Hey all! It’s SusyQ here with a few thoughts about the game Outriders, starting from the demo because money’s a big deal and I wanted to know if it’s worth it. After all, we’ve seen a lot of really great indie early access games already this year with half the price tag of this so-called RPG shooter. So, lets dive into the Demo and hash this shit out.
“Outriders’ brutal and bloody combat combines frenetic gunplay, violent powers and deep RPG systems to create a true genre hybrid.” – Square Enix
Okay, I agree. That’s pretty vague. Let’s write our own summary, shall we?
“Outriders is a triple-A title with plenty of money spent on cool stuff like stellar voice-overs, seamless animated cut scenes and a compelling story that keeps you hopping from mission to mission because they make characters you WANT to die for. It’s like Mass Effect and Borderlands met in Vegas and had a baby. BAM!” – SassyGamers
The story starts with your character being a part of a team of Mercenaries called the Outriders. Immediately, you get the feeling that you’ve been through a lot of shit with Captain and Jakobs over the years. You’ve all left an earth that may not exist anymore and you’ve traveled a long-ass way to this planet that seemed to have good readings…last you heard from the probes. So you arrive to investigate these probes and as usual, one of the stiffs in charge decides to call the planet ‘safe’ before you’re done with your investigation.
What you don’t find out in time, is that there are huge alien storms they call the ‘anomaly’ that disintegrate anything in their path. Long story short, upon searching for the last probe your team is decimated and some infected with ‘something’ that is eventually known as being ‘Altered’. Our character is wounded and after a heroic escape, put in cryo to sleep until at which point someone can heal them. That happens to be 31 years later when we’re woke up and then captured almost immediately by some crazy-ass humans gone wild.
Turns out the ships with people landed anyway and a war broke out in the ensuing chaos. Crops won’t grow with weird storms that zap everything and humans did what humans do and basically screwed the landscape up until this new planet was as much of a shithole as the Earth they left. No surprise there, really. So the two warring factions are the crazy-ass humans and the remnants of the old military and scientists, who are just trying to avoid being killed because the other humans are emo that the world wasn’t the utopia they were promised. Suck it up, buttercups.
So, I’m going to say right out that I prefer RPG games. So while I’m going to try to be open minded to mechanics throughout this review…there’s always going to be that role-player lens that I view things through. So when it comes to the character creation, what usually annoys me about shooters is that your character appearance doesn’t matter. You are a uniform with a generic face….how…exciting.
This game isn’t like that. You do start off with pre-configured faces but you’ll understand why once the game starts. The game graphics and facial animations are *good*. So yeah, it’s always nice when you can customize even the nose hairs on your character but some of you that run on lower-end gaming machines like mine (I’m cheap…sue me.) you will appreciate that preconfigured game animations are a good thing…and frankly…it may be an RPG shooter…but it’s still a shooter. So you won’t be powdering your face while you are fighting.
There are five skin colors which are oddly dependent on the preconfigured face you choose? I’ll admit, that sort of….made me twitch. I honestly can’t tell if I should be insulted that I can’t make my Asian character more dark skinned or not. It has the same restrictions based on what I perceived as each pre-configuration being sort of pre-raced? For instance, some could be super dark skinned and others not. This goes back to my thoughts about how the game runs when you have pre-configured appearances versus an open character creator…so I get it. But damn, that felt like a tiny land mine when I was creating my character. It feels like a Barbie debate, to be honest. Dark-Skinned Goddess Barbies have different facial features than regular Barbies, which from a designer point of view, you want the Barbies to be as identifiable for little girls and boys as possible. But it’s also pretty inaccurate to assume that no Dark-Skinned Goddesses might look just like the regular Barbie with dark skin. I’m talking about racial characteristics, ya’ll and whether they are racist, factual or just not necessary. Long story short, I noticed the restrictions and I stopped long enough to consider it…which means it’s a hot spot. But after a good, long, think…I don’t think the devs at People Can Fly or Square Enix meant any harm with these models and their color restrictions. I think they were just doing their damnedest to make a game that could be played on a lot of systems and still represent the full-ass diversity of their players.
So….I see you, Outriders. I see what you were doing and I hope everyone else realizes the decisions that had to be made and appreciates you didn’t just white-wash it with ambiguous models to avoid the whole thing.
Next up we have five eye colors, so you can’t go crazy with ultra-violet eyes or red demon visual organs. Get over it because the eyes are gorgeous. When you select the eye color, the character’s pupils contract and cycle as the color changes. Might be a silly trick, but the colors are realistic and gorgeous. First time in a game that I’ve ever chose brown eyes because I felt like falling into them. (I’m a blue eyed gal, so usually I go with my beloved blue.) Twelve Hair Styles aren’t a lot, but the ones available are awesome and fit in well with the militaristic world you get thrown into. Nine Marks/Scars that are all realistic. Sorry that you can’t make your scars neon green, but I’d rather realism over sensationalism any day. Eleven Piercings, mostly ears and nose. I didn’t see any lip piercings, but there are several multiple piercing options. And finally, Eleven Makeup options with only two being actual ‘prettified makeup’. Most of them are various dirt and ways to make you look more ‘worn in’ like dark eyes, etc. I ended up choosing the almost tribal makeup for my girl. There are no body choices at all. For that, you get generic military body but considering it is a shooter, I didn’t care at all and most of you will be used to it.
What can I say, it’s a shooter! The mechanics feel very remnant of Borderlands but with Mass Effect graphics. The first chapter is a demo that guides you in how the game is played. You get shooting practice, a quick demonstration of how to use space bar to crouch in behind things and stay undercover as you shoot. I had a little trouble using ctrl to hop over things because it’s not a free jumping mechanic. You can’t just hop around. You jump as you are at things like a combat jump. (I’m a couch potato, so please don’t shoot me for a total lack of military terminology.) Anyway, things I noticed:
Headshots are not instant kills. I got entirely too used to the joy of watching heads explode in Borderlands, so I realize that is an unrealistic expectation. But then, this was the demo and maybe guns can be modified later to have that satisfactory POP. (Ever feel like an awful person when explaining what you enjoy about a video game….feelin’ it now.)
Shooting the fuel tank for guys with flame throwers does not blow them up BUT…you can get them down to about 30% and they seem to blow themselves up. No idea why, but I’m pleased enough that this is just a note, not a complaint!
It has an easy-to-read mini-map. Yeah, I know…it seems like a basic requirement but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten into a game and the mini map is like navigating hell with one of those foggy bathroom mirrors. Either the compass doesn’t work like you would expect it to or it shows you terrain and quest objectives but not bad guys. This one, is perfect because it doesn’t overwhelm you with a bunch of crap. It has a cone that shows line of sight that moves with you and it shows two things. Bad guys as red dots and quest objectives. Done.
The demo came in at 21.75 GB and allows you to play the first chapter and carry that saved game on when you buy the game. In the first chapter, you can run the missions up to level 7. There are four side quests you can complete and the amount of money you can accumulate is capped…so spend it when you can!
Is there Solo Play?
Hell yes. I don’t know how hard it gets at later levels. TBA on an extended review for that. But it seems very much story based like Mass Effect. The World Tiers seem to be difficulty levels that you unlock and the first mode is story mode. So those of us RPG players will appreciate an easier mode that lets us play for the enjoyment of getting to know the story’s characters and what is going to happen in this new world.
How many Classes are there?
Four. Technomancer, Pyromancer, Trickster and Devastator.
What’s the worst thing about the game?
Unarguably the trolls on the steam community hub. Maybe as the community grows, the quantity of people just whining and trolling with their ‘tutorials’ will die down but right now…don’t bother. That stuff is not an accurate reflection of the game right now.
Is it worth $59.99 USD?
You know, this one was hard for me. I came into playing the demo pretty sure I was going to hate it. I know, you should never play a game with such bad expectations and the surly attitude I had. But…it changed my mind. For a girl on unemployment, $60 is a lot right now. But do I think it’s worth it as it is right now? …Yeah. I do.