Outriders is a high-intensity 1-3 player co-op RPG shooter from People Can Fly set in an original, dark and desperate sci-fi universe. Known for their work in Gears of War Judgement and Bulletstorm, Outriders features rich storytelling and combines intense gunplay with violent powers and an arsenal of increasingly twisted weaponry and gear-sets.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Stadia and PC
Reviewed on: Stadia and Xbox Series X
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Third-person shooter, role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Rich story driven RPG-shooter
One of the first things that drew me into Outriders is its rich and compelling story. Earth has become inhabitable and thus the human race has set out to travel through space and colonize an alien planet known as Enoch. However, shortly after landing on Enoch, the group encounters a strange energy storm known as The Anomaly. These storms not only destroy technology but give some, special superpowers.
With the absence of technology, a bitter war erupts amongst the colonization teams fighting for the last remaining resources available. After being struck by one of The Anomaly storms, you are put into cryostasis for 30 years. As you emerge, you learn that you now have superpowers and healing abilities.
It’s through cutscenes and the include dialogue tree that you are able to dig deeper into the story for a greater understanding. And, it’s through these same cutscenes that your bond and relationship with your team grows and becomes strong.
Character customization with one of four unique classes
Right from the get go, it is easy to see that Outriders’ gameplay is heavily influenced by People Can Fly’s previous work. Hints of Gears of War are apparent in the character’s themselves along with the cover system and gunplay used in the game. Additionally, the bullish take no prisoners attitude of Bulletstorm manifests itself in the game’s characters personalities.
You’ll have to choose between one of the four unique classes. The Trickster can manipulate time, Pyromancer can manipulate fire, Devastator can unleash seismic attacks and Technomancer can use turrets and other devices to attack. Additionally, you can level up your character via a skill tree, which allows you to upgrade and unlock new skills as you progress.
And, something else that I found neat, the game’s world level can increase. This means, when the world level increases, the enemies get more difficult but also you get better loot from defeated enemies.
Compelling and smooth gunplay with or without friends
In addition to the game’s story, I really enjoyed and was surprised at how smooth the gunplay is in the game. Running, ducking and weaving in and out of cover while attacking your enemies is near flawless. The weapons include assault rifles and shotguns, to name a few. And, they can be outfitted with mods.
Furthermore, I liked that developers decided to go with a short cool down period after using your character’s special skills. And, the fact that you can combine them with other skills. This allows for some pretty devastating attacks! The game’s environments are what I would call a semi-open world. While you can explore around a little bit, there is a clear path as to where you should be going and what you should be doing. In addition to the main storyline there are side quests that can be completed.
Outriders can be played by yourself or with friends in drop in/drop out co-op for up to three players. Multiplayer opens up about an hour into the game as you finish the prologue and choose your character’s class. The game features cross-play support, which means you can play with your friends regardless of what platform they are playing on. And while there were some launch weekend issues of not being able to log in or getting disconnected from the server, for the most part things have been ironed out.
Detailed environments with striking visuals
Visually, Outriders looks fantastic. From wastelands, to lush jungles, to frozen tundras and active volcanoes, the world of Outriders is gorgeous. Each of the character classes light up the battlefield in their own unique way and at times can be pretty impressive.
However, there are some glitches and the occasional performance issue every now and then but for the most part it runs great. As I write this review, the Stadia version has yet to be updated and thus at times has performance issues. Luckily, patches are on the way to get it up to par with the PS5, Xbox Series X and PC versions of the game. The voice acting is done well and lends to the team building and comradery amongst the characters in the game.
One of the things that I enjoyed most while playing Outriders on Stadia is Outrider’s use of Stream Connect. This allows you to see your teammates screen and is super helpful when battling bosses and scouring the land for loot.
Outriders is one of the most compelling looter-shooters on the market
While the launch of Outriders got off to a shaky start with launch weekend server issues making it difficult to log in and play and the game crashing, for the most part it’s been ironed out. I can honestly say that Outriders will only get better over time as patches come out and address some class balancing issues and tweak the game’s performance.
With all this in mind, I still had a great time with the game. I found the story to be more cohesive and flow much better than Destiny 2. In Outriders there is never a question of where to go or what to do next, whereas in Destiny 2 you can easily get lost or not know where to go to advance the story.
If you are a fan of looter-shooter games, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy the game.
+ Smooth gunplay
+ Fun to play with friends
+ Solid story that takes between 20-30 hours to complete
+ Beautiful visuals and excellent voice acting
+ Fun gameplay loop that doesn’t get boring
– Occasional graphical glitches and performance issues
– Character class balancing issues
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF OUTRIDERS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5