Outriders is a cooperative shooter developed by People Can Fly (Bulletstorm, Painkiller) that combines RPG elements with frenetic third-person confrontations.
It could be said that the Polish studio People Can Fly has been “sharpening its aim” until launching a game like Outriders. After working alongside Epic Games on Gears of War Judgment and Bulletstorm, he plunges into the void with his most ambitious development; a combination of “shooter” and role-playing game designed for multiplayer.
You have to be very brave to enter a battlefield – the “looter shooter” – where giants such as Destiny 2 Beyond the Light , from Bungie, The Division 2 (developed by Ubisoft Massive) or Anthem , have already fought . from Bioware. What does Outriders offer to gain a foothold in this genre?
The first thing that stands out is that, unlike the previous ones, it is not designed as a “game as a service” . All game content is on disc, and is not dependent on DLC, battle passes, or future expansions. In addition, it has no “raids” or competitive modes: Outriders revolves around the campaign, from 1 to 3 players.
The setting is another of its unique aspects. The PCF and Square-Enix game bombards us with information right out of the box. The story begins with a desperate escape; Earth has become uninhabitable, and humanity seeks refuge on other planets. Among all of them, Enoch is the one that offers the most possibilities for survival. And that’s where the Flores ship is heading with the first vanguard scouts: the Outriders, who have the mission of preparing the settlement.
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This represents nothing more than the tutorial for the game. Then the Anomaly is unleashed, an electrical storm that kills a large part of the settlers and leaves our character unconscious, which we generate with a simple editor (only in the visual aspects).
30 years later we woke up in an altered state. Our body has been transformed and is capable of manipulating the elements … and Enoch is a world ravaged by war and by the presence of mutants and factions. All technological elements have stopped working, and the planet has returned to a “primitive” state that depends on gunpowder and internal combustion engines.
Four kinds of Outriders
It is time to choose our class, among four types, and recover what is left of Enoch . The Pyromancer is a balanced Outrider, who has medium-range attacks and powers derived from fire. The Illusionist can alter the continuous space-time, surprise enemies and move across the battlefield at high speed.
The Destroyer becomes the “tank” and its main ability is to withstand enemy fire. This allows him to zoom in on his targets and execute melee attacks (or conjure the ground to strike from below) and lastly, the Technomancer is a class designed for long-range combat, like a sniper. His powers allow him to create turrets, as well as manipulate stage technology to support the rest of the team.
The four classes are well balanced, allowing us to wreak destruction in our wake. We can play alone, but they are designed to compensate each other in online multiplayer (with cross-play between different platforms and the possibility of joining our friends’ game at any time).
Finding partners is easier thanks to the inclusion of Outriders in Gamepass for Xbox One and Xbox Series X from day one. It is a way of ensuring that there will be a large community, and cross-play allows us to benefit from it regardless of the platform we play on.
Outriders combat system is out of the ordinary. The levels are designed as a coverage shooter, with semi-open scenarios riddled with obstacles. But the way of fighting has nothing to do with The Division, for example. If we bow our heads behind a barricade, the most normal thing is that the enemies will crush us with explosives – or with powers that go through the protection.
As in Doom (2016), an offensive style of play is encouraged : our life recovers with the damage we do, so the best way to stay alive is to attack without rest. And on the other hand, the powers recharge quite quickly, and we can alternate them almost without stopping (with L1, R1 and a combination of both).
Some of these powers cause altered states – such as enemies burning or temporarily frozen – that are enhanced if we later unleash, for example, an area attack. It is a very careful aspect that gives depth to the combat.
The result is a double-edged sword; On the one hand, we really like the frenetic pace of the encounters, and the use of special attacks fills the screen with effects and explosions, in a spectacular way. On the other hand, we have the feeling that firearms – we can carry three at the same time – are less effective, and their use is more accessory.
The “gunplay” of the different weapons is nevertheless careful, and has a good reflection of the recoil and great animations (for example, reloading the rifle while still facing). The use of manual aiming is encouraged to get headshots, which drain more energy from enemies (as in The Division, the harder ones have a “bullet sponge” effect).
And the combination of skills and shooting is a lot of fun, and there are few games that get such a frenetic feel during combat, especially against the numerous (and huge) bosses.
Aspects of RPG
One of the weak points of Outriders is in the way the RPG mechanics are implemented. Virtually all the elements one could hope for are in the game: leveling up through experience points, unlocking new powers through a skill tree – unique for each class – and skin changes by equipping new ones. armor pieces and better weapons. The problem? That everything is too generic and automated.
The “lore” (all the information related to the planet Enoch, its creatures and the plot) also remains in the background, and has opted for a conventional system in which we collect notes and add entries to an encyclopedia. That’s right, but it also seems like a missed opportunity to have enriched the Outriders storyline.
Fortunately, the main story is told through sequences and conversations, and it is quite interesting for a “shooter”.
What we also liked is the possibility of modifying the World Tier , that is, the difficulty of the map (which affects the level of the enemies and also the rewards obtained). It is a way to maintain a challenging game no matter how high our level is. We have played from difficult to master, and each confrontation has left us wanting more.
This RPG aspect is enriched with “crafting” (the possibility of modifying weapons and armor pieces with new abilities, levels and even increasing their rarity) and with the customization of our off-road vehicle. The latter does not affect the gameplay, but it works, especially in multiplayer, when we can compare the different vehicles that travel in a convoy.
Lights and shadows in technique
Outriders is an intergenerational game, and that prevents it from reaching higher in its technical aspects. The game looks great in 4K resolution and at 60 FPS, but the models and levels do not take advantage of the potential of the new consoles.
Although the design of scenarios and enemies complies, we have also found them lacking in personality. Enoch is a new planet, in which species and mutations coexist, and yet the art direction is difficult to differentiate, for example, from Destiny (even in the interface). It is true that it is more committed to organic elements in some objects, but it is not a great step.
Only in the first levels we already find a city at war, a snowy area, volcanic caves with rivers of lava, a laboratory, a sawmill … of course they are varied maps, but with excessive “familiarity” with respect to others. games of the genre.
We’ve played on PS5, and still the overall visuals are spotty. Solid scenarios, good effects and neat animations contrast with “empty” areas, some problems in detecting collisions and repeating enemies . In addition, we find ourselves with too many loading times -which are very short- when accessing different areas of the map.
Will we have to change TV to take advantage of PS5 and Xbox Series X?
We still do not know the price of the consoles, nor the final launch date, but the question is not only which next-generation console to buy, but whether we will have to buy a new TV to get the most out of it.
In terms of sound, a great dubbing into Spanish stands out on a soundtrack that most of the time goes unnoticed. And as for the use of the dualsense, the haptic vibration is well implemented, but the variable resistance triggers are not taken advantage of.
Banner of fun
I’ve had a great time with Outriders. The hours (and they are more than 20 if we only go to the main thing, leaving dozens of secondary and hunting orders along the way) have flown by exploring the planet Enoch , fighting against hordes of rebels and mutations, and improving the skills and my character’s equipment (I have played a Pyromancer and a Destroyer). You can see that the studio moves like a fish in water in the shooting genre, and its “gameplay” is impeccable.
The problem is that it follows a path that “giants” have already traveled and it is impossible not to see the traces of these other games in each element of Outriders. It is very common to find yourself in places that could have come out of Gears of War, weapon skins and pieces of equipment nailed to those of Destiny or situations of The Division. And it’s a shame, because a little more personality would have taken Outriders to A’s.
It may not surprise you, but we guarantee that the People Can Fly and Square-Enix game will entertain you like few others. Both solo and online co-op offers big doses of adrenaline and bulletproof fun.