The Outer Worlds in the test: The single player alternative for Fallout fans
But what is The Outer Worlds all about? And is the role-playing game really an alternative for Fallout fans who were not happy with the last two parts of the Bethesda series? We answer these questions in the test.
Infinite space instead of post-apocalyptic wasteland
In The Outer Worlds, unlike in the Fallout series, we do not end up in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, but in the Halcyon system light-years away. Colonists and companies settled there decades ago in order to create a new living space and workplace for humanity.
The dream of the infinite freedom of space was stifled locally by greedy mega-corporations in gag contracts and slavery-like working conditions. And this is where we come in ... in the truest sense of the word.
As passengers on the lost colony ship Hope, we are awakened from our hibernation by Phineas Wells, who has “mad scientist” written on its forehead. With our help, Phineas (who, by the way, bears a striking resemblance to Rick Sanchez from Rick & Morty) wants to free the Halcyon system from the iron grip of the power-hungry board of directors.
A game for every style
How do we do that? As we please. The Outer Worlds lets us use a character editor , which we could just as easily find in a Fallout part, to create the character that matches our preferred approach. Of course, it's not a matter of gender, appearance or the length of your nose, but of our inner values and what we do with them.
Like Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian The Outer Worlds lets us play the way we want . At the start of the game, we define values such as strength, intelligence or charisma, which affect the entire course of the game. Obsidian now dispenses with a punitive karma system.
If we are bad for a good fellow citizen or good for a villain, we only have to live with our conscience - and possibly with what the various factions of the Halcyon system think of us.
The factions like Monarch Stellar Industries, Sublight Salvage & Shipping or Auntie Cleo all pursue their own selfish (and of course capitalist) interests, which we more or less pursue - depending on who we want to get along with.
If you proceed cleverly and don't kick in every door right away, you can play the corporations off against each other: For example, the vice-boss of the rather dubious company Sublight Salvage demands that we take out the boss of a sausage factory in order to take over. If the trigger finger itches, you can of course walk in and throw everything and everyone over the heap that isn't in the jar on three. Especially since the head butcher Clive is a real unsympathetic person who would deserve a rub.
However, this is by no means the most exciting solution to our problem. The shootings and fights are solid, but are no longer known as shooter fare. On the normal level of difficulty, it is seldom demanding, which can also be seen in the manageable variety of opponents . Obsidian's limited budget is noticeable at the latest when we target the same bandits, robots or monsters. The TZD - which speaks to the VATS mode from Fallout - is a nice but actually superfluous feature.
Another balance problem arises with the loot from The Outer Worlds, that there are still lots and lots of them. However, the booty rarely really needs us or makes us hot, instead we will soon be swimming in money - which we actually don't need. Weapons can be reinforced or modified in a targeted manner, but a new telescope or alternative type of ammunition only makes a manageable difference. Obsidian didn't do that well with Outer Worlds.
By the way, C & P-Boarstfabrik thinks that shooting in their own four walls is less cool and before we know it, our "acceptable" reputation wanes and all employees have "mixed feelings" towards us. This results in lower prices at dealers, less willingness to cooperate on the part of parliamentary group members and, in general, we are less forgiving. If we want to avoid that, we can just as easily crawl through a drainpipe or pretend to be employees with a camouflage module and employee ID, which means we don't drag our own name through the mud.
After sneaking in (whether through the sewer system or camouflaged) we can still shoot the boss of the C&P Boarstfabrik in the face or ram him in the back without attracting any attention . If we don't want to get our hands dirty at all (at least directly), we can poison the raw sausage raw material, the pimply cyst pigs and thus ruin the company. Or, in the interests of animal welfare, it would be better to screw up the balance sheets of the factory and thus put the tax office on the neck of the factory manager. Because as we all know, the tax office does not take prisoners.
Small & not so fine worlds
In The Outer Worlds, almost every main and side quest can be completed in comparably different ways. But often we just have to walk from A to B to C and back again - The Outer Worlds has no shortage of boring errand quests .
It is advisable to plan ahead a little, and if you pay close attention to when and where something is done most efficiently, you will save yourself from overstraining the fast travel function or using the same walking routes. The latter are not too extravagant - The Outer Worlds does not rely on a large open game world, but divides it into smaller, self-contained areas.
The asteroid Scylla, the earth-like planet Terra 2 or the hostile world Monarch are visually varied at first glance, but you quickly notice that the same plants and mushrooms grow there and the fauna is also very manageable. Furthermore, the gray, dreary space stations / ships relays GB-23, Groundbreaker and HFS-1084 are just as exciting as the names suggest.
Even Byzantium - the city of the "beautiful and rich" of Halcyon - looks neither rich nor beautiful because the streets are populated by only a few, interchangeable NPCs, all of whom are called "rich citizens" and whose greatest hobby is to get around in the area stand.
Of course, the Fallout games were never bursting with flourishing life (due to the post-apocalyptic setting alone), but compensated for this fact with enviromental storytelling that is second to none . In The Outer Worlds only a few locations tell a real story, instead we find a lot of the same loot or always the same robots, monsters or human opponents. The multiplicity of opponents in the role-playing game leaves a lot to be desired.
The funniest RPG in a long time
What definitely leaves nothing to be desired in The Outer Worlds are the characters, the dialogues and the humor of the game. The Outer Worlds is anything but a deadly serious RPG and turns the obsidian-typical humor to eleven: every little conversation with every NPC, no matter how unimportant, is peppered with jokes, innuendos or situation comedy.
It doesn't matter whether we fill up a security guard at the bar who becomes more talkative and honest about his employer with every drink we buy, or whether we earn the respect of a criminal organization when we slap people in the face instead of decent answers - The Outer Worlds has strained our laughing muscles almost continuously and without pity. The jokes are never too intrusive in the foreground, they are rather part of a natural and realistic-looking conversation and the few crooks can be counted on the hand.
Captain of his own crew
Hand in hand with this highlight from The Outer Worlds go the companions of the role play: We fork a total of six different crew members on our odyssey through the Halcyon system for the Unreliable, two of whom we can always take with us on field missions. At this point we appeal to every player: never forego using this opportunity!
Not only do mechanics Parvati or Vicar Max provide welcome support in fights. In addition, we benefit from the respective expertise of our allies on the way: with Parvati, for example, we have a technology expert and with surgeon Ellie a medical expert at our side, who has our own deficits balance in both areas.
For example, we can repair something or treat someone for whom we actually didn't have the necessary skills , which allows us to react more flexibly to unexpected situations regardless of our own playing style.
Skills such as dialogue, camouflage or ranged combat have a direct effect on the way we play: the higher or better the respective skill, the greater our chances of success. Specifically, this means that we can take or distribute more damage, for example, or manipulate our counterpart in a targeted manner with dialogue options such as convincing, lying and intimidating.
Advantages that we only get every second level up and that can best be compared with classic skills, however, have a terrifyingly little effect on the gaming experience. We can carry around a little more loot with us or reduce the cooldown times of the skills of our companions. Skills that drastically change the feel of the game are completely missing. The Fallout series is a lot more creative here, for example, when we were able to raise our character to be a cannibal or when we received devastating bonuses for sneak attacks.
Play with hearts
However, it is not only worth taking the companion on missions for practical reasons: Each of our crew members has a surprisingly deep personality and their own charm , which is particularly evident in conversations with NPCs. Some NPCs already know our companion from previous encounters, which sometimes leads to snappy verbal battles or hypothermic reunions. As a result, the dialogues are deepened by a third conversation partner, while we learn more about certain people, the universe of The Outer Worlds and especially our companions.
The Outer Worlds is a title that lacks budget or fine-tuning in some places, but compensates for these deficits with its unique humor, the fantastically written dialogues, its lovable characters and the in-depth role-playing elements. If you didn't warm up to Fallout 4 or Fallout 76, Obsidian Entertainment's newest role-playing game is the single-player alternative that should make fans of New Vegas especially happy.