Launched on April Fools Day from People Can Fly, Outriders is a third-person looter shooter that takes place on a planet called Enoch. Obviously, it’s a science-fiction game. A portion of humanity left Earth behind and went to this new planet. It’s a really cool setup for a looter shooter.
This review in progress will be as spoiler-free as I can write it. So be warned of minor spoilers, which will be clearly marked for convenience. Also be aware that my previous looter shooter experience is mostly Borderlands 3, which is a much different experience.
The gameplay of Outriders is similar to Gears of War in the way that it’s mostly cover-based. This comparison makes sense, don’t worry, People Can Fly developed Gears of War Judgement. The gore in the game is on a similar level as well. There’s just no gun with a chainsaw attached to it. Instead, some weapons “saw” through enemies.
One of the first things you do in Outriders is customize what your Outrider, the equivalent of a sci-fi ranger, looks like. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: There’s a pretty lengthy prologue cutscene that sets up what’s to come after some initial story about the landing on Enoch. SPOILERS OVER. After the prologue, you get to choose one of four classes. I chose Trickster because of the reasons I will provide later.
The four classes are Trickster, Technomancer, Pyromancer, and Devastator. They are all focused on different combat ranges. Trickster, my class, is a close-range class which is how I play a lot of shooters. I just charge in, especially when I probably shouldn’t. Technomancer is closest to the fantasy summoner class, it’s long-range but you spawn in helpful gadgets. Pyromancer is mid-range and is a conjurer of, FIRE! Devastator is also close-range like the Trickster, but it’s a tank instead of a hit-and-run class.
Outriders is an always-online game because it is a co-op drop-in/drop-out game. However, you can play solo as I do. I don’t do this completely because I dislike multiplayer, it’s also because my home internet is really slow. It’s a challenging game, but the good kind of challenge. Instead of a global difficulty setting that you choose in the beginning, it scales to a degree with something called a World Tier.
This World Tier works as the difficulty setting and starts at level one. However, you don’t change it whenever, each level needs to be unlocked by playing on the previous one. If one World Tier is too hard, just drop it down and it changes everything. Even though I play games frequently, I’ve needed to drop the World Tier a handful of times. It hurts to do, but it would hurt more to stop playing because it’s too hard. That said, if you die on the highest tier available to you, you lose some experience toward the next level. I got to tier 6 early on as can be seen in the first photo, I’m still on tier 6 but at player level 25.
As characters are built up, there are two main damage sources. They can be seen above the weapons on the left side of the above screenshot. Firepower is pretty self-explanatory since guns are present. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: The Anomaly power number is how much damage your anomaly powers and melee attacks use. You get special powers from a mysterious anomaly present on Enoch. SPOILERS OVER.
I have 43 hours in Outriders so far and I can’t tell how far into the story I am. It’s a fun and engaging time. My only issue is the story, it’s not a horrible story by any means, it’s just lacking some things in my opinion so far. There are notes that can be found and collected throughout the game. I believe I have found most of them so far, but I have read none of them. This could be why the story is lacking to me, or it could be other reasons. The gameplay is fantastic and outweighs the minor issues I have with the story.