Outriders can truly be something special. I took the demo of the role-playing sci-fi shooter for a two-hour test drive this past weekend and I was left extremely impressed. This is no easy feat because I had started to become indifferent to the shooting game that takes place on a planet other than Earth. But Outriders, even in its unfinished state, is working with all of the right components to possibly be one of the major gaming hits of 2021. As long as the April 1 release isn’t a technical disaster and the rest of the game maintains the fantastic quality that it has showed from the onset, then this game will be a winner. I can see why gamers are putting so many hours into what was supposed to be just a 3-hour preview of the upcoming title.
If you enjoy games such as Destiny 2, Warframe, The Outer Worlds, and the Mass Effect series, you definitely should download the demo and play the game for yourself. The Outriders demo does a commendable job in providing enough content for the user to sink his/her teeth into and get a true feel for the game. Props to the developers, People Can Fly, for putting out such a wonderful preview. After finishing the demo, I believe most gamers will know for certain whether they want to purchase the game or steer clear of it.
From a production standpoint, the Square Enix published Outriders is top-notch. There were moments where I could imagine the game being a science fiction film. The musical score contributes significantly to the overall package and makes the story become more alive. Another strength of Outriders is the voice acting. This made it easier to buy into the characters, including the main character the player controls. Also, the fact that the main character is voiced so well encouraged me to engage in conversations at length with the NPCs (non-playable characters) because I relished how the dialogue sounded. People Can Fly did a great job of producing a game that is a pleasure to look at, great to listen to, and a privilege to play.
Although you must be connected online, the gameplay of Outriders was mostly smooth with only two to three hiccups during my two-hour stint with the PC version. The controls were very fluid and highly responsive. Weapons and abilities felt fantastic to use, reminding me of Destiny 2 in a good way. This game allows you to truly annihilate your enemies, which in the way that violence and gore are introduced within the story, makes perfect sense. I felt I had complete control over the movements and actions of the main character during exploration segments and in the battle sequences. For a game like Outriders, solid controls are a vital aspect that I’m relieved wasn’t overlooked.
Speaking of the online requirement, that is the only flaw I’ve found with Outriders at this point. This game is definitely one I would buy in a heartbeat in terms of its story, gameplay, and content. But, after what I went through with Destiny 2, I am hesitant to buy a game for full price that is always required to be online. At that point, I don’t feel like I own the very game that I paid for. I understand that this provides the developer greater control over the game’s content and minimizes cheating. But what happens if there is an internet outage or the decision is made to shut down online operations for Outriders? The buyer is now left with nothing. This is the risk gamers take when investing in these types of games.
I appreciate that People Can Buy is looking to distinguish Outriders from being a live service game. The April 1 launch will include a complete game for players to enjoy without microtransactions. Unfortunately, the lack of an offline option to play the game’s campaign will inevitably have gamers comparing Outriders to other live service games. This is due to the fact that, like live service games, terminating online support means the end of the game. The game disk and game files would then become obsolete. For under $20, I’m willing to accept that reality for a game I enjoy, such as The Division II. Yet I’m not willing to do the same for a $60 game.
The Outriders demo is available on PC (Steam, Epic Games Store), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 4/5, and Google Stadia. Check it out and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below. What I played was very polished and a delight to experience. But I will be waiting for a significant price drop if the game remains online-only.