Outward is a 2019 open-world role-playing game by Nine Dots. Despite being classified as an RPG, the game is survival in nature. As a player, you have to survive hunger, thirst, fatigue, cold, or any disease. You must also face looming dangers like monsters, animals, or other humans. Moreover, how you progress in the story depends on your decisions. Whether you die, live, or pay your debt, the game will be shaped based on the decisions you will take.
The story revolves around your character who was shipwrecked off the coast. Aside from barely surviving a shipwreck, you also have a debt to be paid. With that, your story starts. The story of the game branches out based on your decisions so explaining all storylines would take us too long.
That aside, Outward is an open-world where players can explore the entire map by foot–and yes, fast travel isn’t possible. You have to finish your quests by traveling without the help of any vehicle or transportation. Although, there is a way to be transported without walking on foot: by dying. Yes, you read it right. In this game, you won’t die and lose your progress. Sounds good? No, it doesn’t. Nine Dots make immortality undesirable through Outward. But, we’ll get to it in a bit.
Outward First Impressions
As someone who was used to fantasy RPGs like Final Fantasy and Horizon Zero Dawn, Outward didn’t seem like an RPG for me at first. It felt like Raft but without the building simulation part. However, you can feel the RPG element once you start your adventure. The game boasts good sights, interesting places, and formidable enemies. Even though you can only go across the map by foot, as an adventurer, it’s pretty much worth it. As an open-world game, Outward was able to give it justice.
The magic aspect of the game is something that I liked as well. It was a great alternative for me who wasn’t comfortable with the game’s combat controls. Memorizing it is quite tedious, however, but the complexity of casting spells gave me a realistic feeling.
In addition, as someone who loves playing games but was never an expert at it, progressing is quite difficult. Oftentimes, the game just doesn’t go the way you wanted it. It took me a couple of tries before I was able to get the hang of it.
Combat: On Controls & Not Dying
Aside from the nice sights and places to explore, the combat is another crucial aspect in an RPG. However, Outward wasn’t exactly able to give it justice this time. To put it more softly: the game’s combat isn’t for everyone. Unless you have infinite patience, then this game will be a bit of a challenge for you.
To start, the controls of Outward aren’t as smooth as I wanted them to be. It’s quite clunky and trying to defeat enemies is quite difficult. Imagine having limited movements while facing an armored dog or a bandit with a shield. It’s hard to go around because of the controls. It requires a lot of patience and skills to get the hang of it. Moreover, when you run out of supplies you have to manually go back to the village each time. In the long run, it’s tiring.
Meanwhile, you don’t die in this game. Your life gets depleted, but once it does, you don’t die and lose your progress. It’s the opposite actually, the game has an autosave function and you just wake up somewhere. However, you don’t just wake up from your last location and everything’s the same. In Outward, you will either be kidnapped or be saved by an NPC. Regardless, you will lose time and sometimes you will end up in a place with more difficult enemies.
Outward: The Verdict
Let’s keep this straight, do I want to keep playing the game? No. Personally, Outward is not the type of game I like to play. The controls during combat are getting on my nerves and it’s too tedious. Also, it’s tiring walking around the map on foot. Even the immortality feature isn’t going well for me, I’d rather have my character die instead and start again, honestly.
Is the game actually good? From an unbiased perspective, it is. The game is a hard pill to swallow for those who are used to being overpowered in RPGs. Outward is realistic, you have to travel by foot, memorize spells, and face the consequences of your actions. To fully appreciate and experience the game, you need to have the patience of a saint. If you don’t, you can just drop it or play with a friend, the game has a multiplayer feature anyway.