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After wrapping up my first playthrough of Outer Worlds I wanted to share my thoughts, and hopes for the sequel.

Overall, I quite liked it. I was prepared for a smaller RPG, and that’s what I got. It reminded me a lot of earlier Bioware titles, like KOTOR or Jade Empire. Maps were more open then I was expecting, so that was nice surprise. Emerald Vale and Monarch were easily m favorite parts of the game.

I liked the story and tone, character were well realized with personality and clear motivations. I didn’t fall in love with any of the companions, but I found them all alright. I was happy to see them responding to other NPCs in conversations.

I found choices and consequences to my actions a bit too… safe? At no point did I have a doubt regarding what I should do, and in most conflicts there seemed to be 3rd, “everyone gets along!”, option. I was struggling to think in terms what my character would do, but I felt I was encourage to “solve” problem for an optimal outcome. The overwhelmingly positive ending slides, did feel disingenuous.

 That said, while Outer Worlds was good, I don’t think it will stay with me for long. And the sequel will need to show something interesting to make me excited for it.

Combat was fine. I think it is improvement over Fallout: NV, in terms of controls. I think basics framework is good, but it would need some kind of decision making to make things engaging. As it is pretty much every encounter felt the same to me. I never found a benefit to targeting various body parts. Aiming at head would usually do the job. I never found the game to use combat for story telling – most fights felt same in terms of difficulty and none of them force me to change tactics(?). Or rather none of them forced to adapt any tactics. Just click on heads. I played on hard difficulty BTW.

I felt that content Byzantium-forward was the weakest. There was not much to do in this major city and I felt like most of the quest I had left required me to hop back and forth between planets. That meant a lot of loading screens and running, just to kill a thing, or talk to a person. That was the part I really felt the negative impact of the budget quest design. Overall, I felt quests rarely took an interesting turn. It might be me knowing the dance a bit too well by now, but in this game I could predict plot-twists a bit too often. What’s worse, due to simple quest design, I wasn’t too involved in playing through individual quests. I never felt like I am interacting with the world using skills of my character. My single favorite moment in the game was when I bribed someone to let me through, and then used my newly acquired “pickpocket” skills to steal money back. Unfortunately, this consistency seemed to be an exception to the rule. This lack of ability to take charge of how the quest can progress meant a rather passive approach to the game from my part, following objectives and waiting for the game to tell me I have a choice to make, rather than looking for ways to progress which would make sense to my character.

In character creation, I liked how every 20 points we got a perk from raising the skill. In Skyrim I felt like I was getting worse, rather than better, as with each level skills there were fewer skills and weapons that I could use effectively. Those skill “perks” allow communicating progress, even if other skills fall behind. I think it could be nice, if in future games we have a choice of a skill perk – a bit more way to customize my character. As it is, I don’t expect my next playthrough to feel much different than the one I just finished. I wasn’t impressed by actual perks and flaws – I couldn’t tell you which ones I picked. None of them seemed to leave an impression.

I thought that lockpicking and hacking was a wasted opportunity. They somewhat reminded me of the way original Deus Ex handles those features – you could always pick any lock and hack any computer, however, level of your skill compared to level of the object you lockpick/hack would decide how much resources it would take to lockpick/hack said object. It was limiting characters without specialization in those skills to still access containers/door/computers but they were more limited by resources. In OW, you get so many items that resource management is a non issue. Locking containers behind binary skill check isn’t very interesting, especially as those doors and containers only consisted of more stuff I didn’t need.  

Speaking of resources – it’s way too forgiving. Too much ammo, too much hacking equipment, too many mods, too much money. At the end I was rolling with thousands of ammo and over a hundred lockpicks. They are everywhere. Literally: boxes with ammo lying in every encounter room, in every corner of the street. Exploring stopped being exciting – I would just find more of what I have in abundance.

If I could make a request for the sequel, it would be adding a bit of Immersive Sim into the design. I think mechanics work fine – stealth, disguise, pickpocketing, lockpicking, talking – but I would like to see more consistent world and those being used as a way to interact with the world. It is somewhat disappointing to see such a standard experience, when compared to Fallout1&2, Arcanum, Bloodlines. What I loved about those games, was the feeling of interacting consistent world. I would rather break into someone’s backroom, than open yet another container with ammo, lying in the corner of the street. Items should be a more valuable resource.

Now I am aware, that OW aims to be more mainstream. After all, it’s not like Troika closed down due to overwhelming popularity. But I think that for the most part mechanics are there. I “just” wish for a more sophisticated quest and area design and more consistent systemic approach to interact with.

I would also prefer if the next game had a different protagonist. I think it worked really well for Fallout2 and most of older Obsidian sequels. Conflict in OW has been solved, and issues teased for the sequel can easily be tackled by a new hero. Isn’t it easier to come up with new story hook, rather than try to drag the old hero into another adventure?

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Good write-up, pretty much agree with everything in there I think. It's a game that never feels like it wants to "push back" in any way. It's like everything was designed to be as non-offensive as possible (and I don't mean politics so let's not bring that up). It never challenges the player in a meaningful way, not in combat and not in terms of solving quests, finding your own way. It feels tepid as an overall game I think. Not horrible but just... forgettable.

There's a lot to like in terms of some of the quest design, nice ways to "weave" through quests and some areas. But it never feels like it really amounts to anything special, there's no "whoa, that's awesome" moment. Everything is so laid out for the player. There's not any opportunies for real creativity and for the player him/herself to really shine. You never feel "clever" in how you solve things.

The real killer for me is the combat and loot though. It's so uninspired, so samey, so cut and paste. The shooting in itself works well of course, better than NV as you say, but talking about combat encounters. It is downright boring, the way they designed this part of the game. It just reeeaally bogs the game down. I really appreciated Deadfire and how it tried to cut down on filler encounters, allowing the player to soak in the atmosphere a bit. But in TOW we are back to having samey enemy encounters just *everywhere* on the wilderness maps.

It's not a terrible game for me but for the most part, it's terribly mediocre. There are some nice bits, really nice even in some cases, and a lot of great ideas and potential. But a lot of it feels buried under blandness. It's a bit of a shame.

It's interesting, I actually also wondered as I was playing the game if a lot of my impressions of itwas just that I've been playing RPGs for a really long time now. But I don't think that's quite it.

Edited by Starwars
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Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

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