If you miss games like the modern Fallout series, you may really need to avoid Fallout 76. Fortunately, The Outer Worlds (TOW) can cure your longing. The visualization of TOW offers an atmosphere that is not much different from what is usually presented in the Fallout series (Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Fallout 4). However, TOW renders graphics with a higher saturation than Fallout.
Besides the graphics that are able to offer an immersive atmosphere, the voice factor and voice acting at TOW also deserve thumbs up. For me, the special audio and visual presentation factor is not only eye-catching and pleasing to the ears but also able to support the immersive power of the world atmosphere and the stories that are presented. Obsidian is able to present it perfectly in this game.
Although it provides good visuals, this game is also not heavy in terms of performance. With my PC specs above, I had no trouble touching the 90-120 fps range. My friend, Glenn Kaonang who is also a writer for DailySocial and Hybrid, is also still fluent in playing this game (60 fps) in Medium graphic settings even though he still uses a GeForce GTX 960 graphics card.
As I wrote earlier, the power of narrative is one of the hallmarks of any Obsidian games. You can still get this aspect at TOW. The lore building at TOW is almost perfect. Unfortunately, this game still can’t offer a world as complex as the Pillars of Eternity (PoE) series. Likewise about the story line. When compared to the PoE series (both 1 and 2), the storyline in TOW is more predictable – at least for me personally. Fortunately, the advantages of the story aspect in TOW are in its presentation which is more interesting than the PoE series earlier.
I think the pluses and minuses are because there are different genres between TOW and the PoE series. The PoE series has the cRPG genre which is not for everyone but, usually, is able to build a world that is so comprehensive through the many wall-of-text in the game. Meanwhile, TOW is more similar to the modern Fallout series or The Witcher (action RPG) which is more friendly to the mainstream because it presents stories through cut-scenes and dialogue between characters.
In terms of the characters, TOW is also very interesting. There is no perfect character here who is able to carry out all the Dasa Dharma Pramuka in every step of his life. Each Companion character (NPC who accompanies and joins your team) is able to give a unique impression to the players. A number of important characters also have different characteristics.
TOW also has several storylines depending on your choice. Unfortunately, because it was easy to guess and imagine, I was lazy to play the new campaign for the second time to try a different storyline. Again, if I compare it when I played Deadfire, I even finished the game more than 5 times just to try different storylines.
One thing is for sure, when compared to the PoE series, TOW is indeed inferior. But this aspect is actually very good and superior when compared to other games released recently. It’s just that, because this game is made by Obsidian, I have higher expectations.
Modern Fallout players know the name VATS which lets you stop time and target specific parts of the enemy (head, hands, body, tail, etc.). You can also find similar features here. You can use the power of slow motion to make the enemy move slowly so that you can more accurately target your opponent.
Your companions also have their respective active abilities which can be released by pressing a button. Unfortunately, there aren’t many active abilities your character has – only slow motion and dodge. Fortunately, your character can use a variety of weapons with quite a variety of mechanisms, even though they are much more limited than Borderlands 3. You can also use melee weapons that have several variations of attacks.
There is also a stealth mechanism here that you can use. Unfortunately, when compared to Skyrim or the Dishonored series, the stealth mechanism here is not satisfactory.
By the way, here, your equipment also has several passive effects that can change your playing style. Unfortunately, again, this is not done optimally. The reason is, the effects of the equipment here have very limited variations. More boring passive effects such as increasing stats (Lockpick +10, Dialog +5, or other stats). The number of variations of the build effects here is even less when compared to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
I don’t know, in my opinion, Obsidian has implemented too many gameplay ideas in TOW but the execution is half-hearted. For example, when compared to Borderlands 3 (BL3). BL3 does not have a stealth mechanism. However, it has a wide variety of effects from equipment (such as Cooldown Reduction, Accuracy, Handling, Fire rate, AoE radius, etc.) that even reach dozens of effects. Doom Eternal also doesn’t have a Companion system, build variations like RPGs, or Stealth mechanisms but this game is truly superior in its combat implementation.
If the gameplay aspect of TOW is not optimal, there is still another sad aspect of this game. The duration of the game is very short for the RPG genre. The duration I played this game after completing it was recorded on the EGS (Epic Game Store) was only 37 hours. Moreover, this game also doesn’t offer many activities like open world games like the Assassin’s Creed or GTA series. HowLongToBeat even recorded that the average game duration on TOW is only 25 hours with a Main Story duration of only 12 hours.
The actual play duration can be important or insignificant of a game. For example, Mad Max does offer a lot of open world activities like the Far Cry series, Just Cause, or others. But I myself am bored and have no desire to do everything. My record time playing Mad Max on Steam was only 41 hours. Honestly, maybe I’m not satisfied playing TOW but I’m running out of content to do – considering that I don’t want to run a new campaign because I can already imagine the story.
Besides, of the 3 aspects that I like about Obsidian, the modding aspect is not here. This is inversely proportional to PoE2: Deadfire. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at NexusMods. Outer Worlds only has 46 files, most of which are just ReShade templates. Whereas PoE2: Deadfire has 348 files with only 2 files in the ReShade & ENB category. Really, TOW is very sad in terms of game modding, considering that Deadfire is a game before TOW from Obsidian. Modding in Deadfire is even very easy to do. I also previously wrote the tutorial. Obsidian itself even provides modding documentation for Deadfire.
I know modding may not be a determining factor for most games but, for me personally, there are 3 subjective reasons why this is so important I discuss in this review of The Outer Worlds.
First, my expectations of Obsidian games are indeed friendly to the modding game community. Of the 7 games I mentioned at the beginning of this article, only Tyranny is not friendly to modding games. Even Stick of Truth has 90 files in Nexus Mods. I don’t know if this has something to do with it or not, but it’s important to know that Obsidian was acquired by Microsoft in 2018. The news came out in November 2018.
Meanwhile, Deadfire was released in May 2018 which means, in all likelihood, Obsidian was not acquired during the manufacturing process which began in 2016 and received total investment through its crowdfunding campaign in 2017. Again, I am also not sure whether the acquisition was the cause. Especially considering that Minecraft (Mojang) and State of Decay (Undead Labs), which are also under Microsoft, are quite friendly to the modding community. But one thing is for sure, the biggest difference (at least one that looks) from Obsidian when it made TOW and its previous games was the Microsoft acquisition.
Second, modding games make singleplayer games so they can be played for a very long time. As a comparison, I’ve played Deadfire for 517 hours (according to notes from Steam) while for TOW it’s only 37 hours as I wrote earlier. Even though this short playing duration is also influenced by the limited content and variety of storylines that are not as complex as Deadfire, I can imagine that I would have played this game much longer if access to modding was as easy as the modern Fallout series (except for Fallout 76 of course).
Third, as I said earlier, the reasons are very subjective; because I really like to experience the modding process and I can’t get it from TOW – which I usually get from Obsidian games. I really miss the modding moments I used to do when I played Deadfire, Fallout New Vegas, and Neverwinter Nights 2; and games that are not made by Obsidian such as Skyrim, The Witcher 3, GTA San Andreas, or others.
Finally, if you really don’t care about modding, TOW is definitely worth playing. Especially if you have no problem with the duration of play. The graphics and stories it offers really deserve thumbs up. The gameplay factor is also not exactly bad, although not special. Unfortunately, maybe because I also have a lot of memorable memories of playing and feeling the fun of modding Obsidian games, TOW feels unable to meet expectations.
TOW price at the time of writing is $ 44.99 on EGS. Is it worth buying? I myself don’t feel sorry for buying it because of its Obsidian which has often accompanied me and gave me various sweet memories – although a little sour with TOW. I hope that the next game from Obsidian can be more up to expectations. Plus, I hope that Bioware’s history won’t repeat itself with Obsidian.