The Outer Worlds comment: Better than Fallout 4?

Considering that it seems to have originated from more or less nowhere, the outside world considers it a marvel to be fully formed and extremely idiosyncratic. While it may be lazily classified as steampunk, its visuals pay glorious homage to both 1950s sci-fi comics like Dan Dare and some graphics that took shape when HG Wells and Jules Verne were introducing the idea of ​​a fantasy world .

On paper, it might seem derivative: gameplay-wise as a single-player, first-person shooter-RPG, it's undeniably reminiscent of Fallout (perhaps with a dash of frontier thanks to crazy weapons). And that's without much regard for modern gaming innovations - not only does it refrain from any form of multiplayer, but its vast game world is not open; on the contrary, it is divided into planets, in which most of the inhabitants live in walled cities and categories.

When you play with the outside world, however, it feels like nothing but derivative or old-fashioned. Even the loading screens manage to keep you entertained all the time, and the gameplay is tight and focused - like Fallout with extraneous fat. It contains a complex of systems that you would expect to find in an action RPG, including a skill tree, armor and weapon modding, and a system of perks and a sprawl of consumables and loot to collect - but like its gameplay, these systems have been reduced to their very essence, so he never feels embarrassed by the complex.

Supremely satirical

Story-wise, the outside world grabs you from the start and spirals in some great and often hilarious route. Set in a retro future in which humanity began to colonize other solar systems, this takes place on various planets and space stations within the Earth colonized solar system called Kingfisher.

He opens up with a delinquent professor-type, Phineas Wells, gaining access to Hope, a ship stranded and abandoned after a bureaucratic mess - in a serene system containing hundreds of thousands of settlers from Earth still in suspended animation.

Wells releases one hibernation of the cells containing you (so you can choose your character's gender, appearance and skill-polishing attribute), lifts you up to his secret space-base, then throws you in a pod on Terra 2, the nearest planet where an adventurer named Captain Hawthorne is waiting to help you.

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Hawthorne is squeezed by the RMO, so your first task is to get to your spaceship and you're good to go - which kicks off a hilarious tale of romp that, among other aspects, inexorably takes Mickey out of the corporate glut.

In Halcyon, corporations have effectively replaced some form of government - each city is dominated by a particular one - and it quickly becomes clear that the shadow council that oversees them all is great at running the entire solar system into the ground.

Your main task is to revive as many villagers as possible, so that they can take off the board and run Halcyon in less self-serving, greedy and paralytically bureaucratic red tape. Even the game's stylized, whimsical picture fails to hide the undercurrent of biting anti-corporate satire.

Do the right thing or not

Not that you necessarily need to do it right - at the end of almost every mission in the Outer Worlds, you can choose to betray those you were on the mission for (it contains many factions, and your status as friend or foe in each carefully logged) and use the mission object or information for their own purposes, reshaping history in the process. As a result, there are many incentives to play it multiple times.

Gameplay-wise, the outside world can use Fallout 3's carbon copy just like the base one - you regularly run into groups of enemies that have weak spots and need to be gunned down or meleed - but it adds a lot of elements of its own.

These include a time-slow movement that slows down temporarily unavailable proceedings, allowing you to get a handle on the enemies you encounter and outrun them. There is a health-recovery inhaler that can also be loaded with meds that give you temporary buffs (like increased resistance to bullets and effects).

And best of all, you're not just a lone wolf: throughout the game, you recruit a group of willing, AI-controlled accomplices (you can take up to two with you), who fight alongside you and have special moves that can be called.

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Wicked weapon

The weapons on offer are excellent - Obsidian has clearly taken a lot of cues from the frontiers in this regard. You accumulate a huge assortment of weapons and melee weapons, so you can, for example, set one comrade with a grenade launcher and another with a plasma rifle or sniper rifle, according to the enemies you encounter.

There are two types of ammo - light and heavy. Weapons degrade when used, so you have to repair them (and upgrade them with mods) and you can carry a generous Arsenal of up to four of them.

But the coolest weapons come from their own mission: the science of weapons, and perfectly in keeping with Dan dare atmosphere, these are fun to mess with the laws of physics. One, for example, is a shrink beam that temporarily makes an enemy tiny.

The Outer Worlds shooting engine is flawless too: accurate and with plenty of feel, and as you level up and buff your party members with perks, you develop a satisfying ability to take on large groups of dangerous enemies. Although you should always take a tactical approach, changing fellow travelers if you must.

There are a few flashes of (not too onerous) bewilderment in the game, and you'll often find in missions that there are ways by which you can stack the odds in your favor, such as taking one specific type of enemy for as long as you're willing to sleuth a bit.

The missions are pleasantly varied and very interesting – along the way through the outer worlds the writing is absolutely superb. His game-world is utterly attractive and delightfully distinctive. One big showcase for writing is a set of mission-based dialogue about each of your comrades that felt like miniseries. Pumping up your dialogue prowess pays dividends: you get a lot of chances to use words rather than weapons to accomplish your mission-goals, so dialogue is a major part of the game.

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