Known for creating some of the best RPGs in history, Obsidian Entertainment is no stranger to creating interesting worlds filled with fascinating characters and dialogue options. But does The Outer Worlds live up to this standard? Yes and no, let me explain.
The over arching story is about saving the colony of planets you are launched into, as a mad scientist takes you out of hibernation forcibly. The premise of you character however is that you are the unknown variable in the Halcyon colony, and with that status you can basically do whatever you want. Now, in writing, this sounds intriguing. That is, until you actually start the story. Playing through the main story it’s evident that they’re are only two, albeit very strict, paths. The two paths are to side with the scientist, the good side, or the corporations, the bad side. This is a major departure from what Obsidian is known for. Their previous game, Fallout New Vegas, (know I can’t go a few post without referencing this game) allowed the player 4 endings. And there is no “good” ending with New Vegas, only morally grey outcomes. Back to The Outer Worlds, the two ending are clear good and evil which is disappointing to me. But, with almost all RPGs, the main story is usually the background of the game and the side quest are the real meat of the game.
Side quests, characters, dialogue, and world building.
I believe the game is meant to be played as a silver tongued character build. Seemingly, Every conversation has a speech check option with persuade, intimidate, or lie. In other cases there’s science, engineering, or medic. This mechanic reminds me a lot of their older games, which is a good thing and I’m glad they brought it to the modern age. However, if you decide to not put your points into your speech points the game takes a turn and becomes boring. When I replayed the game with a sneak character, instead of silver tongue, the game felt off and I was missing the witty dialogue and other tid bits. The characters that accompany these lines of dialogue are all entirely unique and inhabit their own personalities and character models. Overall, the dialogue system is the strongest part of the game.
As for the side quests, a lot of them are hit and miss. Unfortunately, this game suffers from fetch quests and filler. One quest had you got to different parts of the map to find books for a character so he could learn from them, what fun that was. They’re are good quests though. In a different area you are pitted in the middle of a civil war and you have the power to decide which side wins. The good thing about the civil war quests is theirs multiple endings, which relates back to what I said earlier about their earlier games. I just wish more of the side quests were like this. If you’re expecting expansive quest lines, look elsewhere. If you just want a fun RPG, with cool short side quests, this is the game for you.
Now for my favourite part of the game, the world building. In The Outer Worlds, the Halcyon colony is the map. Or should I say maps. You have a whole system of planets to explore, each with their own maps. The first area is Terra 2 and acts as the earth in the system. Here you will find the sprawling city of Byzantium and a few other minor locations. The second main planet is Monarch and features the largest playable area in the game, and is also the deadliest. Minor locations are an asteroid terraforming site, a merchant ship called The Groundbreaker, and an orbital lab. The ruling forces over Halcyon are the Board and their corporations. They own everything in the system and subject everyone to advertisements, mock products, and horrible working and living conditions. This time of environment makes for a very satire world that has lots of interesting aspects. For example, everything now involves hundreds of pages of paperwork you need to fill out. If you die your next of kin has to pay for everything and do tons of paperwork. Did I mention that dying is illegal if your working contract isn’t up? And if you die your next of kin will be sued for everything or arrested, for your death! This type of world environment is so so so perfect for an RPG and Obsidian game. This world, and accompanying lore, are up there in my favourite game worlds from now on.
First off, I didn’t discuss the games mechanics because they’re pretty standard as RPGs go. When you level up you can put your skill points in your dialogue, big guns, small guns, melee, science, sneak, lockpick, and tons more. You also get perks every other level. A lot of the perks, in my opinion, are kind of useless and don’t provide useful buffs. There’s also a bullet time mode you can use, but it runs out too fast to be useful. All in all, the mechanics are good for the game, but average in the grand scheme of things.
The Outer Worlds exceeds expectations in their world building, witty dialogue, and interesting characters. However, the main quest structure leaves much to be desired and the game feels like they want you to go down a certain path the entire time. The mechanics are standard and don’t standout per say, but are good nonetheless. Moreover, the side quests are fun but the same as the mechanics, RPG standard. However, dialogue in these quests are what made me continue and seek out more. If you’re looking for a dialogue heavy game with a witty and fun setting, this game is for you.
I give the Outer Worlds 7.5 Spacers Choice helmets out of 10