Outriders Review (PS5)
Updated: May 2
''We out here riding''
Developed: People Can Fly
Genre: Action, Shooter/RPG
Release Date: April 1st, 2021
*Game provided by Square-Enix
Outriders is an action rpg loot shooter developed by People Can Fly and published by Square-Enix and is In the vein of loot shooters like Anthem, Borderlands and Destiny, but with an even more sci fi twist. Coming off titles like Gears Of War Judgement, Bulletstorm and my personal favorite, Painkiller, People Can Fly strives to break the narrative on the standard status quo of looter shooters and attempts to make something that is both unique and enjoyable. But with all the looter shooters out there in todays market, do they succeed? or is this another shooter doomed for a fate like Anthem's? only one way to find out, so, let's ride!
With earth meeting its end and destruction, the human civilization must now find a new home to inhabit in order to ensure the survival of the human race. Lead by scientists, generals and Outrider soldiers, they find a brand new planet named Enoch. Similar to that of earth, Planet Enoch seems to have all the resources needed for humans to once again begin to flourish, but the planet itself is hiding a deep and dark secret, known as The Anomaly. Now it is up to you, one of the last few remaining Outrider soldiers, to investigate and uncover its mystery, at all costs.
As stated earlier, Outriders is a action rpg looter shooter that tries to do what titles like Destiny and Anthem did, only a bit more streamlined and with a better quality of life aspect to it. Outriders right of the gate is put in a very unique position, because while on paper, when you break it down, its really not doing too much differently than other looter shooters out currently on the market, but that's not always a bad thing either. Outriders doesn't need to set the bar to new heights or even completely change the genre, not at all. It only needs to be a great quality shooter that's fun, addictive, improves quality of life aspects, such as gear drops and grinding, as well as offer a plethora of content that is not hidden behind a dang loot box that you must spend your life savings on just to have the best gear. Does the game accomplish everything I just said? well that can differ based on who you're talking to since the game is kind of a mixed bag, both in a good way and a bad way. So come on champ, let's get down to explaining why this can be considered a mix bag, shall we?
As a member of the Outriders, a once broad team, now down to just a handful of members due to a crisis on earth that caused many of their deaths, it is now your task to uncover the mystery of The Anomaly that is taking place on your new planet named Enoch, there's something strange, in your neighborhood. Upon investigating this strange occurrence you and your team are killed by a strange electric storm and some gross dark tar looking substance. ''Hold up, hold up'' you say, ''You die?''. Well yes and no, technically you do meet the same fate as the rest of your team, however, fortune smiles upon you and the universe has bigger plans for you in store. Instead of killing you, The Anomaly's storm energy transforms your character into a hybrid being known as The Altered. As an Altered, you gain the ability to take control over certain elements and raise physical capabilities. After achieving your new found powers and being overwhelmed by the storm's energy, you collapse and are down for the count. The next time you awake, you're just being revived from a 31 year crypto nap and are now in a middle of a gigantic war between two factions that now inhabit Enoch. Phew that's a lot for just the opening 10 min of the game. So lets recap. Human civilization dead, new planet found, new planet has promise but has a terrible secret, anomaly and black tar kills everyone that comes in contact with it, you gain new powers and become an altered and wake up 31 years in the future to a huge war. As Rick Moranis in Spaceballs would say, EVERYBODY GOT THAT? GOOD.
Once you're done getting through the scenario and story set up, it's actually time to get into why all of us are here in the first place, the actual game play. Being a looter shooter, as a player you are tasked from going area to area, clearing out all enemies and getting your prized drops. These prized drops can range from new wearable gear, new weapons or even rare materials to collect that you can use in order to craft even stronger weapons and gear that will be beneficial to you once you reach the games End Game content. Right from the start you're going to immediately notice the improvement Outriders has over other looter shooters with its navigation system in relation to mission selection, quest selection and fast traveling. Coming off games like Anthem, which had some of the most annoying navigational menus ever, here in Outriders everything is completely streamlined and so easy to use. Want to fast travel to a specific area, just plant your flag in the area you wish to be able to fast travel to and with a click of the button, you're there. Want to select a side quest and take a break from the main scenario for awhile? simple, just highlight the quest you want to go to and track. This all sounds bare basic , I know, but for a looter shooter, it goes a long way in improving its addictiveness for the player because we don't have to spend our time fiddling around with poor UI and menus for hours and can actually enjoy the game itself. Crazy concept, I know.
If you've played titles like Destiny, then you have a fairly good idea of how the game play in this title will work. Enter an area, shoot an enemy, advance and repeat. Now that in itself doesn't sound terribly exciting now does it? well thankfully you get some powers at your disposal that completely opens up the game entirely and expands the overall depth of your game play overall. Once you gain your new altered power, you're asked to pick from four separate classes, these classes range from Trickster, who's good for close ranged combat, Devastator who is your tank class, Technomancer for long range and Pyromancer that is good for all media range situations. The great thing about all these classes is they all feel very distinct from each other and all have their own pros and cons depending on the players play style or how you build up your character through the massive ability and skill tree. With the games skill tree, you're allowed to purchase upgrades, such as a health increase, take less damage or do more damage to your enemies, as well as equip new abilities you earn for your specific class the higher you improve your characters overall level. This is where the game opens up pretty big compared to other looter shooters on the market because there's value in playing every single character due to how much every class changes up how you play the game immensely. Due to the way the skill tree is structured and the amount of special skills you get as your character grows in level, not one single player to play this game will have the same experience, nor will you have the same exact build as another. Every single choice you make for your character is unique to you and the way you personally want to play the game, whether you pick to choose to go the offensive route, defensive route or support. It's your choice all the way, not the games.
In my playthrough I went the route of the Trickster. Man was this class fast paced and fun. When I wasn't staying at a distance, mowing people down or shooting off their head(which looks awesome), I was able to use my favorite three abilities. These abilities were Temporal Blade, Slow Trap and Hunt The Prey. Sure I got more abilities the further I got into the game, but my play style is a hit and run style of play where I shoot from distance, lure groups to me in packs or pick off enemies at higher ledges that I can't just walk to. With the three abilities I used, all of those become a possibility. Temporal Blade allows you to use a slashing energy blade that when used on one enemy or multiple regular enemies that are right in your face, will temporarily stun them and completely disintegrate their bodies. It's looks freaking awesome. However, if its a stronger enemy type, it will not kill them in the same way, instead it will temporarily stun them and just give them minor exploding damage, which is still very handy. Other abilities are more strategic based abilities, such as Slow Trap. With Slow Trap, it allows you to create a force field around a specific area around you that freezes time for anyone and anything within the dome of power. This is perfect for situations where you need to think on your toes and strategize your next move, it helped me out in SO many situations. Then finally there is the Hunt The Prey technique that allows you to instant transmission yourself, like Noctis from Final Fantasy 15, to any enemy you're locked onto and warp at light speed behind them. This is invaluable to use when you have enemies in unreachable places. It also gives you an opportunity to link together multiple attacks such as a Hunt The Prey + Temporal Blade combination that will completely throw the enemies off their guard and give you some sweet and epic kills.
Whether you are a Devastator class being a meat shield, Pyromancer using your A.O.E. fire attacks, or Technomancer with the ability to heal teammates, you're guaranteed to find a style that suits you as you make your way through the games 25 story missions, that should take you around 20 hours to complete, depending on if you take on any side quests that is. But oh man, please do not skip the side quests, I implore you to spend all the time you can taking on side missions from fellow people inside each town because each side quest offers you opportunities for stronger and better gear or weapons that you will not be able to get by normally playing the game. Its also essential to do these side quests because when taking them on, you're able to access various areas not usually accessible by themselves and this offers you the chance to mine specific materials you find scattered around the map so you can take them back to town and craft your weapon of choice. Which they and other items can be used when you take on the end game content, Expeditions. But we will get to that very shortly. But before that, we have to talk about something really quick. Ok as you've noticed so far we've mainly talked about some of the positives, because there are quite a few like I mentioned that relate to great UI and menus, combat system that feels quick and fluid, level up and skill grids that are deep and have depth and even some amazing boss battles you will encounter that range from easy as pie to ''Oh sweet mercy'' level of difficult, but there are some issues I personally had with the game that I'd like to get into before moving on.
So there's a dumbo in the room, no no, I'm not talking about someone's I.Q. level or the Disney mascot, although, yes, he is cute, but nope, I'm referring to another elephant in the room and that big ol elephant is the games servers and its overall stability. This game for the first days of its release was completely unplayable for me on Playstation 5. Error after error and crash after crash, it was extremely frustrating and it literally took me three days just to get out of the prologue. Each time I'd try to progress through the games prologue, I'd get a game crash or connection error, which would require me to restart the game and have to do the prologue sections ALL OVER AGAIN, I'm talking about the same 20 minute segment over and over. It was not a fun time at all. But to developers credit, People Can Fly have been extremely on the ball and very transparent through the entire situation and have done amazing customer service and server fixing. They're the perfect example of not only how to run an online only game, but how to communicate properly with an angry fan base that just wants to play your game. They're the real MVP. Besides the server issue, my next gripe was the main character, she(or he) is just not interesting at all. If you remember the gothic kids from South Park, then you pretty much know what I mean. Everything is a ''woe as me'', ''why am I still alive'', ''I'm of no use to anyone'' type of mentality and it runs out its welcome fast. The delivery is monotone and it's a stereotypical ''Lost Hero'' syndrome that's been done to death in every form of entertainment and I just didn't like it. The story overall is actually great and super interesting, characters like the bad ass Shira and Jakub (who reminds me of actor Peter Stormare) have great personalities and a good flow to their characters and you feel their performance, but you, your character, just nothing special at all, which is a damn shame. Those are some of the bigger issues I had with the game that caused me to roll my eyes or want to get a headache out of frustration(server issues).
So, you think you're done with the game? Well not quite. Even after you've completed the main campaign or every side quest, you still have more content to complete. Oh ya, that's right, once you pop the fun don't stop with this game. This is where the end game comes into play in the form of missions called Expeditions. These end game missions are objectives that take place in previously explored areas and involve more of the survival aspect of game play compared to other stuff in the game. These should really be done with a full team in order to get the full effect out of them because while they start off as easy as a kirby game, it quickly moves into the realm of extremely hard. The more successful you are in surviving and advancing, the harder your enemy types will get that you have to face. However, push on through and believe in yourself, like Parappa The Rapper says you should, because the end justifies the means. The harder the difficulty you complete during Expeditions, the stronger weapon drops you'll get and gear drops. This will extend your game play for many more hours and offer a ton of laughs between you and your friends or even just fun with random people.
At the end of the day Outriders was a breath of fresh air for the looter shooter genre. Coming off titles like Anthem, which had a lot of promise but ultimately failed due to the way the game was handled, People Can Fly took all the great aspects from games like Borderlands and Destiny and molded them into one highly addictive loot shooter that you just won't want to put down. Sure it has some short comings like server stability issues and an uninteresting main character, but its interesting sci fi story, its character roster, weapons scaling with your level, deep skill tree, fast and hectic game play and awesome monsters to fight, some of which remind me of something you'd see from War Of The Worlds, hmm, I wonder if poop will defeat those too... oh wait yes the review. Excuse me. When its all said and done, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives this game has and that's why this makes my verdict a very simple one, GameNChick says BUY NOW