Outriders shows that most things are better in the team of good friends, from fantastically sloppy entertainment violence to shared frustration over bugs.
In Star Trek, at least in the good series, a picture is painted of an optimistic future where humanity has overcome many of its shortcomings and learned to cooperate across all borders. Well, you can forget about it, because in Outriders we are served a space vision where humanity is a bundle of miserable assholes – the whole pile. But it’s a pretty entertaining future nonetheless.
The story in People Can Fly’s new game is probably not the most original ever, but the script has a twinkle in its eye that makes me twitch. I may not take this dark vision of the future very seriously, but I do not think we are supposed to do that, either. We are offered much more seriousness than in the developer’s underrated and hysterical action comedy Bulletstorm, By all means. But there is a gap in the lines and in the narrative that prevents the whole thing from becoming a cumbersome, pretentious or depressing story.
In any case, it’s all about how humanity escapes the earth to another planet, which we hope will become a new paradise. Once there, a mysterious storm puts an end to all possible future plans and throws the colonizers into a long war, while your character lies in cryo-sleep for a number of years. Once you wake up, everything has gone as far as hell as it goes, but you discover that you have superhuman powers and decide to do something about it. Type. Because like everyone else, the main character is also something of a sarcastic asshole when he adds that page.
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What is it?
A fantastically violent lootershooter with a focus on co-op.
People Can Fly
Intel Core i5 7600k
16 GB RAM
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Action with class
However, it is not the story that is the thing Outriders. It’s the almost grotesquely sloppy sound when you get a perfect head shot, or the chaos when I stop time, shatter a number of enemies and see how bullets, blood and body parts fly in slow motion in all directions. As an action game, this is very satisfying, in all simplicity.
At first, it appears to be a fairly simple and dry Gears of War-clone with waist-high protection everywhere. And it is well, too. But after a while, a game emerges that is much more rewarding if you actually utilize the strengths of your class and build a character build that suits you. For example, a trickster (my favorite class, without a doubt) lets you create time bubbles and teleport behind enemies. In order to heal, you must kill enemies up close, so melee attacks and hailstorms are your main allies. To constantly have to play aggressively to regain health suits me.
The other classes offer their own opportunities. The Pyromaniac fires people, and regains health by killing burning enemies, while the other two classes are a sniper who can freeze enemies, as well as a tank that does not retreat to take a blow or two. Everyone has their own skill trees and abilities. It is a simple but surprisingly flexible system that also allows for replays with other classes.
In addition, there is the excellent mod system for weapons, where you can attach different abilities to the weapons. In the beginning, they are quite simple, and mostly give bonuses to different abilities. But the best ones are extremely useful, like a powerful mod that makes the enemies start hovering in the air for a few seconds when you shoot them, completely helpless.
As action games are considered Outriders really fun, quite simply. It is not very complicated, but it has a satisfying gameplay loop and plenty of opportunities for you to find a class and a build that suits your playing style. The environments are, of course, the most narrow corridors that lead to various battle arenas where the simple mission objectives are located (kill a villain or a monster, pick up a gadget or save someone, and return for a reward). It’s repetitive, of course, but it’s part of the genre. And Outriders more stripped-down layouts remind me a bit of old-fashioned cave crawlers in a way I like. No frills, just out into the world and fighting against everything and everyone you come across.
Where the game lacks is mainly in the lack of plaster. For me floats Outriders mostly perfectly okay, but I know people with much better rigs than mine had trouble getting it to flow properly. The servers are currently anything but stable, and I do not think I have managed to log in on the first try once so far. This is of course a problem for a game with co-op when people have difficulty logging in to the servers. It’s not as fun to play by yourself, so if your playmates do not manage to log in, it will be much sadder.
Worst of all, however, are the constant crashes. I’ve played through the majority of the game with a friend, and as I said, we’ve had a lot of fun. But both have also suffered an unacceptable number of crashes. In fact, I probably did not have a single game session without the game crashing in some way. Either right at startup, or at login, or when I end the game (as if it refuses to let one stop and just crashes itself on pin kiv). In the worst case, the game freezes completely, so you have to restart the entire computer.
I really like Outriders, despite its almost simple directness. Or rather, I probably like the game precisely because of it, honestly. But the awkward state the game is in at the moment also makes it at times deeply frustrating to play, when sometimes it just refuses to work. When everything goes as it should, however, it is a cavalcade of insane entertainment violence that is very easy to appreciate – at least if you play with friends.
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A straightforward, entertaining and insanely violent action game, when it works.