Outward Review

Wow, it is really dark out here...

Posted by B1ueSeptember   18th May 2019

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Outward

Xbox One

Anyone reading this has probably played an RPG at some point in his or her life. If so, then you know the feeling at the beginning; you’re going around wearing a hood made out of a sack, trying to kill giant bugs with a broom, wondering where you are. Then you open a chest and find a rusty pistol or knife, a few bullets, and a sauce pan that doubles as a helmet – not much, but you feel so satisfied because it’s better than what you had, and you think “I’m doing it!” Well, Outward takes that great, fleeting feeling and makes it last for the whole story.



Outward is an open-world survival RPG developed by Nine Dots Studio and published by Deep Silver. You’ll learn very quickly (if you take the strongly recommended tutorial) that Outward differs from other RPGs in several important ways, many of which emulate real life. There are no levels; only with learnable skills, improving equipment, and the player’s ability and resourcefulness can victory be obtained in Outward. This is true in every aspect of the game, whether exploring, crafting, or fighting.



Exploration is the big selling point of Outward. The game world, Aurai, is divided into four large regions, each with a faction (except the first area) you may join, sidequests to do, and dungeons to crawl. There are no mounts, no vehicles, and no fast travel. You must walk everywhere you go. As you travel, your character grows tired, hungry, and thirsty. You can also catch diseases and harmful conditions from the environment. Even the weather can hurt you as becoming too hot or too cold can cause adverse effects. All of these conditions apply debuffs to your character, making combat and travel more difficult and, in extreme cases, putting you down for the count. Thankfully, all of these conditions can be combatted by gathering and/or crafting clean water, food, and curatives, as well as sleeping in a tent. The challenge of survival is very difficult and frustrating at first, but once you learn to manage all the difficult aspects, it becomes enjoyable.



The other big activity in Outward is combat. Having no levels, the game is heavily balanced on equipment and the player’s personal style and skill. As a result, there are few, if any, enemies you cannot learn to defeat even at the earliest stages. Higher-level equipment and skills certainly make it easier, but they are not required to win battles. On the flip side, even the most basic enemies remain dangerous late into the game, especially in numbers. It’s somewhat humbling to strut out of a big dungeon after defeating its boss and acquiring a great deal of loot only to get your over-encumbered butt handed to you on a platter by three lowly bandits; don’t get cocky.



In terms of how to fight, the classic trio is available: stealth, physical combat, and magic. The game features many weapons, armors, spells, poisons, and traps to use against your enemies. You’ll have to experiment with all these things to see how they work together then decide what best suits your style of play. No matter how you fight, one nice aspect of the game is that you can’t die. If an enemy takes you down, you will wake up somewhere else, which can be anywhere from a hyena’s den or in the tent of a friendly traveler who found you unconscious and wounded. You can make mistakes and not get a game over. At the same time, the game auto-saves almost continually, so you can’t reload and try things again. Like real life, there’s no rewind. You just deal with what you have and go on.



All in all, Outward is an unusual mixing of genres, bringing together harsh survival, open-world exploration, and combat. I suppose you could say that Outward is a bit like alcohol – not for everyone, an acquired taste, or downright addictive. I’d recommend it to most anyone. If you do decide to give it a try, here’s a tip: find the Mefino’s Trader Backpack as soon as you can; it helps a ton.

Score: 8 out of 10

Release Date: March 26, 2019
Developer: Nine Dot Studio
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform: Xbox One
Price: $39.99

Written by Vulcan1770

    Administrator Stealth David 18 May 2019 05:11 pm

    Nice one

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