Outward Reviews

729,128 (475,365)
TA Score for this game: 12
Posted on 06 May 19 at 13:35
This review has 8 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
I first played this on my spare account, to see if I was going to invest enough time on this to play it on this account. Originally this was to be published on a friends website, but as it's already been covered there, I will be publishing here. Remember, this is my own personal opinion and you're free to agree or disagree. Feel free to dispute this in a respectful manner and I shall respond.

Anyone who knows me, or has even spoken to me will be well aware of the fact I love RPG's and an open world in which I can lose myself. From the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, to games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and The Witcher, there’s just so much to do in terms of quests, loot, and much more. If done right. There are some absolute stinkers lurking on the marketplace, such as Risen, and some that happily sit in the middle ground with dedicated fans, that number far less than their popular counterparts such as Elex. Which I must admit that I did enjoy. This time around, developer Nine Dots Studios and publisher Deep Silver bring us Outward. A cooperative element has been added to allow us the joys of questing and looting with a friend which is somewhat of a rarity these days, and now the big question follows. Is it worth the expenditure? Read on.

I have had my eye on Outward since its initial announcement, and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival on my Xbox, wanting to indulge myself further having not played an RPG since Kingdom Come: Deliverance released. A co-op element is something you don’t get in this genre all that often, and it certainly left me intrigued. I wanted to explore deeper and find out for myself if it could live up to hype and expectations.

Upon reaching the character creation screen, I recoiled with a mild grimace as I laid my eyes upon the slightly ugly character model that stood there waiting for me to make them beautiful. With a few options for facial hair, hair styles, facial options and a name, I quickly attempted to rectify the ugly Male before me, to no avail. Not to worry, it cant be that bad elsewhere with regards to the games visuals can it? Besides, if the gameplay is good then it will balance out and Outward will surely be fun. So off I ventured into the realms of the unknown, looking for adventure, new allies and quests in which to lose myself for a few hours. The story tells of the blood price of your family, and that you owe reparations for misdemeanors committed by your ancestors. A tribal way of life that sees you punished for their sins. A trifle unfair, but it’s part of the backstory and so be it. You’re not a Dragonborn, a mighty king or a monster hunter. You’re just a normal guy. Not all goes according to plan though, and very soon tragedy strikes your ship, leaving many rather upset and blaming you and wanting compensating. It’s not looking good.

As I delved deeper into Outward, it quickly became apparent that the visuals of NPC's as well as your own player just didn’t get any better. Scenery fairs better thankfully, but character modeling and animation could have done with more work and let’s the game down. Given it’s as noticeable as it is, many could be immediately put off by how it looks. I’ve seen worse if I’m honest, so it’s not on par with say, Two Worlds. If you’ve played that abomination unto gaming then you’ll know exactly what I mean. But Outward is certainly below the standard of what the Xbox One is capable of. Now I do understand that there will be several factors as to why the quality isn’t up to scratch, and had extra effort been made, it could well have been a prettier looking game.

Controls felt responsive from the get go, and after playing through the tutorial dungeon, I felt ready to try my hand at the main game. I didn’t have to complete the tutorial either, but after familiarising myself with how the game played, I felt comfortable with my command of the controls and set forth. With what feels like inspiration from the Dark Souls series with regards to having a stamina bar and a UI interface for what each button is responsible for which also feels like it did on Dragon Age: Inquisition, I began my adventure in a near fatal experience, having been lucky to survive a ship wreck. Quickly gathering myself, I made it along a short coastal stretch, gathering a few plants and some torches until I met a fellow survivor, who informed me that I should rest up on a bed roll to refresh myself. It’s worth noting that the information you receive when interacting with NPC characters sees a text box pop up with all the relevant information and a shorter version being spoken to you. A similar situation that I experienced when playing Torment and Pillars of Eternity, although this pair are of the Classic RPG genre and thus text heavy adventures.

After a loading screen, I awoke in my home. Strange I had been brought here, but I wasn’t going to complain as it saves me the leg work. After gathering as much as I could find, I made my outside to a mob that had surrounded my home, and far from pleased. Turns out that their loved ones had perished in the ship wreck which I was lucky to survive, and after some more conversing, I found out that I was responsible for compensating them 150 gold within the next 5 days or else I’d have my home taken from me. A wonderful introduction to the world, and quite confusing that an act of nature, or God if you prefer, has seen me laden with debt from the very start. But, this is a great opportunity to throw in a quest and get the ball rolling.

One huge issue I did have was with the game map. It’s not terrible to look at, it highlights several locations that are of interest to the player. But does it show you where you are located? No. Can you place a marker that shows on your compass? No. Did I get confused as to my current location every time? Yes. I’ve never had to open my map to find I’m completely lost still playing any game. It’s an absolute nightmare and even in the beginning town of Cierzo I got to a point where I was mildly lost. Irritating to say the least. I’m not asking for the game to hold my hand, which Skyrim has been accused of in the past, but a map that you can actually use would be preferable.

Before I departed Cierzo, I found an underground area to explore, and given that is something I enjoy in an RPG, and once again the map let me down. Lucky for me that despite it’s fairly large size, I could navigate it without after a while. I found some supplies which I said to myself I would sell and save towards my 150 coin fine. Problem solved. However, I went to one of the traders and it was worthless to him. As in the value was zero. So now I have a backpack full of stuff I cant sell. Marvellous.

After this, I headed towards the beach to speak with another NPC who survived the shipwreck with me. He informs me that he has a hidden stash for me, that’s to the south near the wreck. Excellent news, except that this information doesn’t appear in my journal, nor does it get marked on the map to no surprise. After aimlessly wandering around, I gave up searching for this location and decided that Cierzo isn’t that place that I want to be. I spoke with the guard at the gate and received some free training which was a sweetener, and left in the dead of night. It’s also worth pointing out that at night, it was so damned dark, I couldn’t see a thing, even with my torch. Does this game do anything right? I don’t want to have daylight constantly, but enough light to see my way around.

So after consulting my map, and wondering where on earth I was located, I ventured forth towards a bandit camp in the north. Bandits are always easy fodder for a beginner adventurer, not just for some easy XP, but some low end loot to sell for valuable coin. Surely they would have something worthwhile snatching? Well, I found a lone bandit sulking about and decided that I’d see this bad fellow off. I swung my machete for all it’s worth, and did land about a dozen hits, as I dodged and weaved around him. The tiny sliver of health I removed just didn’t seem like I was going to get this over with quickly, and I was correct. He got it over with quickly and slayed me woth a pair of swift strikes. That was it? Battle over already? Why does every game have to emulate Dark Souls these days, it’s a trope that has quickly become old and tired. Difficulty levels are a thing for a reason. Test yourself that way if you please, but I’d rather stick a game on normal difficulty and receive a good mix of combat and story. Not too easy and not too hard.

With regards to the game world itself, it is of a decent size with plenty of places to discover, but on the other hand, it just doesn't have the same epic feeling that top tier RPG's have to offer, and Outward leaves you feeling as though its lagging behind the pack which crosses the finish line way ahead, letting it crawl over.

After sitting back and thinking about it, I have for once boarded the hype train that I fabricated by myself, as I love RPG's and had become intrigued and excited about Outward since its announcement. Yet here I was feeling let down by pretty much everything about the game. Has it given me anything that I thought was cool or interesting? No, nothing that sticks out. The soundtrack was decent, but that all I can say I actually liked about it. I’m sure there will be people out there who would enjoy Outward, but its below par visuals, unpolished look on everything, sub standard voice acting and a map that serves very little purpose let the game down. I guess that you don’t start off the game as a hero or demigod is something, but there’s very little in the way of redeeming features here, and I feel disappointed.

Outward was a title that I had grown excited to play from the moment I heard about it. Sadly for me, it didn’t feel finished, and with several other factors that I just couldn’t get along with it turned out to be a let down. Maybe there will be a cult following for it, but I won’t be a part of the fan club I’m afraid.
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