When Obsidian Entertainment revealed The Outer Worlds at The Game Awards last year, the announcement caught the interests of gamers the world over, especially those who happened to be Fallout fans. Fallout: New Vegas is deemed one of the best in the series by franchise veterans, after all, and with Fallout 76 off to a rocky launch, The Outer Worlds was seen as something that fans could enjoy, returning us to Obsidian's take on action-RPGs, except this time in a whole new world of their own creation.
We recently got to play around two hours of the game in Munich, Germany, and as Fallout fans ourselves, we went in with high hopes. After putting the controller down, however, we can say this is very much its own thing, rather than anything approaching New Vegas 2. Sure, in terms of format some of the things that we also saw in the first reveal - like the framing of characters in dialogue and the dialogue system itself - are similar to Bethesda's RPG, but Obsidian is crafting an entirely new universe here, one that's rather expansive.
The first 45 minutes of this section allowed us to play through the game's opening, introducing us to the story. Phineas Welles, a rogue scientist on the run from the law who we've seen in the previous trailers, boards a ship full of frozen colonists meant to make their way to the Halcyon colony, but were left to orbit indefinitely after they didn't make it. You see, the cost of recovering them proved to be too high, and so they were left there by those on the colony. Welles boards the ship, unfreezes you, and sends you down to Halcyon's surface with the task of helping him to unfreeze the others, and this is how the game starts.
We won't say much more than that, but as you're unfrozen and freed, you get to create your character and customise them to your liking. Publisher Private Division asked us not to divulge any information about the visual personalisation element of the game, but with regards to RPG mechanics like skills and attributes, there's plenty to tweak and play around with, which will ultimately alter how proficient you are with certain play styles, weapons, and mechanics such as luck.
It took mere steps after landing on this planet to find a wounded NPC, and we got to test out the dialogue system. As expected we could be nice or hostile, and everything in between, and after we convinced him to give us his pistol we went off into the big wide world. Later on in the game, we got to experience more dialogue options such as lying, luck, and intimidation, so there are plenty of ways to play your character when it comes to fraternising with others.
After emerging from the cave where our wounded friend was sitting, we spied some Marauders, which are The Outer Worlds' version of bandits and raiders, i.e. random grunts who mooch about the place being a nuisance. We popped one in the head and learned that each enemy has a weak spot, and it's worth exploiting them for maximum damage. To help with this there's a limited gauge to activate slow-motion, letting you target enemies easier, and you don't need us to tell you it's incredibly satisfying to hit a fatal headshot or land a killing blow with a melee weapon in slow-motion.
Yes, there aren't just handguns in this game, and there's variety when it comes to your arsenal, including two-handed and one-handed melee weapons; rifles; shotguns; grenade launches; pulse hammers; and more. These can all be tweaked at workbenches, which lets you add various mods, and they'll need repairing as well since weapon degradation will cause you real problems when you're out on your adventures.