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Outriders is a brand new Co-Op looter shooter game, that you can play by yourself or with up to two friends.
The game takes inspiration from previous games of this sort, such as Warframe, Borderlands and The Division. Although the biggest difference with Outriders is its fresh new take on the dystopian science fiction genre, which bases the game completely on a different planet by the name of Enoch.
Story and setting
The game’s story revolves around Earth becoming almost completely uninhabitable for mankind, so a part of humanity leaves for outer space in search of a new home.
It’s ironic how they showcase the planet as being absolutely gorgeous, untouched by anything mankind and full of its wild visceral beauty. However, as soon as humans arrive they start chopping down trees, running the trees and wildlife over with their huge outriding cars and eventually doing something that leads to the actual setting of the game.
The setting is gorgeous, with beautiful graphics that would make your jaw drop. While it does have some locations that look dull, and reminiscent of older Halo games, most of the open areas are breathtaking to look at.
The story of our playable character or the “Outrider” and his up to two teammates revolves entirely around making contact with “The Flores”. A spaceship that is still in orbit and the vessel in which they arrived on Enoch to colonize. We have to make contact with it to let them know about sending pods full of supplies towards the planet. The developers’ People Can Fly have definitely put a ton of passion into this campaign. It is chock full of cinematics, new characters, and main and side-quests and each location is well designed and full of NPCs and enemies. However, this rarely takes away from the fact that this game has a pretty boring story. It was cliché, you could see each twist and turn coming from a mile away. The end game for this whole scenario felt unrewarding, and lackluster to say the least.
Gameplay and design
Before I get into any of the gameplay details about this game, I’d like to address how buggy and how broken the game and its servers are in the current state.
Playing on PC at a native 1080P 144hz display, the frames kept dropping down to 40-50 despite my computer being a pretty sufficient beast that took on Red Dead Redemption 2 on constant 80 frames. Not to mention this game’s servers are absolutely broken right now, joining a game with a party is a painstaking process. Eventually, we figured out that we can’t all ‘ready up’ at the same time and had to do it individually. This took us 20 seconds as we each clicked it one by one waiting for the checkmark to appear on our names individually.
In most games, Fortnite for example we would all press it at the same time and just hop in. Now, to the gameplay.
After facing a scripted spoiler event in the game, our character becomes Altered. This essentially means that they get some KICK-ASS powers.
Now the powers themselves are the real meat of this game, its looter shooter quality isn’t the greatest but the four different classes which offer additional skills and abilities are what makes this game such a fun ride. You have four different classes in the game; Devastator, Pyromancer, Technomancer and Trickster.
Each of these classes comes with a ton of different sub-skills attached to them, some you get through playtime and some are unlockable. In my play-through, I went with the Trickster class and by-golly was it fun!
You could use your stasis bubble to slow enemies down right after your friendly Devastator hits them with their Gravity Leap so they’re just stuck in mid-air. It’s honestly hilarious. The fact that you can instantly teleport from anywhere behind your enemies as
Trickster is such a cool thing, it lets you move from one side to the other of the level without having to risk taking any damage.
With Technomancer you have so much more range and area denial, using your turrets to block any enemies from pushing you.
The Pyromancer on the other hand is for those who enjoy pure chaos, you can basically blow and set anything on fire using your skills. It’s actually insane how much damage this game lets you dish out despite whatever class you’re playing.
All of these classes have different strengths and weaknesses, although they have one thing in common. All of them focus completely on DPS. There’s a total of 32 different unlockable skills for all four classes and only two of those skills have healed. So it is a 95% damage-focused gameplay loop here. This doesn’t spell disaster though, as the game’s skills when combined with your teammates’ skills and other skills of your own make for some of the most humorous and exhilarating moments in the game.
The gameplay loop of the game is drastically different when you compare it to the fun looter shooter gameplay itself.
The campaign, for the most part, is good. The story is bland that’s for sure but the missions have structures and they let you travel across the world in different situations and locations. However, once the campaign is done and dusted you’re basically left with literally nothing.
People Can Fly has created this game to have the gameplay loop from games such as Destiny, where even after you’re done with the main campaign you have a ton of things to do within this world.
As it turns out, all you’re left with after the campaign are expeditions and weapon retrieval missions which just send you to a place where you fight a dozen enemies and retrieve a weapon. Expeditions on the other hand become some of the most repetitive content imaginable in gaming.
I quickly grew tired and somewhat frustrated by the waves and waves of grunts I had to fight through, just to get to a different level of the expedition.
Visuals and sound
Visually, Outriders is pretty darn impressive.
The game looks like a next-generation title, and although it has a bunch of problems that rarely ever let it run on full frames. Whenever it does run on full 60+ FPS, it plays like heaven. The game is chock full of visual effects such as explosions, gravity-defying physics and a ton of other things such as water effects and rain and each of them looks spectacular in its own right.
The game’s lighting is quite dull though, but that’s something that most games in this genre rarely ever get right.
Sound on the other hand is more complex. While the actual in-game sound effects and audio design is great, the soundtrack is super forgettable and the voice acting is extremely poor. The main characters speak in a monotone way, while most side characters don’t even feel like they should have lines because of the way their voice acting was captured. Not to mention, the bugs in the game prevent the sound from ever functioning properly.
Outriders is a fun take on the loot-shooter genre with a huge emphasis on player ability and customization. It’s a game that you boot up on the weekend just to let off steam from working hard the entirety of your week.
It’s brought down by some poor optimization, and terrible performance issues along with a plethora of bugs.
The super-fast and exciting shooting and gameplay design make even the forgettable story fun to play!
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