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The Outer Worlds Hands-On Preview

David Holmes Posted:
Previews The RPG Files 0

Shady characters were abundant as I walked deeper in, some openly staring at me and others winking my way. I got a good sense for the art style of The Outer Worlds as I transitioned from the bright lands of outside with oddly colored fauna and giant bugs that could spit venom at you or just tear you to pieces into the peaceful town of Fallbrook. It reminded me a bit of an old weatern and walking down the main street of the town looking at various stores as shady characters walked with guns in the open, while others simply seemed to be sleeping off their drunken haze form some binger they had done the night before.

After taking in the sight of Fallbrook, I immediately set about finding the boss of the town, Catherine Malin. Catherine was a blunt, scarred woman with a no nonsense attitude who had a job for me, if I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty. Local food production was not something that happened much in the area, but there was a Cystipig factory nearby that she wanted control of. Cystipigs were bio-engineered pigs that had cysts of boarst meat on them that could be cut and grown back at a fast rate allowing for the harvest and production of boarst meat which was according to locals good eating; as long as you didn’t mind where they came from. A man named Clive owned the place and he wasn’t intent on sharing with Catherine.   I was left to my own devices for getting in, I could sneak in with an ID provided or go in guns blazing or do a combination. My companions and I made our way to the factory making sure put down any banditry we found along the way.


Taking a look at the front gate, I realized it might be tough to get in that way. Thankfully, there was a side sewer entrance I could pick my way into.. This is what The Outer Worlds is about, player choice. It would have been easy for my companions and I to start blasting our way into the factory via the front gate, but that would've taken me down a pure combat style where I would be sounding off alarms and fighting each and every person that found their way towards me. Going the side sewer entrance meant being more sneaky and relying on my disguise to get me deep into the factory hoping everything worked out for a non violent solution. Both ways were completely viable, it was up to me how I wanted to play this. I decided to go the sneaky route. Thanks to some disguises we donned, we made our way through the compound without a care. Only there was one tiny problem: I failed to notice the time limit counting down how long our disguises would work for.. I found this out the hard way as I was exploring when suddenly there was shouting and guns blasting and I was forced to show the security guard the fiery end of my flame thrower. Nyoka and Parvati handled themselves well, the AI deciding to lay waste to anything that was attacking us which really helps the companion system be something you don’t have to micromanage. You can set up how you want the AI of your companions to act to things on each ones character page with weapon choice, putting them in an aggressive mode and also the type of distance they maintain from you. During combat you have a few options as well such as telling them to stop fighting, focus on one individual target and of course their abilities. Having a minimal interface during combat helps for a smooth flow as you fight.

Firefight over, I walked up set of stairs finding my way into a computer room. There I noticed a mic that was situated in the middle of the room that was used to broadcast messages throughout the factory. I grabbed at it, and using my lie skill I was able to persuade the human workers to leave the plant. That way I would have less people in my way in case anything else went wrong as I searched for the location of Clive’s office and because I was trying not to be a mass murderer with my character. These were innocent factory workers afterall. . Feeling rather good about getting the people to leave the factory, I snooped into a few computers to see if could gleam any extra information and I happened to spot a program called Pink Slip. Its an older term, but being given a pink slip usually means getting fired from your place of work. I thought this might be some command to shut down the robot security drones making things even easier for me. So I activated the program. It was at this point that the human workers started screaming and I heard gunfire in the factory. I looked through the window and saw the robots now laying waste to what remained of the human workers. It was at this point I realized I had made a mistake. I had wanted to let the workers leave peacefully and not be a mass murderer.

I went back to the computers amidst the sounds of the dying as I finally found and unlocked the elevator that would lead me to Clive. I made my way to said elevator and my destined meeting with the owner of this factory. I finally came face to disturbing face with Clive and once there was presented with several ways to end this quest. I could end his life, I could try talking to him about going into a partnership with Catherine or I could turn things around and kill her for him. Part way through my conversation with Clive Parvati turned to me and asked if he was looking at her and how completely creeped out she was by him. I agreed and decided instead of using my words, I would let my sword do my talking for me. Weird creepy guy dead, we made our way back to Catherine and collected our reward. 

This quest was fun to play out and showed off one of the core things behind The Outer Worlds  - player choices and the ability to play how you want. I could’ve easily went in guns blazing and kill everyone in the factory on my way to meet Clive. Even though I took the stealthy option because I personally didn’t want to hurt all these innocent workers, it ended up through some choices on my end with me killing almost everyone.Even at the very end of the quest I still had choices in regards to Clive. Sure I decided to just gut him on the spot, but I could’ve easily talked my way into him and Catherine working together - or if I had felt really crazy and wanted his offer of a lifetime supply of boarstwurst I could have gone after Catherine's head instead. While playing this I was reminded of what Charles Staples had told me, “Player choice and the freedom to play your character your way was very important to Obsidian from the beginning.” 

The time I spent in the Outer Worlds was over sooner than I would have liked. That small area of wondrous alien delight left me wanting more. The area itself was littered with your normal bandits types itching for a fight as well as the local giant bug populace that thought we humans would make great snacks. The companions were a treat and made me want to get to know them and the others better. The combat felt solid and with a mixture of the Tactical Time Dilation and companions made it its own unique beast. . The AI for your companions was great and was nice not to have to micro manage them. Overall, I was very impressed with what I got to play and am highly anticipating the full release of the game.

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David Holmes