Review: Outriders – Tiers of War
Outriders is the latest Third-Person Shooter from People Can Fly . We know them from Bulletstorm, Gears of War Judgment and Painkiller. Their brand new IP, Outriders was released for Square Enix. But what exactly is Outriders?
People Can Fly has a long history with the Gears of War franchise from Microsoft, then owned by Epic Games. It's no secret, then, that this franchise has provided great input into People Can Fly's latest project. The Gears tracks are everywhere. Think Outriders of a mixture of Destiny, The Division and Gears of War. The result is an entertaining, but certainly not perfect shooter.
We are Outriders
In Outriders you play as the last surviving Outrider. You land on an unknown planet called Enoch. The goal is to build up a colonization, as the earth is almost finished. Unfortunately, Enoch is not as welcoming as hoped as strange storms, called anomalies, plague the surface. A sudden conflict breaks out because apparently some people knew about the dangers on Enoch, but have deliberately kept their mouth shut.
Everything breaks down, almost everyone dies, but you lock yourself in a freezer and suddenly wake up 30 years later. Your son is suddenly much older than you and.. Oh no, that's a different game. You wake up, find yourself in a storm, but unlike almost everyone else who gets hit, you survive. At this point, you are choosing a class for your character. The storm gives you special powers that will come in handy.
After colliding with someone just like you, you find yourself with a base of survivor and an old acquaintance! She doesn't seem very impressed with your return as there are more important things at play right now. Fortunately, you can help with that. Enoch can't be abandoned so we just have to build an existence here, but we need stuff for that. This is where the real Outriders Dangerous Shopping Adventure begins.Still nice to see that La Fuente has been able to get a role in this game.
Flowing and Flaming
Actually, the story in Outriders is a bit whatever and sometimes a bit difficult to follow. But luckily this isn't really the meat of the game either. What matters, and what you quickly notice, is the gruesome gameplay. Man, Outriders plays nice. It really feels like a Gears of War shooter in the most positive sense possible. It's nice and smooth, full of impact, brutal action and cool special powers to mix into the gunplay. And you're going to need it anyway because playing aggressive is a requirement for Outriders. Each class has unique special powers, but somehow these cause your life bar to refill.
In the case of the Pyromancer, you get lives back for every enemy that is on fire. Several special attacks temporarily barbecue enemies in which they replenish your life bar if they die while still smoldering. Enemies are generally very aggressive and storm towards you in a group, so staying in one place and shooting from a wall is really not a solution in this game.
Answer this aggression with even more aggression and the result is a dynamic battle with flying bullets, near-death experiences and pure frenzy. And again, this is primarily meant in the most positive sense.
More Outriders, more blood
The above story only gets better when you play with friends. Special powers of Outriders combine very well. The Trickster sets the time very slowly for a moment and the Pyromancer sets that area on fire. After pumping lead for a few seconds, only a puddle of blood remains and the entire process from human or alien to puddle of blood you experience in smell and color, because Outriders does not skip when it comes to gore.
If I had to score Outriders in terms of co-op gameplay, then the game alone would get a big 9. Co-op works very well in this game. It is very clear that People Can Fly takes this very seriously. This way you can always play together with friends and random people online, but you can also choose certain points in the story to start. So you can always take a few steps back when you play with a friend who is not as far as you are. Also, side missions are always replayable so that you can basically continue to do everything co-op, regardless of how far one or the other is in the game. Very nice!
What also works really well in People Can Fly's shooter is the way the difficulty works. You play in World Tiers. Every Tier up it gets a little harder. Tier 1 and 2 are easy and Tier 3 is 'normal'. On this Tier, enemies are the same level as you. Every Tier after that makes enemies stronger and higher level. As a result, they take more blows, and you take less and less. Playing in the highest Tier unlocked will earn you XP to advance to the next Tier. This is nicely kept in an XP bar, below your own XP bar at the top of the image.
The World Tier system works so well in this game because you can go back in World Tier at any time. Is it getting a little too hot underfoot? Then you lower the World Tier a bit to make the game a little easier. So you can choose to play the entire game in World Tier 1, or always, depending on how high you have unlocked, always scale up. The advantage of playing in higher tiers is that you can find and put on better gear.
Graphically there is little to fault. Outriders looks very good and the different areas you end up in shine on the Playstation 5. Although the faces and animations could use some more work, it all looks very slick. The many visual effects, blood spatter, flying body parts and so on look very gruesome. Every now and then you can really enjoy the color explosion on your screen. In that respect you can compare it a bit with Destiny, where you sometimes have beautiful views in the distance during a mission.
In general a very neat presentation, but there are some small mistakes here and there. Cloth physics do not always cooperate, so that sometimes you just clip a long coat through a leg, or your poncho suffers from an erection. Small things, but laughable at times. But not nearly as laughable as the sometimes absurd cutscenes. Not everything has to have a cut scene, People Can Fly. I don't need a cutscene of my character jumping over a bridge or opening a door. Just don't show it to me because this is just too ridiculous for words. Just an example:
Outriders isn't a perfect game, but you don't need a perfect game to just have fun. The gunplay is nice, co-op multiplayer works very well and plays very nicely. The mix between shooting and special powers is good and the challenge is to adapt it to your own level, so you can choose between having a blast or a sweat. After a rough start with server problems, I can say that Outriders has no major problems if you're looking for an entertaining shooter to tackle together or alone. Plus, you can play at no extra cost if you're a Game Pass subscriber to Xbox One, or Series X|S.
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