Outriders is a game that represents the transition between generations of video games that we are about to experience. Confirmed for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the game from the Polish studio People Can Fly carries with it several of the elements that defined the current generation, from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One: it is a hybrid between shooting game and RPG, focusing on collection of equipment and character classes. It looks familiar, doesn't it?
But despite the well-known inspirations, the title published by Square Enix has some surprises. Four years in development for the four platforms mentioned above, in addition to the PC, Outriders is the result of a long process of transition to People Can Fly, which saw the departure of the creators of its most famous games after being acquired by Epic Games and passed most of the current generation working in Fortnite, before returning to independence.
Even with a different creative team, Outriders has reflections of the studio's DNA and brings a mix of Gears of War gameplay, with a third-person perspective, the coverage system and shooting mechanics, with the narrative structure of the games as a service (although the PCF makes a point of saying that the game does not fit into this genre).
Outriders will tell the story of an alternative future in which society depletes Earth's resources and is forced to emigrate to another habitable planet. A bloody war marks the departure of humanity from our planet, and the traumas are still alive when the colonists arrived at their new home, Enoch.
But everything goes wrong as soon as the Outriders, the team responsible for preparing the ground for the arrival of the colonizers, step on Enoch. A mysterious energy wave called Anomaly (anomaly) devastates the colonization team, but gives it mysterious powers.
Still, you are put into cryogenic sleep and wake up 30 years later, when the rest of the colonizers were forced to descend into Enoch's soil and chaos reigned between men and women again. In this desolate world, your mission is to hunt for the origin of the anomaly, in the hope of giving hope back to a species that preserves only remnants of the civilization that once was.
A stunning world
The first thing that caught my attention during the Outriders test, conducted at the invitation of Square Enix in the United States, is the beauty of the graphics. The fact that the game is produced for the current generation should attract attention to its technical part and the version we tested, not yet finalized, really impressed. The first hours of play, which show an Enoch before the anomaly, are dazzling: the light passing through the trees and the vegetation textures show an environment that begins to show the potential of the new devices.
However, we still cannot say how the game will behave on each platform. During the test, People Can Fly avoided going into details about PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (not least because the two machines do not have detailed technical specifications), and limited itself to saying that the PC used for the tests is equipped with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, top of the line among video cards on the market.
The level of detail and the size of the maps, coupled with the action, makes me have some doubts about how it will perform on current consoles, especially on the standard versions of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which already suffer to run some of the current games. But this is just speculation and we need to wait to see the performance of Outriders on these devices.
How it works
Much of the session – including the gameplay publicly released by Square Enix – takes place in the opening chapter of Outriders, which, according to People Can Fly, represents only a fraction of the environments that we will see in Enoch. Upon awakening from cryogenic sleep, his Outrider is launched amidst a scenario of war between groups that still preserve part of the colonizing spirit of those who left Earth, while others surrendered to madness and revolt.
Here the Destiny game structure begins to reveal itself, with a base on which you can buy items and chat with other characters. The dialogues are surprisingly long for a game of the genre, even with extra options that allow you to discover more about the world and the NPCs. The equipment system and even the menus are similar to the model popularized by Bungie in the current generation, with armor and weapons divided by rarity and power level.
The story's progression dynamics, divided between main and side missions, also tries to emulate that of games as a service, but with a catch: instead of a fixed base, you will take it with you throughout your journey through Enoch, for through a customizable truck (which, unfortunately, we won't be able to drive).
On the battlefield, Outriders best shows the results of their combination of family events. The first of them, directly transported from the times of Gears of War: Judgment, is the feeling of heaviness of the weapons and, mainly, the kick of the machine guns when it comes to lowering the finger on the trigger – something rare to see in the Destinys of life.
The second, and most important, is the use of your character's powers. Altered by the events of Anomaly, your character develops the ability to manipulate different types of elements. This translates into four classes of play, three of which were revealed during the test: Pyromancer, a medium-distance fire trigger; Trickster, union of time and light control with teleports and long-distance strikes; and Devastator, manipulator of the ground with melee blows.
I played with Trickster and Devastator, and it didn't take long for my character to become practically a God among the rank and file of Outriders missions, either disintegrating bodies with the Trickster light sword, or defeating six enemies at once with the wave. of land created with a Devastator punch.
Each class will have an extensive skill tree, divided into three different subclasses, but you will not need to follow one of the branches to the letter, which indicates a powerful arsenal available to the player at the most decisive moments of the adventure.
When we move to cooperative mode, in which up to three players can join the fight, the imbalance in your favor is huge. When it came time to test the cooperative mode, our group had so many powers at their disposal that it didn't even bother to use the little walls to hide.
But, for those interested in challenges, Outriders found a way to offer them with fifteen levels of difficulty, called World Tier, which interfere with enemy levels and the item delivery rate. The most interesting thing is that the levels can be adjusted automatically: if you defeat many opponents without dying, the level of difficulty of the game increases; if you die many times, the difficulty decreases.
At first glance, Outriders does not seem to offer any outstanding elements, but with control in hand, the experience appears to be competent and fun. In addition to the promise of an adventure that goes through several biomes and an RPG with the intention of delving deeper into dialogues than other loot shooting games, the People Can Fly game can win over players.