The Origin of My Love for the Looter-Shooter
This Outriders Stadia Review was written before the release of the Worldslayer expansion.
If you told me years ago that I would not only grow to love and adore the Looter-Shooter genre but would end up trying and playing a good chunk of what’s come out so far…I would’ve first said “What the hell is a looter-shooter?”….THEN proceed to laugh in your face. From Destiny, The Division, Borderlands, and more…there’s something about the gameplay loop that’s both satisfying and intriguing. Walking, running, and exploring worlds that reward you with randomly upgraded gear and weapons feels like the game is saying “Thank You for playing.” and that, along with other factors determine whether or not I will invest my time into playing.
What’s more intriguing are games that offer a “Uniquely Familiar” feel: Different in some ways, but very recognizable in others.
Outriders provide that experience for me.
In this Outriders Stadia Review, I’ll base my rating on 3 points: Story, Gameplay, and Presentation. At the end I’ll leave a rating of either “Buy, Try, or Wait for Pro”
Let’s get it.
The story in Outriders involves a group of people called Outriders, that are looking for a planet to colonize. Their home planet isn’t exactly working out, so they send out probes to nearby planets that are retrieved in the hopes of compiling enough data that help them find a new home. They come across the planet Enoch and land…only to find a nasty storm called The Anomaly tearing through the planet, causing people to either turn into “Thanos Dust”…or to become something more. During a mission, The Anomaly touches down and does its thing. You get caught up in the light show and become an Altered; a being that can manipulate and harness the elements.
The story touches on the circumstances the people are in and how to fix things so you can leave Enoch. Why? Well because…you’re stranded. What a twist…right? You find out during the game that the humans and the indigenous populous aren’t exactly what they seem, and you find that out as you push through the campaign. I enjoy the story and how it unfolds over time. As the player, you end up taking the story beats as you move through the world, which leads you to find out more during cut-scenes, as well as combat encounters. It keeps things from getting too stale. For me, anyway. Of course, I won’t give away too much, but what you get is a lot better than one would think at first glance.
When it comes to the gameplay, I have to be honest…there were times when I felt that the game didn’t want me to perform some of the actions or provided the occasional quirk: The cover system wouldn’t let me cover at times. *That being said, being able to look at the cover, and hold A to see your character run to it automatically is a GREAT touch that I love in games like The Division games.* I would also come across moments when enemies would somehow spot me before I could even get a shot off…at long range. Even the cooperative component that some people have said was annoying due to a slight learning curve involving being able to play with your friends.
While I agree with a few gripes in those instances, Outriders still manages to produce a solid experience that often reminded me of games like Gears of War, Mass Effect 2, and even a past title that People Can Fly released: Bulletstorm. Of course, your mileage may vary but all quirks aside, the gameplay feels solid and responsive. Like I’ve said earlier, Outriders manages to mix different games and somehow still feel very unique. As odd as it sounds…you’d have to try it for yourself to understand a bit more. Other than that, it feels great and there’s not much else to it.
First impressions are important. As gamers, a poor first impression can ruin the trajectory of any title‘s success. The presentation of Outriders does a pretty good job of how it presents itself in a few areas. Visually, Outriders doesn’t boast the most breathtaking visuals. It isn’t Cyberpunk2077 (We’re talking visuals here, okay…relax.) but the game still lets the player know that attention to detail and immersion was very much a priority to People Can Fly.
For example, during my time with the game, I was able to see that the draw distance in Outriders was impressive. While most games do their best to mitigate a lack of resources by cutting a few corners…this wasn’t one of those areas. While there are some instances of pop-in, there are also amazing particle effects. Depending on your class, the corresponding hues that burst with each ability or melee attack dazzle on-screen and add a welcome touch of vibrancy in an otherwise dark and oftentimes earthy, palette-laden world.
Skill tree-wise, the player starts at one point of a tree that expands horizontally to the right. Each upgrade is represented as an orb that branches to another. It loosely reminds me a bit of the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X…just not as…Final Fantasy X. As you progress and gain points, you can allocate said points that grant you different passives. Not to mention you can reset and re-allocate your points if you’re not feelin’ a particular aspect of the build.
Another cool thing is that you can branch off to one of 3 Sub-Classes! For instance, as a Technomancer you can choose to work towards the Demolisher, Tech Shaman, or Pestilence builds. Each with its own set of passives and twists on abilities. It provides for an interesting situation in the event you play with another player in the same class as you. Unless you both choose a “Meta” build for grinding…the chance that you’ll come across the same build is pretty slim. While not exactly “dressed to the 10s” Outriders does leave a positive and lasting impression indeed.
Outriders Stadia Review: Buy, Try, or Pro?
Outriders isn’t perfect in my eyes. There are some areas in which I would have made some tweaks or completely removed certain things. That being said, the game is one that I will always come back to. The gameplay loop, flexible skill tree, and how the game lets you change the difficulty to add more challenge…while dropping better loot tick the boxes I subconsciously judge a game by.
TL;DR: This is a Buy. Games like these always have something to chase, stories to tell, and ways to connect with others to build a sense of community and pride in the accomplishments of one…or the many as a collective. Everything this game attempts it succeeds at for the most part. There aren’t many glaring issues that take you out of the game. This game is really good. Don’t just take my word for it though. There’s always room for another Outrider. Get to it.
Thanks for reading my Outriders Stadia Review!