Before we get into the specifics of Outriders, I should state that I am not a huge fan of the looter shooter genre. Although I have enjoyed a few rounds of Destiny and The Division, these games have never fully immersed me for one simple reason: the game isn’t fun unless you have friends to play with. And looter shooter games are notorious for this. Outriders is a looter game that is a lot of fun when played alone and even more fun when played with friends, much to my surprise. The game has a nice mix of fighting, difficulty, and special abilities to keep things interesting.
The Legend of the Outriders
Bulletstorm, developed by People Can Fly, had a great tongue-in-cheek action flick plot, but that isn’t the case here. Although there are several humorous moments, Outriders is primarily a serious tale. The world is no longer habitable, and mankind is searching for a new home on the planet Enoch.
Things don’t go as planned, as one would imagine. Following a brief tutorial, you are placed in cryosleep for the next 31 years. Following your awakening, you discover that not only are humans battling for wealth, but that there is also a storm that turns certain citizens into the “Altered,” endowing them with unique abilities. Surprisingly, you’re one of the Altered, and you’ve been tasked with saving the day.
Although the overall tale is difficult to take seriously, the subplots and side missions piqued my interest. One mission requires you to investigate mine mishaps only to discover that an ally is abusing the mine for his own gain. There’s even a storyline in which you’re supposed to send a letter to a wounded old man’s daughter, only to find out she’s dead and tell the old man everything is fine. There’s also a side mission in which soldiers are disappearing and being drawn into a cult, and you must save the day. These subplots are intriguing, and they have the ability to inject some levity into a tale that is overly grim. Nonetheless, the storey of the Outriders is all about moving you from point A to point B while being pushed by a group of guys who take themselves too seriously. It will come across as cheeky at first, but it will grow on you.
Gameplay for Outriders
Outrider is a third-person cover shooter that allows you to quit cover every now and then. It’s a looter shooter that’s best played with a group of friends. You should, however, play the game by yourself. The Trickster, who can control time and space, the Pyromancer, who can manipulate fire, the Devastator, who unleashes seismic attacks like an earthquake, and the Technomancer, who uses devices like turrets, are the four classes available in the game. I’ve been using the Pyromancer class to play the game.
A player can equip three abilities on the DualSense controller at once, one for each shoulder button, with the third ability activated by pressing both shoulder buttons together. Although cover-based shooting is available, the game encourages you to run around the battlefield and use your abilities as much as possible. Your powers have a relatively short cooldown, and when you use them, you regain health. There aren’t any health packs in sight.
Each level is divided into sections in which you must fight a swarm of enemies, and each section has a strategic vantage point overlooking each cover room. The enemies that are thrown at you change as well. Some will charge you with melee weapons, others will approach you slowly with rifles, snipers, and a horde of assault rifle-wielding goons will flank you from all sides. It goes without saying that the action can get very frantic.
Because of the variety of enemies, you can’t remain hidden for long, which is part of the appeal and fun of Outriders. Shoot a few enemies, retreat to cover, flank an opponent, use some special powers, and transfer to the next cover spot; Gears of War feels like child’s play. This frantic action will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it’s even more enjoyable when played with friends online.