When Bethesda first announced Fallout: New Vegas, it seemed like a goodwill gesture towards the franchise’s oldest fans. Developed by Obsidian, which housed many of the talents that first developed the franchise, New Vegas presented an alternate take on Bethesda’s reimagined Fallout 3. It also surpassed the original in many’s eyes, a happening that Bethesda seemingly never forgot. After the release of Fallout 4 failed to recapture that magic, many assumed that another New Vegas was coming. Instead, Bethesda released Fallout 76 and taught the entire world about the global canvas shortage. However, even if it’s not officially Fallout, Obsidian is looking to release the next-gen New Vegas with The Outer Worlds. After seeing a good chunk of gameplay myself, I can’t help but think they’ll succeed.
The main difference between New Vegas and Outer Worlds is clear in the name. Taking place in a spacefaring future, you find yourself in the gritty underbelly. Out of time on a colonial world abandoned by its owners for greener pastures, you interject yourself into the goings on as only an Obsidian character can. Along the way, you’ll meet companions, hack terminals, and shoot your way to the top. Or, maybe you won’t. That’s the beauty of an open world RPG such as this. The choice is truly up to you.
What was most impressive about my Outer Worlds demo was how many options Obsidian includes for alternate playstyles. Take my preferred method, a silver-tongued opportunist who prefers to never fire a shot. In New Vegas, I could mostly play this way, but several stealthy situations devolved into a shootout out of necessity. In The Outer Worlds, a charisma character doesn’t necessarily have to be a stealth wizard thanks to a few technological wonders. The character in the demo donned holographic duds that automatically let him blend into any situation he chose. If someone does detect you, they don’t start blasting. Instead, they talk to you, as a security guard might do in real life. One clever turn of phrase later, you’re back in stealth accomplishing your mission.
As you’d expect, said turns of phrase have much better definition then they did in Fallout 4. In just my short demo, I saw an entire spectrum of speech checks represented. The system rewards everything from intelligence to bruiser brawn, which is so very exciting. In 2019, this style of dialogue really only comes along in top-down CRPGs, so to see it once again appear in a first-person world is enough to sell me on Outer Worlds on its own. Thankfully, there’s plenty more about Obsidian’s new game to get me excited.
For one, the character building intrigues me. While you do have the standard perks and the like, the system partially centers around Flaws. Characters who showcase particular difficulty in certain aspects of the game will have the chance to incorporate that into their character more permanently. This means that your character might have even more trouble taking on whatever ailed them, but they gain an extra perk to help them in another area. It only makes sense to balance your wanderer’s strengths and weaknesses, and I’ll be curious to see how many types of Flaws show up in the final game.
Also, Outer Worlds just looks great. We’re fast approaching a time where gaming graphics look great by default, but it’s still worth pointing out the technical prowess on display here. Finally unshackled from Bethesda’s aging tech, characters in The Outer Worlds emote wonderfully during conversations. Each location I saw had immense detail, enough that I wanted to sit through the demo a few more times just to take it all in.
The thought of digging into this fully realized new world is tantalizing. Few games captured my attention like the first-person Fallouts in the previous generation, and Obsidian’s new work seems like a return to form. Thankfully, October is relatively right around the corner, and I’ll be on the first rocket to The Outer Worlds.
TechRaptor previewed The Outer Worlds via a hands-off presentation behind closed doors at E3 2019
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