Take the stop and pop combat of Gears of War, add the RPG and loot mechanics of Destiny 2 then mix in the teamwork of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2… Welcome to Outriders!
While these three games may seem a strange mix, they actually tie the room together pretty darned well.
The latest release from developers People Can Fly (BulletStorm, Gears of War: Judgement), this third-person RPG shooter delivers a story that’s akin to a mixture of Futurama and WWII tales. The premise is quite similar to that of Alien: Covenant, in that a convoy of humans is looking for a new planet to colonise, as Earth is beyond repair. After arriving on the planet Enoch, the elite Outriders come in contact with a deadly energy storm. Your custom character gets caught up in it and is turned upon by security forces, before being wounded and placed into cryostasis.
You wake up 31 years later to a completely different world, a prisoner of war caught in a confusing world. From here you notice that exposure to the energy storm has altered you, with you now possessing special abilities. This is where Destiny 2‘s mechanics start to creep, in as you choose a class that’ll alter the way that you play Outriders.
You have your standard RPG classes to choose from: Tank, DPS and even a hit-and-run style that deals some serious damage. There are a total of four classes – we first opted for Pyromancer. This class excels at mid-range engagements, but crumbles at close range.
You also get to change your character’s weapons and armour. Certain types also provide buffs, such as being able to use an ability twice before it needs to cool down. If there’s a particular weapon/armour piece that you particularly love, you’re able to level it up by using resources such as iron and leather, which drop after killing certain monsters, mining for materials or dismantling items that you no longer want.
The combat in Outriders is very similar to that of Gears of War – although sadly without the chainsaw assault rifles. Unlike Gears of War, however, the enemy factions that you’re facing off against will affect how the combat unfolds. Going up against rival factions (humans), you’ll need to take cover and watch out for snipers and heavy units. Facing off against monstrous creatures (that act a bit like the horde from Left 4 Dead), you’ll need to constantly be moving, a bit like in DOOM.
Whichever class that you pick in Outriders not only determines your playstyle, but also your special abilities. As we opted for Pyromancer class, our abilities all focused on dealing fire damage. The first ability that this class unlocks is a fire wave attack, but you soon learn more abilities, such as altering the bullets in your equipped weapon to fire incendiary rounds. You unlock a decent variety of abilities, however you’re only able to have three equipped at once. So, if you’re playing with friends, it helps to coordinate who has which abilities or attacks.
Level difficulty and enemy spawn changes when playing cooperatively. Anytime somebody joins your game, more enemies will spawn during main or side missions, and the experience continuously scales depending on how many people are in your squad. Outriders also takes another page out of the book of Destiny 2 with its level and zone structure. You traverse snowy and volcanic mountain tops, WWII-inspired trench towns, caves and more. Each area houses higher level threats, better loot, and more side missions.
“Outriders absolutely shines when playing with a crew of friends.”
You move to new areas using your own personalised truck. Not only is this truck used in cutscenes, but you can also customise it with paint jobs, tricked-up wheels and even body kits. As you’d expect, when moving through to new areas there are missions where you need to escort your truck over dangerous cliff edges, or through enemy camps – a bit like when you guide Dizzy and Betty in Gears of War 2.
Outriders absolutely shines when playing with a crew of friends, and thankfully there’s cross-play between PlayStation, Xbox and PC. However, playing Outriders solo is a bit like playing Destiny 2 solo… Outriders is made to be played with friends and playing it alone is a little like eating a whole cake all by yourself. Sure, it can be done (and it has been done!), but it’s much better when shared. Also, while the story is quite simple at first, it does get more confusing and muddled as the campaign progresses.
Outriders carefully pulls from multiple fan favourite franchises and creates its own world and genre. The entertaining and somewhat brutal combat keeps you glued to the screen, swearing that you’ll play just one more level, and one more level… If you’ve got a couple of friends and are looking for something new to play, Outriders needs to be on your radar.
Outriders is available now on PS5, Xbox and PS4.