Outer Worlds (2019) by Obsidian Entertainment

Growing up I didn’t have access to much gaming but I remember this one time I borrowed my friend’s Xbox360 and he had this game called Fallout 3 on it. It looked interesting so I began to play it. I had till that point, never played an RPG so I didn’t really get into the game but I was fascinated by this premise it proposed. Then somewhere down the line, I got more into gaming and I picked up New Vegas. This too didn’t stick but mostly cause it felt clunky to the fps-lover in me.

That said, by the time Fallout 4 was announced, I was deep into gaming. I had played all the Mass Effect games, I have sunk hours in The Witcher 3 and was now looking for my new RPG fix. My friend (different one) kindly gifted Fallout 4 to me and I dived right in. A decade later, I have about 40hrs on the game cause I just got bored somewhere down the line and didn’t care to solve the mystery. I also thought the combat was too clunky. Despite that, I loved the setting. There is something about a retro-esque post nuclear apocalypse world that just grips the imagination.

One could say that I’ve been, for a long time, wanting to experience the Fallout world, and in particular the one created by Obsidian. I didn’t think to go back to 3 or NV cause I thought I would not enjoy the graphics. Which is probably true. I also gave “Pillars of Eternity” a try and gave up on that cause the playstyle and combat was not for me. So imagine my joy when “Outer Worlds” was announced. A game by Obsidian, the legends behind New Vegas, creating a fallout-esque game set in space? This sounded like a dream come true. Still, I didn’t jump on it at launch due to the cost (being a writer is a budget killer, who knew).

That is till this month, May 2020, when I saw it on Game pass and figured, what the hell, might as well. And man did I have fun on that first planet. I spent time exploring every part of it and really taking it in. I was so excited for the rest of the game. Little did I know that I’d already peaked in the game.

After investing the 10 points into Ranged, Sneak, Dialog and Inspiration, I became unstoppable. I went from having a few credits to having practically unlimited resources. But if this unchallenging game was not bad enough, every quest, weapon, armor piece and planet began to feel the same. What began as a journey filled with curiosity and excitement soon devolved into a trudge where I went through the motions of firing at inept beasts and marauders alike. And where I picked the safest dialog option because clearly the other two options were just stupid or outlandish.

Would you rather side with the inhumane greedy corporations or the inept struggling rebellion or would you rather find a way to make them compromise. The game went from making me feel like a dangerous space cowboy to a therapist for hire whose biggest qualification was that he made reasonable suggestions.

I am a bit bitter, obviously. Not because I spent money on this game, or because it is buggy or broken. Despite being a perfectly functional game that is reasonably priced, with pretty good graphics, sound design and voice acting, it fails to deliver the one thing that an Obsidian game should, a compelling story with intertwining narratives. So yeah, I’m a bit disappointed and I’m still hankering for a good rpg fix. I really hope they can do better next time. I’m not gonna finish this game because it doesn’t feel rewarding. I will however be considering Fallout 3 and NV in the future. We’ll see.

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