Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

When you hear “looter shooter”, you immediately imagine a game that will constantly receive updates for a year or several years. It may not have an ending – it will be added in some raid. There is little quality loot in it – buy add-ons or wait for seasonal events. The gameplay mechanics in it are imperfect – everything will be fixed in the sequel for the full price. Well, microtransactions, where without them. But Outriders is not like that: it is a finished product, about the development plans of which nothing is known so far – maybe the game will remain that way. And in its current form, it causes much more positive emotions than negative ones.

Jack of all trades

Basically, the combat system leaves a vivid impression – what the whole game rests on and because of which it is difficult to break away from it. It combines the best ideas from other looter shooters (with a dash of familiar People Can Fly style from the creators of Bulletstorm), but it still feels very fresh. It doesn’t really matter which of the four classes you choose. It can be a technomancer who uses all sorts of devices in battle, a pyromancer who sets fire to the ground and enemies, a fast and agile trickster, or a destroyer whose name speaks for itself.

All classes have eight active abilities, most of which are unlocked quite early. Outriders are not forced to wait until the last moment and leave them until the most opportune moment. Skills are restored by the standards of looter shooters very quickly, but they do not seem less useful. My main class is a technomancer whose skills are related to poisoning and freezing, and one of the abilities summons a turret that freezes enemies. If in The Division the turret was restored after using for about a minute, then here it happens three times faster – the old one will not have time to disappear, as the new one is already ready.

Outriders: Overview

The turret freezes enemies even in the air.

Thanks to this, the game does not turn into a boring shootout with sponges. Having chosen your favorite skills, you start pressing L1 and R1 in a different order, quickly reacting to dangers and squeezing the maximum out of situations. If you want to slow down a wave of enemies, you throw a turret. You see that a crowd of monsters is running at you, from which it is difficult to escape – you use a gadget that instantly freezes all opponents in a small radius. You meet a dangerous opponent who has a lot of health – you activate a poison clip and poison him with machine gun fire. Each class has different capabilities, but the essence remains the same.

An extensive tree of pumping not only strengthens the main character, but also makes his skills more powerful. By getting new levels, you can reduce the cooldown of the ability or somehow improve it. In the case of the technomancer, the player is allowed to increase damage against enemies under the influence of freezing, or impose an additional negative effect when poisoned. And the best part is, at any time you can reset the tree and redistribute points in order to try something else, and this makes it much easier to find your ideal build.

And you don’t have to waste ammo.

Faster, higher, stronger

And this process is not limited to the choice of abilities and perks. Helmets, jackets, armbands, gloves, and boots worn by the character grant bonuses to attack power, melee damage, and ability power. In addition, high-quality items (blue, purple and gold – all according to the canons of the genre) have even more improvements for abilities that cannot be unlocked in the tree. These mods increase damage and apply additional effects to enemies when using skills, and much more. Weapons also have slots with modifications, but they are completely different.

Here, Outriders gives the player even more scope for character customization. As soon as you disassemble an item with one or another modification, it gets into the list of mods at the local “blacksmith”, and it can be applied to any item in the wardrobe. Do you want the bullets from the new assault rifle to inflict freezing or poisoning? Want your bullets to ricochet off wounded enemies and set their comrades on fire? Everything can be done with a couple of clicks, returning to the base.

Outriders: Overview

Big enemy size doesn’t always mean big power.

At first, of course, you don’t need to delve into all this – as in other looter shooters, at first you pay attention only to armor and damage indicators. And when you get blue things, your eyes already cling to bonus perks – you look at how they affect the gameplay, whether they are useful, and whether it is worth applying them to equipment when changing clothes or weapons. Well, the appearance of things is mostly pleasing – there are very stylish specimens here, with which it is even a pity to part. You can invest resources in them and level up, but it seems like a waste of materials.

Another important feature of the combat system is the lack of first-aid kits. Each class is healed by killing opponents – someone needs to destroy enemies in close combat, someone is healed by shooting, and someone must use a skill and only after that eliminate the target. Therefore, sitting behind shelters and shooting from time to time is simply unproductive: they will throw grenades, and the shelter may collapse. Outriders encourages aggression – since there is no magic button that restores health, you need to constantly be on the move.

Outriders: Overview

Purple things that drop from enemies are just as pleasing as in other looter shooters.

All of the above makes each shootout very fun and dynamic. Seemingly simple mechanics, some of which have long been implemented somewhere, are intertwined here almost perfectly. And there are enough types of weapons, and there are enough cool moments when you survive at the last moment, cured thanks to a successful murder. Combine this with the ability to experiment with many combinations of abilities, their upgrades and passive perks, and you get an addictive gameplay that makes Outriders seem like one of the most fun looter shooters of recent years.

Traveling is better with friends

But it is worth clarifying that much of this is true primarily for playing together. There is a selection of allies, and friends are easy to invite to the team. When opponents are distracted by one or the other, the rest have more freedom – they can attack more aggressively, combine abilities, run up with a shotgun and hit close.

In Outriders, you yourself determine and change the difficulty on the fly – you can gradually increase it, allowing you to customize everything in the game and get more and more high-quality loot, or you can reduce it. Alone, it will be difficult to constantly keep on the maximum difficulty, especially because of the snipers, who only need two shots to kill the player. Yes, and ammo will often be missed. In a joint game, we never had any difficulties with the growing complexity – it was always the right thing. So in the cooperative Outriders, one might say, is revealed and acquires new virtues.

Outriders: Overview

At some point, Outriders sends the player to a real war – with trenches and barbed wire.

The design of the locations matches the gameplay – with such a vast arsenal of opportunities, it’s fun to fight a bunch of enemies in the arenas, and almost all regions are made up of them. Someone will consider this approach archaic – there is no big open world here, invisible walls are found here and there.

What Outriders can really be blamed for is the lack of verticality in the cards. Occasionally there are places where snipers or ordinary attack aircraft sit behind shelters on dilapidated bridges or in turrets, but basically you don’t have to raise the sight high. However, during the game, I did not pay attention to it.

Ups and downs

But the technical roughness is annoying from time to time. Either you see extra cutscenes in front of the loading screens, or the plot cut-scenes abruptly end, or the navigator shows the target not where it actually is. If, according to the plot or for the sake of side quests, you want to return to another region, you must first find a flag, use it to go to the base, go to the right person there, ask him to organize a trip, and only then select the area on the map. In other looter shooters, I’m already used to fast teleportation through the menu, but here everything is far from being so modern.

The plot also lacks the stars from the sky – a classic story about people who escaped from Earth to another planet in search of a new home. There, as usual, everything goes awry: the main character is frozen for three decades, and at this time the war begins. But the protagonist gets superpowers and can fight back the aliens. The plot is unlikely to surprise, but it is interesting to watch it, including thanks to convincing characters. And in general, studying the details of the universe is entertaining, if reading notes in video games does not make you sleepy yet.

Outriders: Overview

Side quests should not be missed – among them there are sad and funny stories.

What is most impressive is the variety of locations. Throughout history, heroes travel the planet, visiting new areas in almost every third mission. Everything is here – from the jungle and snow-capped mountains to dark caves and hot deserts. There are also enough types of enemies, even if they are for the most part standard for such games: some are dressed in armor and helmets, others are hiding with sniper rifles, others are getting into close combat, and so on. But there are also original types, and they all alternate often.

The end game in Outriders is also available – this is a set of 15 expeditions with increasing difficulty separate from the “plot”. There are not only more enemies, but also other conditions for obtaining rewards – the faster you complete the task, the steeper the prizes. That is, in expeditions, you need to pay special attention to the build – choose the best equipment, invest resources in it to improve performance, install the best modifications. If the passage of the campaign alone can still bring pleasure, then the expeditions are clearly created for the team – it is both more fun and more loot.

Outriders: Overview

Some reptiles are very tenacious, but there are no unkillable ones among them, especially if you are in a team.

Please note that Outriders is not a game-service and it will not entertain endlessly, so the endgame can get boring pretty quickly. Thirty hours of fun from the main campaign is guaranteed, especially if you call your comrades (cross-play between consoles and PC is supported), and how much you want to sit on depends on different circumstances. It’s a pity that the first impressions were spoiled by unstable servers – the game requires a permanent connection to the Internet, and the developers were not ready for such popularity.

Outriders can be called one of the best cooperative entertainment in recent years. When playing alone, some of her charm is lost and some mechanics do not work to their fullest. Despite the rough edges, technical flaws and lack of significant innovation, other looter shooters have a lot to learn from Outriders – for example, a lot of freedom in character customization and equipment. Thanks to her and a good combat system, I already want to continue the banquet – I hope the game will be supported with add-ons.

Pros: fun combat system with different classes, unique abilities and a bunch of passive upgrades; great freedom in character customization and creating your ideal builds; visually diverse locations; enough types of enemies; an interesting universe in which a good story unfolds; in co-op, the game becomes many times better, allowing you to more actively use all the features of the “combat”.

Cons: playing alone may not be as interesting as in a group; technical imperfection makes you remember the games of many years ago; not everyone will like the endgame because of the need to complete tasks for speed; don’t play if the servers are down.

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