As much as I loved Skyrim (which was a lot), I never got into the Fallout games. Which is slightly weird, because I'm more of a sci-fi fan than a fantasy fan. But the thing is, the Fallout games always looked a little weird to me. The whole post-apocalyptic setting didn't do much to entice me. But when The Outer Worlds was announced for Switch? A whole different story. Because this one - while hyped as Obsidian's kinda sorta Fallout spiritual successor - mostly looked TO ME like it was Skyrim In Space.
I'm a few hours in now, and Skyrim in space is a pretty good description. Sure, the dialogue is a little sillier. But the UI and the way items and weapons work; the skill tree; the companions; the quests - everything has a very familiar feel to me. In a good way. And like Skyrim, this is a big giant open world that's full of freedom. Your choices really matter in the story, and HOW you choose to approach any challenge is up to you.
As a quick example, while exploring one planet I walked into a camp of enemies without realizing it. They spotted me before I did they. I quickly realized I was outnumbered, so just ran the heck out of there. And they gave up chase. Very Skyrim. Know when to hold em, and so on.
The interesting battle mechanic is that you can slow down time, briefly. This skill is on a recharge, so you need to use it wisely. This adds plenty of depth in how you approach a fight.
As far as the story goes, normally I play very "the right way." I'm usually all about making the best ethical choices I can in games like this. But right now, I just don't have the time to care as much so I'm approaching it more from a "what's my quickest solution" route. I guess I'm thinking of my unfrozen astronaut (Newt) as a bit of a neutral character. I don't want to get dragged into the politics of these planets. I just want to get myself out of here alive.
To some degree, I'm a loner, Dotty - a rebel. But I have two crew mates along with me for the ride so far because we could all use some help. But ultimately, I'm approaching this story so differently than how I normally play such games. Whatever it takes to survive, that's what I'm doing.
But the game is definitely got its hooks in me. Sometimes I'm not sure how much I'm "into" it. As I've said, the story doesn't really "matter" to me, in the sense that I don't really care what route I get dragged down. But then I realize that an hour has flow by in a blink, and that tells me that this is a really good and compelling sci-fi game.
This game is really really good. And like I said, I'm playing it very differently than how I'd approach most games like this. It's like a super slow speedrun, haha. But the point is, every decision I make is basically about "what's the quickest way to solve this problem?" In that sense, it feels more like a puzzle/adventure game than a first person shooter to me.
As an example, I was doing a quest where I needed to buy a nav ticket for 10,000 bits. That's a lot of bits. Now, I could do a sidequest for the lady (Gladys) to get her to just give me one, but somehow I botched that sidequest. So I figured, screw it, I can just turn in this other guy (Phineas) and forget about controlling the story path and see what happens. But when I tried to turn him in, I needed to now buy some report for 8,000 bits - again from Gladys. And again, this is way more bits than I had. So what's the quickest way to fix this? I'll just take out Gladys and steal the papers I needed and save the 8,000 bits. Again, this is the sort of awful thing I'd not normally do in a game. But my first playthrough is sheer chaos. Which makes me think this is the kind of game that's so good, that I'd want to come back to it in the future and do an actual MORAL playthrough of it.
I've been using my skill points to up my conversation and hacking skills. To me, that's making the game hugely fun because it means most of these puzzles I can resolve using my words, or breaking into stuff. At least that's better than innocent bloodshed! Case in point, I needed a sherpa to get me to the next area, and she happens to be a pill popper. The RX had cut her off, so I went over and the pharmacist told me no way. Now, I could have just gone guns blazing to get what I needed but instead I snuck upstairs and broke into the supply closet. Problem solved. This game is really neat.
The more I play The Outer Worlds, the better it gets. I was thinking about it last night, and given the low number of games I've played this year, I think this is now my front-runner for GOTY 2020. This surpasses Hades which I thought would be my favorite. And I'll tell you why: The Outer Worlds feels 100% like Skyrim In Space for me. And I love that. I love that I'm just focusing on the story right now, and doing it dirty, but that I could start a completely different playthrough later and do nothing but explore and ignore the entire story. The world here is amazing and bright and colorful, and the vast cast of NPC's and side-quests (that I'm currently ignoring) means that there's reason to keep exploring this game later and experiencing new things. Much like Skryim. But this one is in space!
Watching the credits roll on The Outer Worlds was bitter sweet. I spent the entirety of my playthrough constantly moving forward at whatever cost. And yet, as it concluded, I felt like I was just really going to miss this world. And that, my friends, is the sign of a good game.
Yes, I've said it from hours earlier in my playthrough, The Outer Worlds is so good that I can myself jumping back in for another - more thoughtful - playthrough of its story. I can see myself jumping back in to actually explore various sidequests. And more likely, I can myself jumping back in just to do nothing and explore the vast world - much like I've done with games like Skyrim or GTA5 - all games I've loved.
The Outer Worlds is a fantastic game. It's one that I'm glad I took a chance on. It's one that will stick with me for a while, and it's easily my 2020 GOTY.