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Outcast: A New Beginning | REVIEW | PS5



Developed: Appeal Studios

Published: THQ Nordic

Genre: Adventure/Shooter

Release Date: March 15th, 2024


*Review copy provided to me by Publisher

Outcast A New Beginning is a resurgence of a 1990s classic and its developed by Appeal Studios and THQ Nordic. With the adventure shooter market becoming more stacked by the day between new IP and classic titles being remade, THQ and Appeal Studios have decided to throw their hat into the ring and rival the Outcast franchise. But was it a wise decision to dip back into this world? or was it a case of wrong place wrong time? Only one way to find out, so lets go!




I'm going to be honest to start things off, Outcast is a really random game to try to bring back or even revive for a more modern audience because a lot of people don't even know of its overall existence, like me with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, I just disappeared from the face of the earth. But while that may be perceived as a bad thing or a knock on it, honestly though, I feel it could be a rather positive thing the game has going for it due to the fact there aren't any pre-conceived notions or expectations of what they feel the game should be or live up to and instead have to go into whatever this game offers with a fresh mind set and overall unclouded judgement by previous past times of the franchise. Moving about the skies with your own jetpack like you're Rocketman, fighting against enemy robots with lights that make it feel like its a rave, set within an open world setting that pits action and a sense of adventure at the forefront of the core games narrative and design, it immediately draws you into its world and its characters with polished action and exploration of this realized world that is a compliment to its own mechanics, rather than just an addition to go alongside it like so many other open world games tend have issues with in regards to the balances put in place. Having played the 1990's era game in which this title has gotten its inspiration from, you'll notice that Cutter Shade is your corny, cringe and stereotypical protagonist that you'd see back in the day in games like Duke Nukem, only not as rash obviously. But it is the cringe dialogue and the way he nonchalantly throws off his banter of humor that makes me appreciate the character while he's on his mission to take his foes in this alien like world. But the question is, WHY am I drawn to it? well for one I love that 90's era of humor and goofy nature and Cutter Slade actually gives me flashbacks to characters like Jack Slater, another cringy bad ass from the movie Last Action Hero. I eat this type of stuff up because like Norman Osborn say, ''I am something of a cringe myself''. But while the cringe stuff does have its purpose to make you laugh or reflect on past references to days of the past, the narrative itself shapes a different story the further you climb through the game, getting old. Not in the way its done in M. Nights ''Old'' movie, gross, but in a mid life crisis way that uses humor to get its point across in a way that's relatable.

The further you journey with Cutter Slade you see signs that this action hero isn't what he used to be, as he's aging and getting older, hairline getting on the level of Lebron James and gaining a tad bit of weight, but like any good aging protagonist who's ''getting too old for this shit'' like Danny Glover, Cutter Slade still exhumes his heroic stature and you still FEEL that he still ''has it'' even if you're a first time player. You feel like you've known him or grew up with him like an Indiana Jones who's aged, you still want them to WIN. Why are you getting attached to a character that 90% of people playing this have no clue about? this is because of characters writing itself, character arc of aging being a specific part of the story itself while he himself acknowledges it, but still managing to pull off the ultra over the top amazing feats that you'd expect from the stories hero to pull off. The key thing to sum up here is simply, being relatable. Sure you don't know him, maybe haven't played the 1990''s title, but because he has the writing of someone that's ''hey he just like me for real'', you're more interested and intrigued to be invested in the character, regardless of their cringe or silliness. All this takes place while you're mowing down your enemies using gadgets at your disposal like Jetpacks, laser weapons for your pew pew pew, energy shield that comes in handle in tough situations and other forms of combat at your disposal that allow you further immerse yourself in the gameplay itself. If you sit back and think about what you're playing, you're basically playing the imagination of a little kid growing up, everyone who has an action figure, or in my case a barbie doll, go into your own little fantasy world and imagine if they were real and you cook up a scenario in your brain that you feel is ''real''. Well this is the boy version of that with Cutter Slade feeling like a action figure come to life akin to a GJ Joe with an over exaggerated muscle mass to top it off. Now talking about action figures coming to life, just makes me want to go watch Small Soldiers now, thanks. Maybe I'll do so in a little bit if I have time to, but we really need to get into some of the game play mechanics here to give you and overall view of how this game plays and feels to go alongside of the overarching character narrative this title has going for it, and if its beneficial to the total scheme of things when laid out.




The games combat or maneuvering around feels very smooth with little to no frame drops, dips or input delay when performing your actions like using your jet pack to fly around to out maneuver foes who put you under heavy fire, double jumping into a dodging combo in order to make harder jumps or quick get aways, all while saying out loud to yourself as you glide in for a bad ass quick kill ''IM NOT FLYING, IM FALLING... WITH STYLE'' and then BOOM, blow them into smithereens. Its very satisfying to say the least and because the action stays fast paced in most situations, it always feels like you're engaged with very little downtime to slow down the pacing of your engagements, which is always a plus for these types of titles. One of the hurdles that this game had going for it the minute the phrase ''open world'' was spouted was can the developer take up the task of creating an open world environment and making the combat feel apart of that world and not just a feature that is put into it as an afterthought and honestly, even with some hiccups here and there with some areas getting janky here and there, the overall experience of merging explorational freedom alongside combat in a balanced way with its smooth controls, makes the shooting mechanics in this title stand out even more. Instead of being a hindrance to the infrastructure already established, aka, the open world building, the shooting mechanics, upgraded to the same standards as other action shooters, benefits from being able to use said open world to its advantage, making the environment you're in itself, an extension of the main characters arsenal, instead of a backdrop to the action itself, like a set piece. Outcast also learned from industry mistakes of mundane tasks to do in when out in the open world. So many games I've played, which kill my brain, constantly have you do boring side quests like go fetch this item, walk 20 minutes to find this material and then bring it back to the old man that gave it to you in the first place, only to realize that an hour has gone by for one quest and all you got as a reward is like 50 coins. Really bro? REALLY. Luckily the Outcast devs aren't on that level of studio and instead refuse to have players take on trivial and idiotic tasks just to fill out their open world. Sure, you have missions or quest activities that take place that are short and involve you to get specific key times, however its the reward of your efforts that is the pay off, and you don't feel cheated after ganging with the quests in the world of Outcast. It does just enough to warrant and justify its move to ''open world'', but pulls back just far enough to not make you also hate the fact that its ''another open world title'' in the saturated field that is AA and AA gaming in the modern era, and I feel that says something.

However, the game is not without its fair share of under achievements, then again no game is, even ones I fan girl over like Rebirth or Don't Sh** Your Pants. Even though the games exploration is fun and inviting, its smooth gameplay and engaging shooting keeps you on your toes with the amount of tenacity it brings, it still falls short in the story department. Sure Slade is rather relatable, which we went over and he's a likeable character that you can get behind, but once you get past his personal banter and self mockery coming to terms with his age narrative, that's kind of where it runs into a brick wall of sorts, like a Coyote chasing a Road Runnner. That's right, MEEP MEEP, buddy, MEEP MEEP. By focusing on the 90s action hero type of character theme that makes the game endearing and gives it its charm, it however becomes a slave to it, much like games similar to Bulletstorm end up doing. Sometimes when you have an overly cliche, generic or even goofy character, that by the time when you want your audience to further feel for them or become more engaged in a serious narrative, it just cant be done because you already have this preconceived notion that they're a goofball and you just can't take them seriously at all. Similar if I started reading poetry on my channel, quoting Shakespeare, no one would take me seriously due to the amount of puns and random fart jokes I make. That concept holds true here, minus the fart jokes of course. It feels a bit superficial and because the main character acts as goofy as he does, while still thwarting the main baddie, it undermines the villains purpose in the story and makes them look more like a comedic side relief rather than a threat to your very existence and there's no real feeling of threat that looms over you. While I appreciate and love humor, cringe and over the top 90s, sometimes you gotta take a big ol sharky bite, grow in size and barely fit on the screen, and pull back the reigns in order to get your audience fully invested. That's where Outcast falls short in this endeavor. Which is a shame really.





At the end of the day, Outcast A New Beginning, was indeed that, a new beginning for this franchise and one you can say is truly off to a good start, albeit with a few bumps along the way. While it has issues with the story pacing feeling a bit underwhelming and some areas getting a bit janky with the loading at times, it makes up for it with a great looking open world with great aesthetics and art style, fun use of combat and exploration by utilizing jet packs in conjunction with shooting gameplay to pull off hard to do dodges and perform an aerial assault that makes you feel like a total bad ass when mixing in in gliding, flying, dodging and double jumping in unison to pull of a hard to achieve kill, it feels extremely gratifying. While it may not been the game I was looking for exactly when going into it, I more than welcomed that shock because sometimes not looking for a specific experience in a game and having expectations subverted can lead to a pleasantly fun surprise, just like Outcast A New Beginning is. So whether you're fan of the original or if you have no damn clue what the original was but still looking for a fun experience, then I highly recommend giving this one a go and diving in to it yourself, I think you will be surprised in a very good way. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW