Outriders is a shooter with heavily RPG elements from People Can Fly. Square Enix recently invited Prima Games to enjoy a few hours of gaming goodness with the studio's upcoming game and honestly, we were blown away. While what was shown was not the final product of the game, the experience reminded us why we fell in love with Bulletstorm while still being something entirely new in itself. Ready to see what we thought? Here are our Outriders hands-on impressions!
Outriders is a 1-3 player co-op RPG shooter that is dark and incredibly macabre in some areas while still maintaining moments of normalcy and even levity comparable to that of the Bulletstorm series. This is a game that has a straight-shooter narrative while also allowing players a chance to score better loot through many, many side quests available. That freedom takes players through numerous locales rife with dangerous enemies and uncovering the truth about the anomaly that has changed these characters forever.
Right out of the gate we were able to customize our characters, which I am a massive sucker for. Being able to make my Outrider look as badass as she actually is was very important and I noticed I wasn't the only one spending a little too much time on that feature. While there aren't thousands of options to choose from, there are awesome ways to tailor the look of three main characters, including one woman, to represent what the player wants to reflect. After she was scarred and spiffed up, it was time to ride and hopefully not die.
As far as classes, there are actually four unique classes to choose from despite the co-op cap being set at three players. For those curious as to what we do know, here are the various classes according to People Can Fly:
- The Trickster is the hit and run damage dealer of Outriders. They do their best work in close combat and are equipped with powers that allow for unrivalled mobility on the battlefield as they flank enemies. The Trickster bends the laws of space and time with their abilities. They can slow down time, a power that’s great both defensively and offensively, and can teleport around the battlefield. Up close, they wreak havoc with their Temporal Slice, a wide arcing melee attack that turns unfortunate foes to skeletons.
- The Devastator is the backbone of any group of Outriders. Strong and tough, they control gravity and use the power of earth to crush their enemies. A close combat specialist that wades into damage; their powers allow them to leap into the fight, cover themselves in rock-like skin, and send their enemies flying with powerful ground pounds.
- The Pyromancer is a medium-range Area of Effect specialist. Wielding the power of fire, they cover the battlefield with their blazing fury. The Thermal Bomb turns any enemy within range into a walking bomb that explodes when that enemy dies. Their firewalls tear across the battlefield and flushes enemies out from cover. Pyromancers may not be as durable as Devastators or as mobile as Tricksters, but their explosive arsenal makes them a threat in any situation.
- This class controls technology and can manifest weapons of destruction from thin air. It’s a flexible class that can be built as a crowd control support character, damage over time monster, heavy ordinance blaster or a mix of everything. This is the only class in Outriders that can heal teammates with its powers.
I chose Pyromancer the first time I got to play this game earlier this year because ... I mean, duh, but the latest hands-on time gave me a chance to check out the Technomancer. When given the option to hurl literal waves of fire at enemies, you take that option without looking back, though I am curious as to what the mysterious fourth class is. Regardless of the unsolved mystery, the Pyromancer was incredibly fun to play as, though basic in its humble beginnings. With only one skill to start with, a rush of flame towards an enemy, the skill tree branching off into a more powerful skillset proved immersive and powerful. It's also completely tailorable, which means stacking attacks against a foe or a boss is pretty easy to do and allows for players to find their perfect playstyle.
The Technomancer felt very different from the Pyromancer, instead offering more control over the battlefield and a lot more dexterity. Since this time around we were preloaded into the game at level 30, the weapons and higher-level gear was already equipped and my character's skill tree was already ready to rock and roll (or electrocute and sunder). Personally, I enjoyed Pyro much more just because fire is pretty and it felt massively OP, but Techno was beyond enjoyable, especially for those that approach combat much more tactically.
One thing that absolutely stuck out immediately was how immersive the story is. While the studio did let us know before playing the game that Outriders had very heavy RPG aspects, I wasn't expecting it to be so prevalent. The game first opens up with a cutscene showing off our characters arriving on a new planet called Enoch brimming with promise and reprieve from war and the need to survive. It quickly falls into chaos, however, which is felt through not only the action-packed moments, but the intimate character interactions before everything went to hell. One of these character interactions from before and after The Event makes an even more startling realization of just how badly the world has been shaken to its core.
Outriders is a looter shooter but it's great for those like me that like both RPGs and shooting games. It's the best of both worlds with character interactions that mean something and a storyline that makes you want to learn more. I won't speak too much on graphics because the team did say it's nowhere near ready to launch, but given that warning, the experience was mostly smooth and the cutscenes were downright gorgeous.
While we don't have an exact release date yet, we do know that Outriders is coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC this holiday season.