Outriders made its full grand debut earlier this week with a cinematic reveal trailer that shows off People Can Fly’s (Gears of War: Judgement, Bulletstorm) newest IP that is a shooter with very heavily RPG elements in it. The studio also showed some sweet gameplay action for the co-op adventure, which we’re excited to talk about since we had a few hours of hands-on time with Outriders ourselves.
By now the world knows that Outriders is a 1-3 player co-op RPG that has the dark and gritty humor seen in Bulletstorm nestled away neatly in a brand new IP. This shooter is twisted and the RPG elements make that narrative all the more impactful by giving players a totally immersive experience to lose themselves in. With a main campaign that thrusts the main character into a world of survival and macabre rules, becoming an Outrider is more than just a title, it’s learning to think of the fly and taking all of the weirdness like a champ.
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How it plays
Outriders allows players to customize their main character of choice with an option of three presets. I may or may not have spent a little more time than necessary, but my silver-haired badass was more than ready to roll and the scars I gave her on her face prove to anyone in this new world that she’s not to be messed with.
After crafting the perfect Outrider, it was time to dive into the opening cutscene that lets players see where it all began. This tale begins with a group of survivors arriving on the planet Enoch, a place that was meant to be a safe haven for humans and a chance at a fresh start after years of living on the run. Unfortunately, this planet ended up being anything but safe as the group of characters that we’ve just gotten to know are suddenly in a battle against the unknown with crew members mysteriously vanishing left and right. It gets dark, very dark, which sets the tone for the entire game once the player finds themselves years in the future to a world that drips desolation, mania, and magic beyond our wildest imagination.
Being able to speak with characters and choose different dialogue options really drives home those RPG elements. It was easy to get to know the various faces around our Outrider, which made it easy to feel the loss when those faces change or become something hardened by a war no one could have predicted. What makes that immersive story even better, however, is the fact that there are many, many side quests available to choose from. These quests offer even more characters to get to know, more story, and interesting weapons that are not only gorgeous but meaningful in their function. Do the side quests or don’t do them, the choice is up to the player, but the ability to make this experience last even longer is definitely appreciated.
As far as gameplay goes, how the combat is felt relies heavily upon the class chosen. There are four classes in total, but only three have been revealed and only three were available to choose from when we played the game.
As per People Can Fly, here’s what we know about the classes thus far:
- 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.
Personally, I went the Pyromancer route. Being able to dole out massive amounts of damage with a wave of flames was addictive, though I will admit I’m very interested in seeing what the fourth class will be seeing as they are all magically rooted and vary heavily from one another. My guess is something water-related, or wind, given that the other three take on the fire, electrical, and earth elements.
You’ve got skills
Upgrading one’s skills is also fairly straight forward, but that doesn’t mean it’s not wildly expressive. There are many avenues that players can choose to take their skillset when progressing through this game, making their ideal Outrider. Use each class point earned to grow a chosen tree, seen below, to max out exactly which specialty is learned. Just remember, as you level up – so does the world, so unless you go back in and set your world level to remain the same, there’s no going back to an enemy once you’ve leveled up because they leveled up just as much.
Like quite a few other looter shooters out there, Outriders provides a meaningful story while also delivering a satisfying combat experience. The character interactions are meaningful and genuinely enjoyable and the progression system feels natural and organic. People Can Fly’s upcoming IP truly has the chance to become something truly special and long-lasting and we can’t wait to learn more in the coming months.
While we don’t have a release date at this time, we do know that Outriders is coming to both this-gen and next-gen consoles, in addition to PC, this holiday season! Are you ready to become an Outrider?
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Liana Ruppert is wildly passionate about all things in the gaming community, with an arguably unhealthy obsession with Dragon Age and Mass Effect. From shooters to RPGs, if it’s out – she’s playing it. A medically retired US Sailor and now full-time hoarder of gaming collectibles, Liana’s passion for everything in the gaming industry is palpable. Also, if you lose her in a crowd, just casually mention any BioWare game and the crazy pterodactyl screech will without a doubt follow. You can follow her on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy.