In the Outer Worlds you are awoken from cryogenic sleep 70 years late, to find a star system gripped in the decaying tremors of late-stage capitalism. The corporations rule everything and deviation from their mandates is met with the harshest of treatment; fines of 100,000 bits, extreme disapproval from management, even forced organ removal to pay for debts. People are the property of the corporations, and they are treated like the machine cogs they are. Most people are resigned to their fate, but you get to choose… and your choices will shape the whole system.
The Outer Worlds has a similar style to Fallout, a similar universe to firefly, and a feel all of its own. The game has these difficult decisions built into the story where you are forced to choose the Best Bad Choice. There is no right answer and what you choose could have drastic consequences to the world, or worlds.
This mechanic of story-driven choices is quite addictive. Where a lot of games give you a moral choice and an immoral choice, The Outer Worlds presents choices that are much greyer than most. Choosing between whether to support one group or another, shaded by your own goals and needs makes the story of this universe come alive.
The Outer Worlds was released on October 25; I have already played 15 hours. I haven’t finished the main storyline, I don’t know how far along I have come, but I haven’t stepped foot on 5 of the 7 worlds, and each world can have multiple play areas. It’s hard to do a story-driven review when I haven’t seen how the story plays out, but from what I have seen I have enjoyed so far. At the moment I have entered the “Getting the tools” part of the story. The side quests on the planets are incredibly organic, an overheard word from a bystander can lead to a substantial and rewarding quest.
There are many factions in the game vying for political dominance and gaining reputation with one can lose rep with another. It makes even small decisions have larger consequences. In an old RPG I was recently replaying, the only consequence for stealing someone’s belongings right in front of them was a small a panel saying “please don’t steal from me,” sorry I’m looting everything I can find. In the Outer Worlds if you are caught stealing you lose rep from that faction. It’s pretty hard to earn rep, so it makes the action of stealing feel much more dangerous.
The universe of the game is rich and it at least feels like the consequences of your actions have weight behind them, for good or ill.
The Outer Worlds definitely has the potential to knock Witcher 3 off as the best RPG I’ve ever played. Only time will tell, but so far, so good.