Polish studio People Can Fly became famous for their first game – Painkiller. It was a dark shooter for the extermination of a bunch of monsters like the then popular Serious Sam. Their next project was more unique: the dynamic action shooter Bulletstorm, where you could deal with enemies in different ways.
People Can Fly spent a lot of time in the shadow of Epic Games, helping make Gears of War, and this gameplay influenced the new project – Outriders. But the company clearly understood that doing now “the next Gears of War” would not be so interesting, so it tried to shove new fashionable things like superpowers and multi-colored clothes into the old game. What came of it – read our review.
Having depleted the resources of the Earth, the remnants of humanity flew to the habitable planet Enoch, but during the descent to the surface of the colonization modules, the pioneers faced sudden energy storms. Chaos, panic, everything goes awry, and after being wounded from an anomaly, the protagonist is put into a cryochamber.
After 30 years, you wake up in a world mired in wars, devastation and poverty. The anomaly gave you superpowers, and now you have to figure out what is going on here and how people managed to shit a new planet. The answers to the questions should be given by a mysterious signal outside the anomalous storm, which was detected during the first landing on the planet.
Sounds interesting, but most of the time you will just be doing kill-and-fetch missions – there are no complex plots in Outriders. The game periodically tries to squeeze out the drama, but it looks strange against the background of the protagonist’s blunt lines. As the game progresses, you will collect notes, and from them you can learn a little more history of the world, but they also do not focus on important details. Most likely, the ending and superficial answers to important questions will disappoint you.
The characters that will meet you on the way are also very flat and straightforward: they either do not say something, or shout, or whine, trying to immerse you in their problems, but this still does not reveal them much. The only cool and lively character is our friend and driver Yakub. His dialogues are human, and the story is more or less mundane. With all the disadvantages of plotting, you still want to know until the very last what kind of signal is there at the end, and the gameplay contributes well to this.
The levels are arenas connected by corridors. There is no open world or large territories here. You move from beginning to end, mowing down everything enemy in your path. The corridors have small branches for secondary tasks, which are only sometimes interesting. The game has scenic spots and beautiful effects, but most of the time the world is dull and monotonous. Of course, the rainforest will be different from the desert, but pretty quickly you stop looking around and looking for something unique. Although the design of the temples really turned out to be very stylish and mysterious.
The Outriders are most easily described as an accelerated and simplified Gears of War with abilities from Mass Effect Andromeda and loot from Destiny. You will rush through the levels like a hurricane, actively shoot from firearms and tear enemies to pieces. The health and armor replenishment system for the third of the four classes works on kills in medium and melee. That is, if you are in great pain, then you need to quickly kill the enemy in front of your nose. In the meantime, you will get to the enemy, your health will be reduced. Here is such a cycle, forcing you to constantly move, shoot and roll.
Guns, armor and perks are only important if you are going to seriously screw up the game and knock out the coolest loot after completing the story campaign. You choose one of the four classes after the prologue, and you cannot change it. The classes mainly differ in the way they replenish their health: for example, the first class is healed from killing enemies at any distance, and the fourth class – only from those who died next to it.
The abilities of the classes are made to make it easier for you to comply with the conditions of treatment, because there are no first-aid kits in the game, and regeneration outside of combat restores only a quarter of the entire bar of life. There is also a shield in the game, but it is constantly decreasing. To maintain it, there are perks on weapons or on armor. In short, if you are going to play in a serious way, then it will be very easy to understand all this, but even without deep immersion you will not suffer much.
Your character has a level, but the level of the world is responsible for the complexity of the enemies and the good that fell: the higher it is, the faster they will kill you, but the better the cannons will be. True, the difficulty in the story campaign is very uneven: you can safely go through one episode, and in the next zone the enemies will force you to lower the world level by five points down. After going a little forward, everything becomes easy again.
Leapfrog with the levels of the world is very tiring. You can pump not only the character, but also the equipment: weapons and armor have a very convenient and flexible pumping menu, which makes it easy to level up or change perks. Again, this is very easy to figure out.
After the plot
The game has a lot to do after completing the campaign if you like the loot and perk mechanics. Expeditions are separate corridor locations that need to be cleaned as quickly as possible. There are many enemies, the difficulty is high, but the loot drops decent. You can do it alone, but then you have to play at a low level, and this worsens the chance of getting good weapons and armor.
The most annoying thing is that microfreezes constantly occur in Outriders, which seem to depend on the load on the servers. For example, on Saturday afternoon microfreezes very much prevented me from shooting, and the enemies almost teleported, but on Monday morning – a stable and smooth picture without a single delay. Aiming, sharp maneuvers, shots – all this can suddenly interrupt for a second, in which you lose the right moment, get out of rhythm and take a bunch of damage from enemies. This is the biggest and most unpleasant disadvantage of the game, where fun and progress depend on the controls.
In all aspects, Outriders is a very average game: it has no deep storyline and characters, the usual graphics from 5 years ago, and very simple gameplay. But it is the perfect and simple shooting complete with the co-op that will not let you go if you start playing it. Outriders is suitable for players tired of overloaded mechanics who just want to have fun running around together and shoot silly enemies in large numbers. At the same time, you do not have to read guides and understand the meta in order to advance further. All you have to do in this game is run, shoot and collect loot.
I characterize this game as “having fun with friends after work and drinking beer.” Compared to Destiny, Division and Warframe, which over time have become loaded with a large number of different seasons and modes, Outriders stands out precisely with its simple and understandable mechanics, in which you need a minimum of immersion to take a break from the routine. It is a pity that the simplicity is also expressed in those aspects of the game that should have been worked out better. This is definitely not a failure, but Outriders is not a unique hit either. Do not expect anything incredible from her.
Outriders is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. The review is based on the PC version of the game.