Outward is the latest release from those lovely guys at Deep Silver games and on the back of the release of Metro: Exodus which had its mixed reviews across the board, is this up to scratch?
On the surface of things the game promises a lot, a new open-world RPG. That being said, it’s not one of those games that would easily appeal to many. I did struggle with it. One thing you do really need whilst playing the game is patience and a lot of it. It feels extremely slow as far as the storyline goes and gameplay.
One thing the game is missing is any form of fast travel. The main issue with that is the scale of the map is huge! If you need to travel from one side of the map to the other for a mission, prepare for a long journey. Pretty much every RPG I have ever played has a fast travel of some form implemented into it, but not here. You will spend hours trekking about the place in comparison to actually doing anything worthwhile.
As far as the graphics are concerned, its nothing special. I felt that I was playing a game on the PS3 most of the time, but in all honesty, graphics don’t always make a game. There is a hell of a lot of stuff to concentrate on within the game that it does take a while to get in to, so lets get in to some of that..
For once in a game, you aren’t playing the part of a hero, you are a villager who owes a lot of money in debt and thrust into the world of adventure to settle said debts. You will eventually become a capable warrior, but believe me, it can take hours, if not days to achieve. I found that a lot of the time I felt overwhelmed in the game not actually knowing what I was supposed to be doing or where exactly I was supposed to be heading. The game is meant to be challenging and it certainly is, perhaps even a little too much.
You need to concentrate on keeping yourself fed and watered, but to do this its not as simple as just killing an animal and eating its meat. You need to make sure that the meat is cooked properly or you can easily become ill from bad food. There is the weather to take into consideration as well; in cold climates it is all too easy to catch a cold if you are not wearing the correct clothing and then get a serious infection from a wound caused in battle. All of these things need to be addressed pretty quickly before you die.
There seems to be more focus on survival than actually exploring dungeons. Making sure that you keep an eye on your characters health, body temperature, stamina etc takes up so much time in the game that it does cause the entire game to drag out. You will probably spend more time searching for materials for cooking, crafting and first aid than doing anything else. To carry all of these items you will obviously need a backpack to store them all and strangely enough, even what you carry on your back plays a part in the game. If you choose to have a large backpack with plenty of storage space, it will slow you down in combat, to counter that you can have a smaller backpack which you wont be able to carry much in, but does speed up your combat. Everything you do within the game has an effect on something else.
Then we move on to the combat within the game. Its not easy! Even the simplest of fights can be a struggle to win. Preparation for battle is key. Rather than wade in, sword swinging it is a good idea to lay traps for your enemies to stumble in to and then go for the kill. This also cuts down the risk of getting a bad infection from wounds inflicted on you. It also makes the fighting easier, mainly due to the combat mechanics being far from great.
Loose a battle however and your character will respawn, but in a random place on the map normally nowhere near where you last were. Its frustrating at the best of times so you certainly want to make sure you plan your next battle well.
There is focus on playing the game with friends, it does make things a little easier than heading out into the world alone, finding someone who wants to play through hours and hours of a game together however is another matter. These games are normally best played alone, but the difficulty is crazy at times and you do need help from others. The game does offer a lot for your money, and the main game features three faction based storylines after you complete an early quest. You are free to venture out into the world an explore as you wish, or solely stick to your missions.
It’s not a game that will become a cult classic like Skyrim or ESO for instance. It does feel like the game wants to claim that title offering so much to do, but it is far from the mark. That being said, I did really enjoy the game once I had eventually got into it (after about 10 hours or so) but you really do need to put a lot of time and effort into it to start to feel any sort of reward.
For me, I could only go as far as giving the game a 6/10. The game does promise so much, but to actually achieve anything you need a lot of time on your hands and patience. The learning curve for even the basics within the game is a little too much to take in that I feel a lot of people will give in after a couple of hours rather than stick with it. There is potential there, but does need work.
**PLEASE NOTE.. AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a review copy by Koch Media. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**