Let's just say it—The Outer Worlds is a better Fallout. But, what exactly makes that so? More importantly, what are some of the things Bethesda gets wrong that Obsidian has seemingly perfected within their debut solo title? And, just how similar is The Outer Worlds to Fallout New Vegas? There's obviously a great deal to unpack here, and even more to analyze, so strap in for one wild ride through the dichotomy of two important video game franchises as we see what exactly separates the so-called newbie from its now exceedingly money-hungry competitor.
The Outer Worlds is what Fallout 76 wishes it could be.— Lisa 🙏🌧🌍 (@godblesstoto) October 26, 2019
Streamlined Character Creation
Fallout 3 is probably the best title among the Fallout franchise, besides of course New Vegas, which did have its shortcomings in the form of bugs and game freezes. One of the things that immediately separates The Outer Worlds from not only Fallout but many RPGs in the field is its extremely easy-to-use character creation. Maybe it was just me trying to get to gameplay as fast as possible, but even deciding what sort of character I could be in The Outer Worlds doesn't take all too long. It all comes down to what exactly you want your character to be good at; melee or rifles, pistols or medical experience? These things usually take up at least 30-45 minutes of the beginning in other titles, but in The Outer Worlds, it's much more streamlined while still offering deep customization options.
With no in-game romances to speak of, it's not like your character has to look good, either. In fact, the game's very nature stresses satire and over-the-top action. Just look at New Vegas—much in the same way, players can simply kill everyone and rampage through the world at no real cost to you but the degradation of your own morality. This wacky and zany introspective works well in bolstering the title, and immediately fits into the narrative, unlike Fallout. The perpetuated seriousness of each and every post-apocalyptic title, not merely in the aforementioned games, proves that maybe Obsidian did right by taking their franchise to the stars, rather than a desolate wasteland.
Branching Narratives With Varied Dialogue (Or None At All)
Though Fallout 4 did attempt at giving the narrative and dialogue a much more important role, The Outer Worlds excels at it. From the very outset of the game, players are immediately given a choice, one that can have an effect on your overall playthrough. Again, very much like New Vegas, there are easy workarounds (like a laser bolt to the face), but The Outer Worlds stresses companionship, faction dependence, and a strong world compass. This may not be the big sprawling open world of the wasteland, but word still travels fast, and your deeds (whether you like them or not) will have everlasting consequences throughout the game.
New Vegas's ending, wherein the entirety of your choices from start to finish is showcased in full, is similarly rendered for The Outer Worlds, but in a much better and interesting light. It's not easy, but it is heartwarming after learning how to get the most satisfying conclusion in the game. This is all in the service of constructing the narrative to fit the choices you as a player make, which more than Fallout fits into the very guise of BioShock. This gives The Outer Worlds a well-attuned message that can be read in a variety of ways. It's not simply "War never changes," or "Companies: Bad!" It's deep and profound, leaving a mark on you as you, the player, relive some of the many decisions you made throughout the game.
Lol The Outer Worlds is good pic.twitter.com/Shty210DMB— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 24, 2019
Stylized Gameplay Mechanics
The Outer Worlds does have some problems, such as the control scheme. It's as nitpicky as one can get, but I do think that, while initially cumbersome, the controls work in favor of the game's mechanics. Some may not understand the need for a dodge button, but it works to suit the needs of the game. Everything fits into what The Outer Worlds is trying to say: that no matter how hard one tries, you're never truly in control of your own fate. The varied feel of science weapons compared to pistols is proof alone the developers took a great amount of time in ensuring that everything fit nicely into what the game truly says about the real world.
Looking into the ways in which speedrunners have saved time in the game by being dumbasses, it's only fuel to the fire of The Outer Worlds and its satirical nature. It's not too dumb, like Rage 2, or boring after 4 long hours, like Borderlands 3. It's simultaneously hilarious and heartfelt. This is exactly what separates The Outer Worlds from not only Fallout, but Obsidian from Bethesda, and much of their game is infused with this very message of "sticking it to the man," so to speak. Not everything is about profits and greed. It should be, at the end of the day, fun beyond description.
A Complimentary Open World
In essence, The Outer Worlds is a beautiful mismatch of places to explore and people to meet. The faces you meet along the way are unforgettable and hilarious, while some of the many escapades are similarly delightful. There may be a few things that make no sense in the game, but at the end of the day, it's a wholehearted experience that brings some of the many fans of New Vegas back to a world ripe with hilarious characters and places unimaginable. This is Fallout in space, but rather than being drab and bland, it's got its very own personality, which very few games can emulate.