you’re a “Construction Electrician Class, Wire Spooler”). This is the good person storyline, and you make the Halcyon system an objectively better place.

On the other hand, once you leave the first town and get to a Space Station, you can sell out Phineas Welles to the cops. You have to go looking for this possibility, but it’s totally there, and gives you a separate, though strangely similar, tree of missions to do. If you side with the board, you end up spacing the frozen bodies of the colonists, in order to freeze the living people in the colony in their place, so that the rich can live to the top standards, while the regular folks are unfrozen periodically to work.

Option Three

Alternatively, you can kill them all. Just fucking kill anyone you want to. The great experiment of life in the Halcyon system just isn’t worth it, and you can put a bullet in the head of every person you meet. I did a bit of it to get high levels of villainy for a trophy – it’s strangely cathartic.

Gonna try not to examine that too closely.

Companions

This game deserves points for having likable companions with quests that don’t seem like a chore. Parvati is an asexual lesbian (or maybe asexual bi, whatever), and it’s not her defining characteristic. Ellie is a pirate doctor who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, left home because she was tired of the rich-life bullshit, and eventually introduces you to her parents.

And discovers they declared her dead, and had been living the high life off of her life insurance policy. God. Everyone in this game is such bad people.

The spaceship AI (which may or may not be sentient) is the right level of sarcastic, may have been in love with the ship’s previous captain (who you inadvertently killed), and is super thirsty for the cleaning machine you can add to the party. I love it.

Mechanics

The game plays similarly to the modern Fallout games, which makes sense, as it’s made by the people who did New Vegas. They got rid of the minigames for lockpicking and hacking, which is all a plus. I saw reviews about how in depth the combat was, and how necessary it was in order to beat tougher opponents.

Bullshit. I’m shit at first person shooter style games, and I was able to beat the game on Supernova difficulty. You’ve got to build yourself to be a sniper if you’re incompetent like me, with speaking as your first resort, but it’s totally doable. I also saw a review saying that there were unexpected consequences, how he didn’t realize if he took all of a certain chemical instead of just 25% of it the people in the chemical would die.

Like…the terminal where you can drain it flat out tells you they need it to live. He (the reviewer) just didn’t read it.

Overall Grade: A

This game really is just fun to play. Even with the immensely unlikable people in it. There’s room for expansions, and I’ll probably pick them up sooner or later. Right now I’m playing some Uncharted, but I’m not sure if I’ll review it. Might be a little too old. So I’ll review Link to the Past or something.