Mixing Survival, RPG and Souls-like difficulty, Outward is definitely one for the hardcore gamers out there.
- Developer: Nine Dots
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Genre: Role-Playing Game
- Release Date: 26 March 2019
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
- Reviewed on: 20 May 2019
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Outward, to say the least, is a harcore role playing experience that does not want you to feel powerful even in the slightest.
In Outward you are an ordinary person, not a hero or some kind of God gifted adventurer destined to leave his mark on the world. Nope, just an ordinary person, and it will never hand you anything for free. I have never experienced a more punishing world than Aurai, every decision you make not only impacts the game but it is also final as the game overwrites your save every time you make a decision.
This is just one of the ways that Outward sets itself as a damn hard game, as every detail of what you do can be the difference between life and death. For example, let’s say you find yourself thinking about taking a few enemies to pound town, well first you need to sit down and craft the items you might need, then consider the best weapon to use and how much space you have in your backpack.
Loot is a tad up and down, sometimes you find an absolute motherload other times you won’t see a shred for your efforts, either way loot is essential to your survival. Make hard decisions on what you actually need and what you don’t, then after all of your deliberating you have to put your bag down, because if you don’t it hinders you in battle by weighing you down and in turn slowing you down even in terms of evading enemy attacks.
Even after all of this, sometimes it’s not worth the fight – yep that’s right, unlike any other RPG I have played, sometimes hiding or running the hell away are not only good options but necessary in Outward. (Don’t forget to pick your backpack up though as you are unlikely to survive without it.)
The two things I really struggled with the most were for one, when you do learn to use magic, you have to sacrifice valuable stamina to be able to have enough mana to use spells. Literally, the more mana you want the less stamina you have. Second to that, there is no map marker giving you any idea where on earth you are, you genuinely need to know how to use a map, and use the environment and landmarks to figure out where you are and where you are going.
Now if you thought that was all outward had to throw at you you’re mistaken, outward has set itself to be as true to survival and adventure as possible, and with that in mind you have to equip yourself not only for battle with the enemies of the land, but the environment itself. If it’s hammering down with snow you had better wrap up as otherwise you will get ill, and that in itself can be the end of your adventure. And here is the real kicker, when you die in outward, it’s not permanent but you will be stripped of everything you had and you’re going to have to go back to the place of your demise to get the equipment you fought so hard to get.
Outward really is in a realm all of its own, everything about it is guided to replayability and realism. The start of the game only gives you a small snippet of story that has you returning from a failed expedition, in an attempt to repay your debt. Straight away you get the chance to pay it off, in a time limited quest. If you succeed, happy days, you get to keep the lighthouse you call home, if not well say goodbye to your home.
The single biggest pro that outward has is that the whole game can be played co-op and not just online but split screen, and that on its own is something that is special nowadays.
Remember the days where you and a friend would meet up and spend a weekend playing side by side with doritos and cans of coke scattered everywhere? Outward is a good chance to experience that again, it really is Outwards best feature.
For a lot of people this will make Outward a worthwhile venture and I must admit despite the struggle to play through this vast and expansive world I ended up enjoying it because for the first time in a long time me and my partner had a game we could play together – no headset, one console, one screen, and I loved it.
On to some more general points, graphically Outward is winning no awards.
The graphics look very out of date, and general textures just don’t seem to have had enough effort put into them. When you create your character the first thing I noticed as I spawned in was that my head was a completely different colour to my body you can actually see where the head has just been popped on the body and hair is extremely pixelated.
It’s not just the character models that need a bit more work, I couldn’t count the amount of overlapping textures I found throughout Outward, nonetheless a varied colour palette and completely different feeling areas make up for a lot of the graphical shortcomings, as it still makes the world feel quite magical and charming.
Outward is no award winning triple A title and graphically can be disappointing, top that with extreme difficulty and I find it hard to recommend Outward.
If you want a challenge and a game with a lot of replayability, and subpar graphics don’t bother you so much, then Outward could prove to be a challenge and a worthwhile experience.
Over all I’d say Outward is guided to a specific niche of gamer and barring split screen it does not offer much to the general masses.