One might think that Outriders is not a smart game. What story and, for the most part, forgettable characters there are, get quickly pushed aside by a non-stop bombardment of things to shoot at. The perfectly tuned, unbroken rythm at which the game throws it’s hordes of enemies at the player however is a testament to developer People Can Fly understanding perfectly what their product is good at, and more importantly, which of its’ elements should rather stay hidden behind a curtain of distraction.
The gunplay is the heart of this experience, aimed to give the player as little time as possible to think about what sophisticated trickery of fog and mirrors he or she has fallen victim to.
The story, for example. Allthough some cut scenes do a surprisingly good job of laying out the basic storyline and atmosphere, most of them suffer from subpar voice acting and the disturbing way the game renders the faces of our selfmade heroes. Outriders also does not care too much about staging its’ action in believable and memorable environments, building its’ alien planet only from narrow paths and arena like spaces, hosting conveniently placed objects of cover and poorly hidden loot boxes. Happily, the player does not notice the game’s shortcomings in world design immediately, as long as he is kept buisy exploiting the one thing it is brilliant at.
The players will blissfully forget about how fake and stupid everything about this place is, as soon as they dive back into the perfectly executed, breathless action circus.
The fast paced gunplay is the heart of the experience, aimed to give the player as little time as possible to think about what trickery of fog and mirrors he or she has fallen victim to, since setting foot on the muddy environments of Enoch. It’s like looking into a stroboscope, enveloping everything else in indistinguishable, dazzeling brightness. Where lazily placed enemy spawn points in the eyeline of the player and the resulting brainless trains of hostiles rushing at the player would be reason for critique in other games alike, in Outriders they’re thankful excuses to never put the finger off the trigger. The pacing is expertly crafted, that even when the game yet again meets the player’s expectations on when and where enemies are goint to spawn, the action is just demanding enough to engage the player without forgetting it’s all about entertainment.
It is no wonder then, that in the few slower moments the curtain immediately falls, revealing how fake and stupid everything about this place actually is and how little effort it’s makers have put into hiding the game’s flawed world building, knowing that players will blissfully forget about it, as soon as they dive back into the perfectly executed, breathless action circus.