I haven’t played a massive amount of Outriders. Between the numerous other games that keep taking priority and all the loot problems the game has been having, I just haven’t spent as much time with the game as I’d initially intended. I’ve kind of been scared top go back to it till it’s working properly. Y’know what I mean?
But even in the less than 10 hours I have played it, I very quickly noticed a starling resemblance to another decisive video games from a few years ago. One that this could very easily slot into in my mind’s eye as I continue to try and erase Mass Effect: Andromeda from my memory.
As I’m drawing these similarities, Let’s start with the gameplay. Like the dreaded Andromeda, Outriders is a third person, cover based shooter, yet is one that is much more about utilising powers than it is strictly about the weapons. As brief as my flirtations with this game have been, I’ve already found my weapons to be something I use in the moments between being able to fly across the map and slam into another group of enemies. Turning them into an unfortunate paste.
The guns themselves are simply the guns. Outriders has much more of a Division/Destiny/Borderlands feel to its gameplay loop. Which I’ll assume means the deeper I get into the game, the more purple and orange my guns will end up being, thus more interesting to use than the generic shotguns and assault rifles I’ve got to play with thus far.
Andromeda had the added benefit of a fantastic trilogy of games that came before it to steal from when it came to its weapon designs.
The other major similarity is the setting and the lore the game kicks off with. Both games follow some desperate bastion of humanity, fleeing across the universe from the death of their home planet due to some horrible threat. Be it global warming or a race of super ancient machines. There’s not much of a difference.
The player takes control of a hapless solider, out of their depth and finding themselves as the new vanguard of humanity, forging out a place in the unknown corners of the universe, trying to settle a new home. However, they find the established colonial efforts that have been set up before them to have crashed and burned into the same old problems we had before we left Earth.
You’d think this fresh start thing would allow us to reforge our civilisation for at least a handful of generations before we screw it all up and go back to squabbling amongst ourselves. But no, in both cases the Outrider and Ryder, they find themselves as the avatar of solving everyone else’s problems as they waddle through the ruined remains of the people who couldn’t get it right the first time and get this new civilisation started properly.
Have I just about made my point?
It almost feels like Outriders was secretly made by a bunch of disgruntled Mass Effect fans who wanted to have another stab at what Bioware did and show them how to do it properly. And despite having spent only a fraction of the time with Outriders as I have when I (for some reason) completed Mass Effect: Andromeda, I already much prefer the former.
I really felt like I needed to get this off my chest before the remake of the original Mass Effect Trilogy comes out and further drowns any hopes of Outriders getting anymore attention from either myself or the science fiction, third person cover based shooer fans out in the world.
Because I really hope whatever work Bioware did to that trilogy turns out well, because I’d be super bummed out to realise that Mass Effect is just a dead fish at this point… but hey, even if it is, we’ve still got Outriders. Who knows, maybe it’s destined to be the next Mass Effect Trilogy… when they figure out how to stop losing people’s items.