Putting your full first chapter out, unrestricted, and for free, is a big show of confidence in your game. The Outriders demo is just that, and I feel like I got a good sense of the game from it. I even ran through it twice with different classes to get a better feel for the overall gameplay differences. I find it to be a mixed bag though. There’s a lot I do like, but some things I don’t.
Outriders is a third person, cover based shooter. At it’s core, it’s a Sci Fi reskin of The Division 2 gameplay-wise with a few bonuses. You use cover to shield yourself while engaging with your guns and powers. The game is developed by People Can Fly and published by Square Enix. You can crossplay between PC and consoles, and that’s something I absolutely like to see. The MSRP is $59.99, and we’re going to CIRCLE BACK to this later.
In Outriders, you have the third-person shooter perspective, which is nice. Standard shooter gunplay is supplemented by your super-powers. Enemies aren’t too spongey once they take a few hits from your abilities, a bit less than Division. (I’ll probably reference The Division a lot since this game is pretty similar.) There are currently four classes, with more already being teased. There is a class spec tree that you can use to enhance your character as you level up, and a variety of powers to choose from to highly customize your playstyle within each class. Speaking of variety, there is a vast array of weapons you can find as well. The game is a looter shooter, so there’s a lot of re-running content to get an even better piece of equipment You can’t fault the game on available options, which it gets a solid thumbs up for.
Moving on to the things I didn’t like, the cutscenes are foremost in my mind. I used to think I wanted more cutscenes in games, and you probably did too. When you’re done playing the first chapter of Outriders though, you’re going to want less. There is a freaking cutscene for EVERY transition in the game, and I mean that literally. There was a cutscene where your character jumps across gap to start your mission area, and that’s literally just it. You jump and done. Cutscenes for every door opening too. It’s incredibly obnoxious. There are some cutscenes that are interesting and fun, but all the little transition scenes are a big annoyance. Also the story itself was pretty meh. Outriders bills itself as a “deep RPG systems” hybrid, but I think it fails in this regard. The story is very lightly tacked on, and I got no real sense I was part of an unfolding epic saga. If you don’t like story, you won’t care. If you’re here looking for a decent story, look elsewhere. Outriders is about 85% action, 15% story. And 5% of the story are those annoying cutscenes.
There was a lot to like in Outiders, mainly the challenge. I’m not sure if it was the number of AI, some insanely good flanking programming, or if it was the map design itself, but I really felt like it offered a solid challenge. There were always a ton of enemies, giving you this really super-hero feeling experience as you cleared them, even with a full group. The classes felt really fun too, all the abilities all seemed pretty useful. I played the Devastator (tank) and Pyromancer (mid-range DPS) and I thoroughly enjoyed both. I will say as far as visuals, the Pyromancer was unmatched by any other class. You really feel like you are bringing the pain, sending out waves of fire and just melting everything literally and figuratively. Speaking of visuals, they were all top notch. The effects, characters, and environments. I also liked the gore in the game, as morbid as it is to say. Enemies fly apart, burn to a crisp, or leave behind a red mist when they explode. I enjoyed the touch of realism as opposed to bodies just falling over and despawning as in most games. It did add to the experience for me.
Recommending Outriders is going to be difficult. Circling back to that price tag as promised, I think it’s just way too much. Again, this did not feel like a deep, or even moderately immersive RPG. This felt a lot like a heavy shooter with light RPG elements. I think it’s probably worth $30, maybe as much as $40 if the story gets a little more in-depth as you continue. For a looter shooter where you have to constantly repeat the same content, I don’t think it’s worth that full AAA price. I would probably pick this game up at a very low price. I actually do enjoy shooters with light RPG elements (Hello Ghost Recon Wildlands), but as it stands, I have The Division 2 already to play instead.