Outriders can be defined as many things. To some, it's a looter shooter just like Borderlands, while to others it may be better described as a sci-fi fireteam based game like Destiny. Whatever one decides to describe it as, it's difficult to shake the feeling that it is familiar. There are a lot of features within the game that are brand new, it's take on world tier and the unique classes it offers are very interesting, but even more of the game feels like a repeat of things that players have done before. Despite this, the game is still excelling, perhaps showing that new isn't always needed.
Now that Outriders has been out for a good half a month, many players have already begun to dig deep into its end game and uncover all of its secrets. Players seem to love People Can Fly's take on this genre of game, but that familiarity is ever present. Few seem to bring it up as a negative thing though, so what exactly does this strange nostalgia mean and where does it come from? These are questions that are difficult to answer, but they are important in understanding why Outriders is simultaneously remarkably fun and wholly unremarkable.
Before getting into all of the things that Outriders adapts from the games of yore, it's important to recognize what new things it does bring to the table. For starters, its world building and the planet of Enoch as a whole is interesting. It may follow some common tropes at times, but players will enjoy exploring Enoch and it isn't difficult to imagine it as a real place. As previously mentioned, there's also the concept of World Tiers that dictate both the difficulty of the game and the rewards received from playing.
The classes are also a breath of fresh air. While there's no shortage of class-based shooters in the market right now, the simple nature of these ones works to its advantage. Players can choose between fire powers, earth powers, time powers, or techno powers, providing a refreshing mix of both the expected and unexpected. Finally, the class that players choose also determines how their character heals, baking in a very specific playstyle for each one. Although players may instinctively want to take cover and defeat enemies from afar, this approach won't work if they're playing the Trickster class, for example.
One common notion when the Outriders demo was still fresh was that the game felt like an Xbox 360 era game. Harkening back to classics like Gears of War or Army of Two, players may get a sense of Deja Vu as they dart from cover to cover in every encounter in the game. Although the combat is invigorated to a degree by the unique abilities that each character class can harness, it always falls back on this familiar gameplay loop. The combat isn't the only thing that will take players to the past, however.
Around the same time as those other games, the Mass Effect franchise was just getting started. This series took players to a vast array of alien planets and provided a story full of sci-fi shenanigans. Outriders has elements of this too, with its many sci-fi elements being used to hold together its loose story. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it allows the game to be as simple or as complicated as the player wants. Those desperate to make sense of everything can do so by reading through journal entries and such, but it's just as fun without any of that context.
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