Outriders are not the best game at all. It’s not the best RPG, it’s not the best action game, it’s not the best looter, and it certainly doesn’t have the best science fiction story you’ll find in video games. Still, the union of its mechanics is strangely captivating. Understand this apparent contradiction in our full review below!
A game bigger than the sum of its parts
When we first tested the game there in February 2020, we pointed out that it still had a lot to prove, and that the mechanics developed by the Polish studio People Can Fly (responsible for Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment) were still very raw, without giving too much league. In the meantime, I could see that his project was so polished that it ended up becoming something very fun and cohesive.
The bulk of the Outriders experience consists of shooting sessions running from one wall to the next, which is obviously nothing new in April 2021, when the game hit PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series and Xbox One, but there are enough moving parts to ensure that action fans find good reason to spend a few dozen hours blasting enemies on the fictional planet Enoch.
The biggest attraction here is the system of classes and unique powers tied to each of them. Shortly after the brief tutorial you can already choose whether your character will be a Trickster (a killer good at hitting and running), Pyromancer (more focused on fire attacks), Devastator (who plays more of a tank) or Techomancer (with technological attacks from a distance). Once the choice is made, you have to go with it until the end, so choose wisely!
It is a pity not to be able to make the switch, since it is worth trying all of them. The pace of fights and the style of play changes dramatically according to the class you choose, and they all have skill trees with more benefits and special powers to unlock as you level up. The height of fun in Outriders happens just when you face large hordes of enemies and need to manage your cooldowns of different powers well in order to overcome the arenas.
Lootear is necessary
It’s great that the powers of Outriders work so well, as their loot system is somewhat derivative and uninspired, serving only as an excuse for you to see your character change in appearance and weapons throughout the campaign. As expected, the loot is dropped relentlessly, almost as it happens in the best Diablo and Borderlands of life, but the fact is that the items do not matter as much as the good use of their powers.
The weapons and armor are all separated into different rarity tiers and obviously have their own attributes, like different ammunition comb capabilities, rate of fire and damage done, so what you really need to do is think about which weapons fit your powers best. liabilities and assets.
For example, in my first campaign I played as Pyromancer, and my favorite power set all my bullets on fire until I reloaded the weapon. Obviously this power was not very suitable for a long-range rifle with only one or two bullets in the magazine, but it fell like a glove for a machine gun with 150 bullets per magazine, dramatically increasing the damage of each one.
After five or six hours of progress in the campaign, the system gains a little more complexity when we rescue Dr. Zahedi, a comrade who helps us recycle our weapons in exchange for materials that can be used to improve other pieces of equipment. So, my style of play progressed to something much more focused on harvesting and recycling everything I found along the way, and then strengthening my favorite items.
Alternatively, it is also possible to visit stores to sell items that you do not intend to equip and then purchase others of higher quality. It doesn’t end up being worth it, as you are rewarded with good weapons and armor whenever you complete any of the dozens of side missions scattered around the map, picking up even better items for free.
It is quite funny to think that Square Enix sells Outriders as a game with hints of RPG, since its role play elements are … minimal, to be generous. At the beginning of the game you can create your own hero, determining whether he will be a man or a woman, and then choosing between half a dozen haircuts and models of scars.
It’s very little, but things get even worse: regardless of how you play, the story and missions always play out in the same way, regardless of the personality you would like to have in the world. The rare branched dialogues do not present choices or any traces of a moral system, limited to bringing a little more lore to the player as he talks to the NPC.