Much like my beloved Elder Scrolls series (The article regarding my love affair with Tamriel can be found here), players start off as a washed up nobody with a destiny to forge. Whilst I respect the nod to the fathers of the chosen genre and subject matter, this open world experience channels into just 3 routes to follow.
I have only played through just one of the three paths our wayward protagonist can follow, which took me roughly 20 hours by just sticking to the main plot. It’s safe to say that Outward does pack enough content that keeps players entertained and tries to stay away from ‘Super Market Sweep’ style quests. Although it must be said that a great portion of a players time with Outward will be spent travelling, which isn’t ideal but it’s not the end of the world.
Whilst side quests, crafting and other pastimes are along for the ride, I can’t help but wonder if Outward is a true open-world game? Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a linear plot and an experience strictly mapped to a said plot but Outward seems like a mixed bag of bolts in this regard.
One thing I must make clear is that Nine Dots are in no way trying to challenge the throne of the AAA IP’S of old, nor does that notion seem apparent. With a small development team and a modest price tag, Outward does give enough bang for its buck. Some of the in-game textures can be likened to a creation engine fan upscale alongside animations and meshes, but there is a beating heart in Outward that pushes players to drive on.C
CO-OP is a lovely inclusion for a game that by industry standards wouldn’t see the light of day. For me, it was great to have a friend tag along for the ride and not have to be part of a shared world (I am such an unsociable gamer, bar Smash Bros. and Pokémon of course). Although it must be said, this option is clearly in the original players’ favour, starting player two on nothing more than a shared inventory and a vanilla character spawn.
Whilst I can appreciate the end product of a 10 man team, the OST was clearly an afterthought. It’s quite annoying really given that when the soundtrack actually kicks in, it works well. I appreciate an appropriate approach to realism in gaming in terms of physics and life-like situations, but having a soundtrack seldom work whilst traversing doth butter no parsnips my beautiful readers.
Overall Score: 6.6/7
Outward is 100% a lovechild of like-minded fans of the craft but is plagued by a number of small inconsistencies that tarnish the overall experience. Whilst it’s content and modest offerings cannot be disputed, a few tweeks and improvements would have solidified a budget purchase any day of the week. Outward is a diamond in the rough that could do with a belt sanding rather than a polish.
Format: PlayStation 4 Pro (Reviewed), Xbox One and PC
Price: £34.99 (PlayStation Store)
Publisher: Deep Silver / Koch Media
Developer: Nine Dot Studios
PEGI Rating: 12+
Release Date: 26/03/2019
Review copy provided by publisher