Release date: 2021.
Console (player on): PlayStation 5.
Console (also available on): PlayStation 4, Xbox, PC, Stadia.
Mode(s): Single-Player, Multiplayer.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Role-playing.
Developer: People Can Fly.
Publisher: Square Enix Europe.
Director(s): Bartosz Kmita.
Writer(s): Joshua Rubin.
Composer(s): Inon Zur.
Voice Actor(s): Dusan Dukic, Mylène Dinh-Robic, Marcel Jeannin, Dmitry Chepovetsky, and many more!
My Overall Rating:
The latest title released by developer People Can Fly, the same people behind Bulletstorm (2011), is an exciting new journey through a treacherous and desperate science-fiction world with mysterious creatures, powers, and forces. This one-to-three player co-op roleplaying game is a looter shooter that sends players on a chaotic adventure, clinging onto an iota of hope, as the story unfolds and unveils wild and dark corners of a universe struggling to survive. With numerous games having innovated in recent years within the third-person shooter genre, this latest title looks to offer a familiar yet exciting entry that remains accessible on multiple current generation consoles, including the latest generation consoles, but has to take on the challenge of introducing novelty and a bit of pizzazz if it’s to rise above the sea of similar games within the current market.
What is Outriders (2021) about? In the middle of the 21st century, Earth has reached a point of no return, making it impossible for humanity to survive any longer on the available resources. As Earth’s major governments reunite and form the Enoch Colonization Authority (ECA) in a last-ditch effort to save humankind, two colony ships are built, with only one surviving, as the first colonists reach Enoch’s orbit in 2159, the only planet with Earth-like characteristics for them to build upon. Unfortunately, the Outriders, a team of elite soldiers, who first landed on Enoch, discover the Anomaly, a powerful and unstoppable blight, but are silenced by the ECA’s secret task force before they could share this discovery, except for one Outrider who survives the ambush, is kept in cryostasis and wakes up 31 years later in 2190 to a world at war with only a mysterious signal to follow in hopes of a new future for the remaining humans willing to fight for it.
Within this world, players play an Altered, a mutated human being who survived exposure to the Anomaly and has supernatural powers categorized as one of four abilities: Pyromancer (ability to control fire), Devastator (ability to utilize seismic attacks), Technomancer (ability to use unique gadgets and firepower), or Trickster (ability to manipulate time). Grinding their way through a unique skill tree, players can unlock specific abilities with cooldowns that can be utilized throughout their encounters against humanoids, aliens, and monsters. The addictive and fun loot system also promotes progression and invites players to hunt down better gear and weapons that fit with their playstyle and their character’s skills. While the entire campaign, from side quests to end-game exhibitions, can be completed solo, it can also be completed with two additional players, with a built-in matchmaking option to keep things interesting.
Unfortunately, there’s not much substance in the story, mostly serving as background noise, or a dull justification to send the characters to a variety of regions and terrains filled with creatures of all kinds for you to slay. While it is forgettable, its assertive and cliched qualities, mostly strong-armed by its aggressive and one-dimensional cast of characters, give it the strict minimum necessary so that the gameplay can carry most of the player’s core experience till the end. In fact, the loot system, progressive challenges, and psychedelic fury of bullets and abilities, which requires some tactical gameplay strategies, make for an exciting and obsessive time. The gameplay thus comes to scratch an itch that players will find familiar in looter shooters while its expansive science-fiction universe makes for a wacky and crazy time in a realm that doesn’t need to abide by any particular law of reason or science.
Also playing in its favour is its stunning landscapes, brought to life through amazing graphics with crazy colours and details. From the weapons and gears to the aliens and creatures, everything within this world, despite being sometimes simply rehashed or reskinned, is a wonderful sight to behold, and even more impressive as you get visually lost in the hurricane of bullets and mayhem that you unleash. The excellent music and addictive reward system also make it difficult for players to pay attention to the overarching narrative, making this an excellent pick when you’re simply looking for a style over substance kind of package, a world in which you enter zones where you had to clear out hordes of monsters without too much mental effort. With the right conditions, this game’s bland narrative can be effortlessly overlooked as you embrace its more technical and mechanical accomplishments.
Outriders (2021) is a familiar yet addictive sci-fi RPG looter shooter that beautifully and entertainingly sends you across a treacherous world where chaos and monstrosities reign.