Our Rating: 9/10
Outriders begins with an Earth that has become inhospitable, forcing the last human beings to flee to an unknown planet called Enoch. Unfortunately, the first contact with this new star results in an anomaly that wipes out the first settlers.
One of the last agents of the ECA (Enoch Colonization Authority), forced to return to cryostasis to escape this energy storm, awakens 30 years later, but not without noticing several major changes.
The Outrider discovers his new powers, skills that could allow him to lift the veil on the mysteries surrounding the anomaly as well as the exoplanet, as the paradise promised on Enoch turns out to be nothing more than a hostile environment perpetually at war.
People Can Fly does not stand out because of its ultimately anecdotal story and summary staging, which revolves around simple cutscenes. The latter is content to punctuate the missions and, above all, to serve as a binder throughout the main story, which takes about fifteen hours to complete.
Nonetheless, the quality of Outriders’ universe is somewhat commendable. If the situation isn’t extraordinary, the context in which it develops is worth mentioning.
It’s often more interesting to learn about the planet Enoch’s past and the three decades leading up to the current situation than it is to embark on an adventure that could be described as a road trip punk on steroids.
An unstable exoplanet
You can distinguish the planet Enoch by the diversity of its environments and biomes. Each new zone reveals a new surprise with the extent of its vegetation and human structures (or lack thereof) that mar the landscape.
Wandering through the deserts, forests, swamps, and mountains that make this star an invitation to contemplation is a pleasant way to pass the time between two clashes.
People Can Fly’s artists took influences from a variety of works to create this exoplanet. Incorporating elements from Mad Max, The Lord of the Rings, Destiny, and other works to create an aesthetic unique to Outriders. As a result, we have a fascinating and alluring fantasy punk sci-fi universe.
New Generation Consoles
Outriders honor the power of the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and PCs (depending on their configurations) without ever claiming the title of NextGen visual slap. It does so by displaying vast playing fields that are all too often empty, save for enemy forces. Square Enix’s title stands out for visual effects, having been developed with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
The latter, in turn, turns the emerging powers of agents and belligerents into a real “sound and light” show at 60 frames per second in dynamic 4K, except for Xbox Series S, which has a fluctuating resolution up to 1440p.
Nonetheless, the game’s early versions were known to be unstable, which is to be contemplated. The Outriders’ adventure on the planet Enoch is marred by several technical issues, most of which are related to servers.
The error CE-34878-0 (on the PlayStation system) is the cause of several crashes. It quickly escalates from a completely connected experience to a major issue. It is also common to have to restart the game due to a connection failure, which is mandatory and occurs for unknown reasons.
Agents of Chaos
We’ve grown accustomed to nervous jousting from the People Can Fly studios in the past. Outriders is the heir to this explosive vision of gunfights. On Enoch, even the tiniest skirmish is aggressive. Forcing ECA agents to use their skills to stay alive.
Outriders take the risk of combining the ancient self-regenerating healing system with the supernatural abilities of avatars. Set enemies on fire, shoot them down from a distance, and so on. Your selected class determines the method for recovering life points. This alters the traditional TPS approach in significant ways (Third Person Shooter).
The game purposefully ignores the concept of “cover” to fully express the Outriders’ power. The feeling of having arms in hand only adds to the sense of power and urgency that emerges from the clashes. During fights, outriders must maintain constant mobility or dandelions will eat them by the root. On this hostile planet, where all conscious creatures will try to eliminate you, standing still is synonymous with death.
We were entitled to expect a diverse bestiary containing dozens, if not hundreds, of pests of various types and capacities, but that is not the case. The enemies come in a wide range of appearances. With two or three exceptions, the forces at work are too often reduced to a few archetypes and variants. It feels like a lack of exoticism on such a mysterious planet.
In Enoch’s mind, artificial intelligence is also a source of disappointment. The number and statistics of enemies acting without a strategy compensate for this flaw in People Can Fly. As a result, people rush headlong into situations without planning ahead of time and sometimes act irrationally.
Thankfully, the boss fights, which are far too few, stand out for their ferocity. On a star that tends to recycle the creatures that inhabit it, these memorable game sequences stand out for their difficulty and uniqueness.
A Looter-Shooter goes hand in hand with an avatar’s continual rise in power as he or she gains experience, unlocks new skills, and discovers equipment with ever-impressive stats. Outriders isn’t an outlier in this regard.
The pleasure comes from the personalization of the ECA agent embodied. It gives all the opportunities offered by a system that flawlessly integrates the main mechanics of an RPG. This begins with the presence of four classes that define the approach to combat.
Be cautious; the decision you make at the start of the adventure is irreversible. Changing your archetype requires starting over.
These gameplay disparities, which have been present since the first minutes, become more pronounced as the game progresses. ECA agents gain access to a variety of powers (eight per class). Additionally, they also get passive skills that help them maintain control over events. Within the same class, you can forge your path by selecting skills, including weapons and equipment. All based on your corresponding style of play.
The end game
In this regard, People Can Fly offers more than the bare minimum. Outriders’ fun comes from the loot. It rewards players for exploring the planet Enoch, eliminating hostile forces, and completing mission objectives.
Every new release is associated with gains in any form that the studios can conjure up. Weapons and equipment can be changed to increase the power and effectiveness of the Outriders on the battlefield. All thanks to a rarity system that RPG fans are familiar with. There are a plethora of ways for agents to go beyond their mere human status, including crafting, purchasing, and reselling.
Indeed, Enoch is full of challenges. These are translated into play by a “World Level,” which gradually increases the difficulty of the game. As well as the rewards that come with it if you succeed. Completing the main storyline and side quests is only the beginning of this planet’s adventure. The Outriders’ true goal is to reach the End Game.
Outriders’ “old gen” versions don’t have to feel bad about being compared to their new-gen counterparts. The weight of years in terms of hardware can be felt in the framerate. As well as the loading times and display resolutions, which intrudes a little on the playing comfort without being crippling.
People Can Fly and Square Enix’s game retains all of the qualities and flaws of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series versions on PS4 and Xbox One, starting with a hard-hitting combat system, an addictive rise to power of the avatar, a mysterious planet Mysterious Enoch, but also a general instability that has resulted in several crashes.