Outriders just came out this April and there are already people that are complaining about it. From how the game looks uninspired to the loot being lackluster, a whole slew of complaints drowns out a lot of things. Given that we’ve made a preview of Outriders a few months ago, let’s talk about how the game is after its release and what went wrong. And maybe talk about what parts of the game could be improved in the foreseeable future.
What Is the Outriders Game?
Outriders is a third-person shooter action RPG. The game is published by Square Enix and created by People Can Fly. The game was released for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Google Stadia, and PC last April 1, 2021.
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Outriders Game Review
The Outriders game was recently released in April and already there’s a lot of things to be said about the game. From its gameplay and combat to the overall design, we’re going to scrutinize everything about Outriders to find out if it’s worth buying and playing.
The gameplay of Outriders is pretty okay in terms of its overall loop. When the game starts, players need to create their characters and pick from four unique classes, which have unique abilities that players can use in battle. Players of course can get various loot on Outriders that range from armor to guns and various modifications. Luckily, the guns and armor aren’t locked to specific classes, so players can equip whatever they like. We’ll discuss all these gameplay aspects in detail below.
In terms of multiplayer, Outriders supports cross-play with other consoles like PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Up to three players can team up to take on the various dangers in the world of Enoch.
In a game like Outriders, the loot needs to be appealing in both the visual and gameplay sense for people to keep playing. At least, for those who put importance in the looter shooter mechanics. Borderlands is a great example of this, though probably not the one that people can imitate easily. After all, Borderlands 2 has 17 million guns, while Borderlands 3 went up the stakes with 1 billion. That amount of gun variety alone should be pretty daunting to copy. And that doesn’t take into account the other stuff like the shield varieties and grenade mods.
Now if we’re just talking about the loot variety, we don’t have much to complain about. Each of the guns and armor in Outriders can be used by all four classes. No gatekeeping like on Diablo here, thank you; which is great for those that want to be a Pyromancer while toting a minigun. In addition to this, some mods allow players to add additional effects to their weapons.
However, these mods can drastically change the way you play alongside the skills you use. Some might even be more useful if you have specific skills equipped. We’ll talk more about it in the next section.
Other than that, there’s nothing more to be said about the game’s loot system, it’s there, you get cool stuff if you’re lucky. That’s it. It’s not as diverse or as expansive as Borderlands, or to a lesser extent, Destiny or Warframe, true. But it’s good enough for those that have a looter-shooter itch that they want to scratch after the horror called Anthem.
Mechanics, Skills, and Combat
As mentioned, there are four classes you can choose from in Outriders. Among these classes, the Trickster can manipulate time and do some pretty wicked dodges. The Pyromancer, from the name, allows players to manipulate and use thermo-kinetic abilities. Meanwhile, the Devastator is the game’s tank character that unleashes various seismic and earth-based attacks, and the Technomancer uses various gadgets, devices, and turrets to destroy enemies.
The skills that each of the classes has don’t have long cooldowns, allowing players to combo them together. However, players can only equip three skills at a time, so there’s some balance there. Combine that with mods that affect how you play with said abilities and a good enough gun, and you’re pretty much good to go. If you have a great spread of abilities and complementary guns and mods, nothing will stand in your way.
However, the skill tree is bog-standard in the genre with not much to show for it. True, there are numerical increases to various abilities, but that’s pretty much it. It would be great if the skill tree added more effects to various skills, like making firestorms that Pyromancers cast bigger. Or maybe, a longer dash for the Trickster or something that allows the Technomancer to immediately regain a turret if they do a specific action. Some variety in the skill tree should be added to give more spice to the various builds that players can make in the game.
Lastly, the cover system is a bit on the clingy side. To explain, the game’s cover system is momentum-based. This means that no matter where the player’s character is facing, it takes into account which direction they’re moving to get into cover. However, this is where the mention of the cover being a bit clingy comes in. That, and the fact that there are some issues with the game’s traversal mechanics, with areas not being traversable even if they look traversable.
Graphics and Level Design
Graphics-wise, you can see the Gears inspiration in the style that the world is made out of. The various environments are diverse enough to hold people’s interest, and there’s some variety in how enemies look. There are some graphical additions, which made the game’s environment look livable or dilapidated depending on the area. The towns look appropriately grungy given that the world is a colony for humans. Alien forests look similar to ours, but there are several things here and there that make them unique and mysterious.
Meanwhile, the characters of the game look unique—not as unique as the ones on other looter shooters but they’ll hold up. The four major classes have distinct colorations on their abilities and their armor. Meanwhile, the guns aren’t that distinct, but that depends on the rarity. Rarer guns have more decked-out bling to them, and you can tell at a glance that they’re rare based on their looks.
Don’t let those fool you though, there are a few flaws in the game that open up when you look closer.
The first would be the way that the game’s various covering areas look. The cover sections of the environment aren’t highlighted graphically well. Maybe it’s the engine that Outriders is running on, but given that the developers made the Gears series, it’s a bit weird to see. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the cover system is a bit on the wonky side. In addition, there are some parts of the game that have a lower resolution compared to other parts. However, the game’s levels are bigger than what players may think, which adds depth to the various areas.
In terms of story, Outriders tries to have a good one, at least on its early game and side quests. Mankind on Outriders was on the brink of extinction due to Earth becoming more and more uninhabitable. Thus, they decided to colonize Enoch, a planet far away that’s similar to Earth.
However, it all went wrong due to an anomalous energy storm that began to cover the planet. The elite team of Outriders (yes, that’s what they’re called) attempted to warn the rest of the colonists. However, they didn’t listen and instead wiped them out to the man, with your character mortally wounded and put to cryostasis.
You then wake up 31 years later, having found out that the colonization of Enoch failed and humanity is on the brink. Your job is to now ensure that the remnants live on in Enoch and to establish a safe place to live in. All the while you have to fight insurgents, dangerous wildlife, and the mutated humans with supernatural powers called the Altered.
All in all, the game has a low-tech sci-fi supernatural theme, which does have its appeal. However, the voice acting and narrative do hurt the story a bit as we’ll discuss next. There’s also the fact that the game pretty much cuts off to the late game where the Outrider is sent to create new colonies for humans to settle in on Enoch. These hiccups, and more, make Outrider’s plot seem a bit on the bad side of the spectrum.
Acoustics, Sound Design, and Voice Acting
Outriders, in terms of sound design, is middling in terms of quality. The environmental sound design is good; you can hear water droplets on caves and even some additional details. This alone, however, wouldn’t save the game’s sound design from its failings.
For example, the gunfire in Outriders is incredibly lackluster. Let’s take a gander here; players expect a sniper to have a hefty sound when you fire it, right? There should be a kick, like firing CS: GO’s AWP or Valorant’s Operator. After all, you’re firing something that can down enemies in one to two shots. Not in Outriders. Something fundamental is missing, or maybe there’s something they didn’t take into account. This isn’t just limited to the snipers; all of the guns sound like this, which is sad, given the variety of guns that players have at their disposal.
In addition to this, the voice acting alone is also controversial. There are some parts of the voice acting where the player character sounds incredibly flat, even in parts where there’s a lot of action and provocation are happening.
Music-wise, there’s not that much to be said about it, mostly because players are too busy killing things to listen to music. But there could’ve been something a bit more added in there, which might have enriched the gameplay (see Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal for examples).
What Went Wrong With Outriders?
Compared to the real horror show that is Anthem, the Outriders game is passable. However, some areas put a downer on the show, most notably the game’s servers being down on the game’s release date. Now that alone isn’t enough to grind anyone’s gears. But that it took three days for it to be fixed is enough to tick players off.
There’s also the fact that the game’s performance is a bit buggy, especially on PC. There are some parts on the graphics side of things that hamper player enjoyment. Combine that with the annoying and clingy cover system and bad pathfinding, and players can get annoyed really quickly.
Next up, the game’s sound design, or the fact that the sound design is a bit underwhelming. The guns don’t sound great, there’s no good music to pump players up for killing enemies or anything at all. The voice acting is mediocre going to bad, and the only thing good in the sound design is how the environment sounds like. That’s it.
Well, enough about the bad things, what about what went well in the game?
What Went Well?
It’s not all gloom and doom, however, as there are a few things that did go well on Outriders. For one, the game’s class abilities are great to use alongside the various guns and mods that players find. The customization options that make themselves available alone are almost enough to redeem the game in some aspects. Combined with a pretty decent progression system and loot acquisition, and overall the game is a decent looter shooter. But that’s it for the good portion of the game.
Should You Consider Playing the Outriders Game?
The Outriders game is a pretty decent looter shooter and does have its interesting moments. The graphics could use a bit of polish in some areas, and the combat can be tighter and more action-packed. But there’s a core there that people can add on to for additional content and enjoyment.
However, we don’t recommend buying the Outriders game in the state that it’s in, mostly due to poor connectivity and lackluster endgame. It’s best to wait a bit before diving into this game to enjoy yourself. However, if you do have an Xbox Game Pass, you can easily get this game for free, try it a bit, then decide for yourself.