Outriders Demo First Impressions Gameplay Review
27 February, 2021...
I've played through most of the starting zone in the Outriders demo and what I can say is that I found the game geniunely entertaining and challenging at the same time.
There were a lot of good points about the game and a few bad ones.
Does the good outweigh the bad?
This is probably what I enjoyed the most out of the game.
The bolt action rifles and sniper rifles were really satisfying to use for headshots.
I really had fun making those headshots and I think the devs did this real well.
I heard they were also part of the group that worked on the Gears of Wars games however I've never played those.
The weapons have a satisfying kick and impact when blasting enemies, especially the shotguns.
It's specially satisfying when I see a spray of shotgun pellets take out several enemies in front of me at once.
It vaguely reminds me of games like Mass Effect and Destiny in terms of the way the gunning and inventory of guns is handled.
I also enjoyed the large variety of gun options and random stats you could get from loot drops.
It really is like a looter shooter met Diablo or Path of Exile.
The Mod Options and Loot
The mods in the game are either on the weapons or on the armour.
The armour mods make existing skills better.
- add Freeze to freeze enemies when you use your Pain Launcher (rocker launcher) skill
- add extra uses to an existing skill
- Adds more damage to a skill
- Adds more area of effect damage
The weapon skills don't usually enhance existing skills.
Instead they add flat bonuses to health, anomaly power (magic power) or critical damage as examples.
Or they might add like a shield when you use the weapon or it might leech health to heal you when you shoot someone.
In the demo you didn't really see how powerful the weapon mods could go.
Also since the crafting system isn't available you could check that out or extract mods out of your current weapons to put into a new weapon.
The highest level mods or loot I've found as of this writing is blue class.
The exceptions to the mod options I mentioned are the legendary weapons.
Apparently it's possible to get them in the demo if you're extremely, extremely lucky, I haven't seen any.
Then again the chance is really low, like 10% at best at World Tier 5 or so.
That's a pretty hard difficulty.
Legendaries can add entirely new or unique effects like class skills that do certain things or cause damage.
This is definitely more than just adding +10% to critical damage or giving you 20% life leech when you kill someone.
The legendaries tend to have unique appearances.
I guess if you've played games like Diablo, Path of Exile or Destiny 2 then the idea of unique or legendary weapons won't come as a surprise.
The weapons however would be pretty sweet to use.
You can replay any of the side quests when you unlock new difficulty levels or world tiers in the demo to get more loot and better loot.
Who knows you might be lucky to get a legendary from World Tier 5.
This is what makes this game attractive, just like Path of Exile.
You always have a chance for random loot with different or rare stats that might be useful to you.
The skill system or tree in Outriders is big enough to make your different builds different without being super complex or confusing like it might be in Path of Exile.
The fact you can change the skills you slot at any time I believe makes it pretty flexible as long as you have the right gear to go with a new build.
Each of the classes, Pyromancer, Technomancer, Trickster and Devastator have their own unique skills.
Alas the demo only allows you to unlock like 4 class skills out of eight.
And you can only earn and spend at most 2 class points in the skill tree so it's hard to get a feel for the full power of the classes.
Pyromancer was probably my second favourite so far.
Mostly because I like burning things.
Just using the abilities to burn and kill marked enemies heals you.
Heat Wave sets enemies on fire in a line and can stagger them making them easy targets.
Feed the Flames is great for pulling enemies close for a shotgun blast to the face.
Thermal Bomb turns an enemy into a burning bomb and when you kill them they explode in a huge radius, slaying your other nearby foes.
I'm still reserving the space for the first favourite class of mine however it's likely to be devastator.
I was tempted to start with this class and from what other gamers have said this class fits the game best because you're always getting up close and healing as you kill enemies in close range.
The game seems centred around not using cover (more on that later) and the devastator fits that idea perfectly.
You can use earthquake to stagger and knockdown enemies.
Probably the best ability is Golem which reduces incoming damage by like 65% which is great in close combat or against bosses.
The other ability is Gravity Leap which lets you turn into a rock, aim at someone and cannonball into them.
It's a gap closer.
Just from these abilities, the survivability of the Devastator in this game is just way higher than the other classes.
I would have to say that the devastator is probably the best for beginners.
This is the only other class I've played and it's usually about long range.
Other games didn't like this class most because the slower, clunky grenade tossing mechanic for the Scrapnel proximity mine and Cryo Turret abilities.
You have to hold down the ability button and then aim the throw making the starting abilities slower to use in the fast paced combat of Outriders.
For the technomancer cover is literally important as they're not really as tough as I'd like.
Don't get me wrong they do damage though it's mostly with the Pain Launcher (missile/bomb launcher) ability.
I'm intending to test Blighted Rounds with an armour mod that boosts it to see if it's any good.
Overall however the Technomancer "kit" seems less well suited to solo play in Outriders compared to the other classes.
There's a good variety of enemies that will keep you on your toes and keep the combat exciting.
You've got long range snipers or gunners, mid range gunners and close range melee mobs.
It can vary.
They're not impossible to kill however if you're not careful and get flanked you can take heavy damage unless you have a very aggressive playstyle to heal.
Not only that the bosses or mini-bosses (aka Captains) in the demo at least tend to have different powers when you fight them on higher difficulty levels (world tier levels in this game).
This helps to keep things fresh and exciting when you come back to repeat quests with new or better gear.
It may not be as easy to steam roll them as you imagine.
Okay so what are some of the bad things I ran into?
The Cover System
This is probably my number 1 problem with this game.
It doesn't work well and can sometimes fail you badly at the worst moments.
Like when a boss got around the cover and I wanted to leave it, pressing
space didn't do anything and even
Ctrl for dodge didn't work until many presses later.
By then I took some heavy damage.
I was forced to dodge roll all the way back the way I came.
Other times activating cover with
Space didn't work and I would get shot while trying to press
This happened enough to be pretty annoying especially during a boss fight.
Why Have Cover At All?
Granted the devs said that cover is a last resort and that "cover is for cowards" in some of their promo material.
In that case, WHY did they put in cover at all?
They could have just focused on healing from killing or the class healing mechanics they already have.
Like make them more powerful.
Well I guess there is dodging.
Chest High Cover/Obstacles/Walls
Not only that it's not always obvious to know what you can use as cover or can climb over as cover.
Apparently anything chest high cannot be climbed over.
Wish it was clearer.
Shift is for sprinting.
Ctrl is for dodge rolling and leap frogging cover/obstacles.
I feel like they could have done what Warframe does for dodge rolling and sprinting by combining the two into a single key.
Shift for sprinting and double tapping for dodging.
Ctrl is for crouching.
It would have felt more intuitive for me.
Ctrl could have been used for cover.
Space could have been used for jumping.
Of which I was sorely disappointed that there was no jumping in this game.
In fact I felt in my opinion that it was kind of weird for a shooter not to have some kind of jumping or manual crouching or toggle crouching - even if it's not very high.
It might be useful for dodging ground effects?
Depth of Blur or Blur Effects
In the tutorial I was instantly struck by the blur effects that happen when sprinting.
No other looter shooter I've played does this and it feels kind of annoying.
For anyone else they might get nauseous or sick if they're really sensitive to screen blur.
The customization of the character's appearance was just "meh", passable, okay.
It lacked the options for changing every aspect of your body size, height or weight that games like Elder Scrolls Online or Skyrim might do.
It was all in the face and skin tone mostly.
Not a deal breaker for me, however for other players it might be.
The Writing, Dialog and Story
Everything was voice acted which was great however some of the writing was kind of meh or cringe.
When your character talks to Captain Tanner in the tutorial cutscene, you literally spill a lot of "too much information" background.
Your character tells us about his background rather than showing us it.
Perhaps in a cutscene or more subtle ways like in later dialog options.
It feels kind of out of place.
This game is definitely different from the choices in dialog you can make in Mass Effect.
Also it doesn't feel like any of your dialog matters to the main story at all.
The main story itself is also not that amazing though your character always acts like a renegade Shepard from the Mass Effect series, you don't really have any meaningful choice in the way they act.
The Level Design
Another major issue is the level design.
It's literally one two rooms that are like arenas.
The first room is a bunch of enemies you have to beat.
They often drop a key or something that you need to open the second room after you kill everyone in the first room.
Which means you can never skip the killing.
The second room has enemies and likely has a boss or mini-boss (depending on whether it's a main quest item or side quest).
You kill the mini-boss/boss and then you a travel point appears so you can leave the area.
There's also one or two loot crates you can open for loot.
Throughout the demo anyway this level design repeats over and over whether you're doing the main quest or side quest branches.
I'm sure that after awhile this might grate on certain players or bore other ones.
We can only hope that the levels after the demo level are not exactly the same.
The devs did say however that the endgame will be expeditions that will all be handcrafted unique levels with nothing recycled from the main story content.
This would seem to be better than the level design I was seeing in the demo.
At least I'm hoping they're not going to be repeating a 2 room design.
These things are going to be like dungeon raids from MMOs and you'll need a group that works well together to beat these expeditions at ever higher difficulty levels or challenge tiers.
The challenge tiers will be different from world tiers.
There's a lot I like about this game: the gun play, the skills and of course the wide variety of loot.
The fact that you can replay quests to get more and better loot at higher world tier/difficulty levels means this game is like Path of Exile or Diablo except it's a scifi shooter instead of a fantasy game.
I'm definitely still looking forward to playing the full game when it comes out, possibly April 1, 2021 assuming it isn't delayed.
Despite its flaws, it has great potential.
And if the devs, People Can Fly, can fix the flaws or further improve the game and add even more endgame content then I definitely see myself and others playing this game a lot in the near future.