During the very first search on The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's highly anticipated first person role-playing game on October 25th, I was asked to make an apparently impossible choice. On one side was a community of outsiders who was disappointed with corporate control. Their outpost was something of a workers' paradise – they were well fed and largely happy and survived by relying on each other. I admired her leader Adelaide for the passion she had for her people. On the other side was the corporate city they had left, led by Reed Tobson, an idiot who didn't seem to notice that his workers' request to eat only canned fish (for protein!) Led to that Population of epidemics was infested. Regardless of how much I hated Tobson, he was right that the people who worked for him suffered from the workers who had left town to form their own community.
I still don't know if I did the right thing.
The choice I made would permanently destroy one of these two communities. I managed to find an interim option that dissolved the deserters outpost, but also allowed for far-reaching reforms in the city. I was satisfied with it for a short time, but when I got back to my ship I saw that I had received a few memorabilia from my adventure: a city sign. When I went to examine it, the description told me that I had taught deserters something important about their dream of a life without a company: never dreaming.
The universe in which the outer worlds are located is bleak. Halcyon is a company-owned colony consisting of two worker planets, a mining outpost on an asteroid, a ship called Groundbreaker, which serves as a waypoint for groups of workers walking back and forth, and a prison planet. Things are in dire straits as workers suffer low wages and long hours while the rich live in a gilded city without worrying about their plight. Several questions determine the game: How do you create the ideal company? And who is to blame for bringing him to his knees? What is the appropriate punishment for those responsible, if there is one at all? The outer worlds act in this way as a mirror; They answer these questions about the myriad of choices you can make in the game. Your moral position has visible consequences. You can also avoid all of these questions by simply shooting everyone you see with everything in sight. Over time, however, you will see how your selfishness affects the people around you.
They play a variable that companies have not considered in their quest for complete economic and social control. Scientist (and outlaw) Phineas Welles has freed you from 70 years of cryogenic sleep. You were a passenger on the colony ship The Hope, which is home to some of the greatest scientists, artists and philosophers the earth has to offer, but never made it to its destination after being excluded from its planned route. With their help, Welles believes Halcyon can recover, but you need to find the chemicals he needs to wake up the rest of the colonists who have been frozen for so long that they would otherwise experience what Welles calls "explosive cell death" . when defrosting. Your perspective as someone outside the colony will ultimately shape your future.
For players who are concerned about Obsidian's previous buggy release issues, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The game is not entirely flawless – my game had a hard time visiting the abandoned monster-infested city of Cascadia with texture pop-in and longer loading times, and for some reason it believed that one of my companions was dead for what it was makes it impossible to end their personal search (and give me a dead explanation that they didn't survive at the end of the game). None of these problems was groundbreaking for me and my playthrough didn't suffer. This is the obsidian game that people asked for: one with polish.
Being frozen for 70 years has several advantages: you get a "tactical time dilation" that allows you to slow down the time for the fight. By slowing down time, you can target certain parts of the body that temporarily weaken your enemies. If you shoot an enemy in the eye, they will be blinded, making the shots less accurate. You can also reposition yourself and peek out of cover with just enough time to defeat an enemy and run to the waist-high wall.
The weapons themselves are fun enough to use. Although I tried to dissuade myself from violence as much as possible, I was never afraid of violence when it occurred. You can find and buy various modifications to your weapons and armor that change the way they work, so almost any weapon and armor set will work for any style of play. If you like the hunting rifles but need something that turns off the auto mechanics (robots that often have weapons), you can add a mod that changes their type of damage to shock rather than physical. If you like certain heavy armor, but need to sneak past a few enemies, you can change that armor so that the sound of your steps is quieter.
The outer worlds mechanically meet the needs of the player at every turn. As you level up, you can unlock benefits for even more skills, such as: For example, the ability to carry more items, recharge your tactical time dilation faster, or gain some health with every kill. You can also accept bugs that allow you to unlock another benefit while giving your character a permanent debuff. Errors are unlocked due to your own weaknesses as a player. If you are sprayed with acid too often, you can assume a mistake that makes the acid so much harder. In the end, I didn't accept any mistakes and didn't want to suffer any further from the way I am inadequate as a player, although I can see how this system causes other players to change their strategies to get the one benefit, whom you were hoping for.
These shootouts are fun and can be satisfyingly tricky at times, but it is difficult to bypass the elephant in the room when it comes to playing obsidian games. Yes, The Outer Worlds is mechanically similar to the Fallout series. It was created by the same team that worked on the first two Fallout games as well as Fallout: New Vegas. It is based on the skeleton of Dungeons and Dragons, with the player awarding points in perception and intelligence in character creation and ascent. You need to review these stats to unlock dialog options that allow you to complete quests in different ways. This is not unlike what Fallout owned by Bethesda has become, though I will say that I didn't feel as motivated to quit Fallout 3 or 4 as I felt to quit The Outer Worlds. The writing focuses on getting the player to face his class struggle, the universe built with that goal in mind. As a bonus, it's pretty fun too. At the start of the game, I laughed when a security guard told me they were dealing with looters, and worse, park violators.
You and your companions will eventually uncover some dark truths about Halcyon. From there, you can reshape it to match your vision of humanity's potential. For some, this will be a reflection of what their policies are already. As a socialist, I knew that what I ended up doing would serve a colony where workers' rights came first. Others who are more sympathetic to corporatism and capitalism will also have ways to implement their visions. If you think it's right, you can even stand up to the scientist who is thawing you, Welles. The Outer Worlds will challenge you to make difficult decisions to find a better way of life. They offer viewpoints that run counter to your own in a way that always felt fair and convincing. At the end of the game, I felt that I understood my own policy better.
The key to making this feeling naturalistic is to challenge the player to really commit to his ideals. When I first met the iconoclasts, a faction of socialists who were devoted to their cause with cult zeal, their community starved to death under a leader who spent much more time with empty rhetoric than with practice. (In a phrase that made me laugh, he's also a former journalist.) You can say for sure that the iconoclast leader is a pretty bad person, but on the other hand, the workers under the control of the companies don't have any Bathroom breaks or weekends. If you play your cards right, you will likely find a way to stay true to yourself without leaving people in power who do not serve their communities. But to get this far, you have to actively take care of it, and the game offers enough deep character writing to give you the opportunity to take care of what happens to the people of Halcyon.
Your companions act as guides to the many different areas of life that make up Halcyon. Her personal quest lines reveal as much about these characters as the world itself. Parvati is so used to not belonging that she doesn't know how to handle it when she meets someone she is romantically interested in. Your quest is both an investigation of what it's like to be a square pencil that doesn't fit into a round hole, and a touching strange love story. Like other followers of his faith, Vicar Max searches for peace in a kind of great design to make an unsafe world meaningful. He is also, as the children would say, dad. One of my favorites, Felix, is an orphan who escapes Groundbreaker after starting a sport fight with his foreman. He's not well read, but his beliefs are strong – he doesn't have to study theory to know that workers are being exploited. Your companions will respond strongly to the main tasks of history and the choices you make in them. In fact, it was Parvati's reactions to this first search that led me to the decisions I ultimately made.
Regardless of your policy, you won't end The Outer Worlds without dealing directly with work issues. I am a union representative for Kotaku, and sometimes playing this game reminded me of the things we talked about in our meetings: how do we meet workers' needs, how do we appease the bosses? As someone who has not been contracted by a company, quest givers call you a "freelancer", which amused me. In a search, I even negotiated between striking workers and their boss. The focus of the work is in Halcyon. The problems that destroy the colony are directly related to the division of wealth between bosses and workers. Halcyon fully feels – on the fringes of your understanding of its history is the implication that almost a century of life has unfolded in this colony.
As my time in Halcyon continued, I finally analyzed what the game in the Langston Hughes poem "Harlem" should think about. What happens to a delayed dream in space? During the game you will see the result of dreams that are solid, dry and crusty. Once I had this idea in my head, it was hard not to notice the limits of such a laser-focused pursuit of questioning the class struggle.
Halcyon, who was referred to as a colony, sometimes made me sit up and down, although there are conveniently no sentient races that have driven the colonizers away. In the outer worlds, all social problems are filtered through the class. Sexism and racism don't make sense, although race does. Many of the people you meet in different classes are black and brown. Race and gender remain largely unconfirmed from the game's core narrative to the ironic riffs on PR buzzwords, which was frustrating in a game so deeply embedded in the dynamics of power. In our world, class and race are inextricably linked, and a world in which questions of class are more eternal than questions of race seems to me dishonest. I trust Obsidian addresses these issues with the same grace as class questions, so I wish they had gone there.
The Outer Worlds are so effective that I questioned myself and ultimately dealt with my beliefs more thoughtfully. My game ended with a utopian, worker-led vision for Halcyon, and the game gives you the space to implement your personal vision. It pushed me without feeling preaching and gave me some funny shootouts between politicians. In the end, The Outer Worlds Hughes joins. The dream of paradise that Halcyon postponed exploded. How you pick up these pieces is up to you, for better or for worse.