Cue an appropriate corporate jingle.
Alex Hawthorne, the principled captain of the Unreliable, who was most assuredly not dismembered in a horrific accident, believes in the stability of corporate leadership. Even if their employees are paid abhorrently low wages, have no job security whatsoever, have even less personal security, and are as likely to be eaten as they are to retire. But it’s better than the alternative. Living in the wilderness in a mostly competent self-sufficient society unshackled from the chains (and woes) of capitalism, only for an aspiring captain to arrive and destroy all that you’ve built.
Not exactly his finest moment.
But if you can’t dismantle capitalism you might as well embrace it. Martin Callahan can attest to the rewards afforded by a lifetime of corporate servitude, as he wearily advertises numerous Spacer’s Choice products while confined to his spherical prison. Not that he’d escape if he could.
Irreversibly altering the lives of the general populous is the ambition of any decent protagonist, though. Often without prior consultation with them. And usually while considering what’s best for you- or what yields the best rewards- rather than what’s best for them. The Outer Worlds does this particularly well, with the majority of decisions not necessarily resulting in a good or an evil outcome. There are (often significant) repercussions for your actions but they’re subtle. You’ll need to revisit locations, speak to NPCs, and consult your companions to fully appreciate your decisions. For those reasons, exploration is arguably the most enjoyable aspect of this adventure. Combing desolate ruins for abandoned equipment, exotic technology, or valuable information may help you to resolve quests in unexpected ways.
However, character development is not nearly as impressive, and what appears to be comprehensive at first, is fairly shallow upon closer inspection. Flaws should appeal to me, but I don’t feel that weakening my build (in certain circumstances) is worth an extra perk. Especially when the majority of perks are unexciting statistical adjustments. Skills (and skill tiers) aren’t incredibly exciting, either. But I’d rather have extra skill points instead of an extra perk. I had expected better from The Outer Worlds but they’re still functional mechanics, even if they’re not inspiring ones.
Companions are equally perplexing.
I’m not sure whether they gain any benefit for equipping weapons that best suit their abilities. Or whether their proficiencies are adjusted by wearing equipment with appropriate statistical bonuses. Or whether I should just favour defensive statistics and equip them all with heavy armour.
The Outer Worlds is a competent narrative-driven RPG if not a simplified one. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the experience is pleasant enough. Despite not having an abundance of planets to travel to, and revisiting those planets with new landing locations, exploring each new planet is delightful. I’ve scarcely enjoyed picking through desolate ruins as much as I have here. I just wish that the character development mechanics were as impressive. Especially when modifying and upgrading equipment, which becomes so absurdly expensive (even with Science) that it encourages you to replace your equipment. Thus nullifying the bonuses from tinkering it. But my criticisms shouldn’t dissuade anyone, as I’m certain that everyone can find something that they enjoy about it.
Have a nice week, all!