The Outer Worlds reviews are rolling in after embargo lifted earlier today and developer Obsidian Entertainment appears to have a massive RPG hit on its hands, with almost universally positive responses from critics. The Outer Worlds had a lot of expectation placed on it early in development, as Obsidian Entertainment is well known for creating compelling open world experiences and hadn't revisited sci-fi critiques of apocalypse and capitalism since Fallout: New Vegas, a game that is still widely regarded as one of - if not the - best in the franchise.
The Outer Worlds has been unable to avoid comparisons to Fallout as a result, but it's easy to see why fans find it easier to contextualize the new game by comparing it to an industry stalwart. Both games have humorous and cynical interpretations of humanity as a core element of their thematics, while they also offer an incredible amount of choice to players, who can make their protagonist a hero or villain whenever they choose and flip-flop between the two if it's more convenient. The Outer Worlds made a name for itself later in its development cycle when it showcased how exciting its gameplay was, however, which appeared to be much more dynamic than Obsidian's past games have been. That, complemented by some incredible level design that appeared to offer consumers multiple routes through most major missions, made The Outer Worlds very distinctly its own offering.
Currently, The Outer Worlds is doing more than just setting itself apart from competitors - it's establishing itself as one of the best RPGs released over the last few years. The game currently has an 86 average on both OpenCritic and Metacritic, with almost every critic recommending the title to consumers on the fence about purchasing it. For a game that doesn't have an already established universe, a debut this strong - and featuring so much praise about its world, which is often the toughest element to build in a new IP - is an incredibly promising first day. Here's what some critics have had to say about The Outer Worlds review scores:
USGamer - 8/10 - Mike Williams
In an alternate reality where modern Fallout retained the the focus on choice and role-playing, The Outer Worlds would be the result. Obsidian Entertainment delivers this small window into that alternate reality, a game that prizes picking the right skills to tackle weird and wild situations. The Outer Worlds shines in the writing, but the combat doesn't equally rise to the occasion. Likewise, the planets you visit could use a few more quests or interesting spots to explore. The Outer Worlds is still a fun romp though, something that will hopefully build to something bigger in the future.
IGN - 8.5/10 - Dan Stapleton
With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian has found its own path in the space between Bethesda and BioWare, and it’s a great one. And considering that new RPGs from either of those influential developers are still years away, this game couldn’t have been timed any better. It’s not as explorable as one big open world but it still packs in a large portion of flexible quests and conflicts within its series of smaller ones. And the combat, character, and companion systems have enough new spins on existing ideas to make it feel like an homage with its own personality rather than a copy.
Gamespot - 9/10 - Edmond Tran
I finished The Outer Worlds wanting more, eager to jump back into the world to see extra things. It's not a short game, but it's one packed with such a steady stream of wonderful characters to meet, interesting places to explore, and meaningful, multi-layered quests to solve, that it didn't feel like there was any room to get tired of it. I wanted to rewind the clock and do everything in a completely different way. The Outer Worlds is consistently compelling throughout, and it's a superb example of how to promote traditional RPG sensibilities in a sharp, modern experience.
PC Gamer - 7.9/10 - Tom Senior
There's a category of games I think of as Saturday morning cartoon games. They lack depth, but they are fluffy and easy to enjoy. As I look back on some screenshots as Pippin laser blasts a poor marauder into a pile of dust, I realise that's what The Outer Worlds is to me. If you meet it on those terms, I think you'll enjoy it.
Kotaku - Recommended - Gita Jackson
The Outer Worlds is so impactful that it made me question and ultimately settle more thoughtfully into my beliefs. My game ended with what felt like a utopian, worker-led vision for Halcyon, and the game gives you the room to enact whatever your personal vision may be. It pushed me without feeling preachy and gave me some fun shootouts between the politicking. In the end, The Outer Worlds aligns itself with Hughes. The dream of paradise that Halcyon has deferred exploded. How you pick up those pieces is up to you, for better or worse.
Overall, it appears that Obsidian Entertainment has a smash hit on their hands, albeit one that might not have the depth fans have come to expect from the developer's other RPG titles. Even if The Outer Worlds never manages to dig as deep into its conceit as some critics might have wanted, though, the gameplay remains a major draw to the title and the story sounds as customizable as fans had hoped for when the title was first announced. While there are certainly some reviews that seem skeptical - being compared to a Saturday morning cartoon suggests, for instance, that it might not be a game with staying power long-term - it seems that The Outer Worlds could easily be the first in a brand new franchise of games that mimics the Fallout series in terms of its flexibility and charm.
The biggest takeaway from The Outer Worlds early reviews? It's a game that fans will want to check out for themselves to figure out just how much it resonates with them. It seems like a genuine game of the year contender to some, and if not that, at least a strong favorite for best RPG of the year - and either way, those kinds of accolades and recommendations make it well worth a look for most consumers.
The Outer Worlds releases on Friday, October 25, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.