Welcome to Halcyon, a remote solar system at the edge of the known galaxy, a place of opportunity, treachery and hope. The Outer Worlds from Obsidian Entertainment and designed by the team behind Fallout New Vegas fetches players to the new frontier in what is likely the most adventurous game on 2019.
Therein lies the first challenge. The Outer Worlds is big & scary, its complex, there are mechanics plenty and many players could invest a lot of time wondering the planets on offer whilst missing some of the most excellent things on offer. This article suggests 10 things that I wish I had known before starting my first adventure in The Outer Worlds.
Note: This is a spoiler free discussion and as such reveals nothing around the story outside of the first town of Edgewater on Terra II.
Don’t be scared of the Character Creator
The first thing The Outer Worlds throws at you is a fairly complicated looking Character Creator, aesthetically most of the options are pretty straight forward until you hit the traits, perks and skills sections. The dilemma here is how an absolutely crazy build at this stage could potentially break your game later.
What continually shines throughout The Outer Worlds is the quality of the writing, logic and it’s overall ability to adapt to your current situation whatever your build. Want to create an illiterate mass of muscle with a murderous streak or a highly sneaky pirate scoundrel who can lie their way across the galaxy with a silver tongue? You can and the narrative provides the opportunity at almost every turn to let you play out that role in exactly the right tone without feeling you are missing opportunity further in the story.
Compliment your Weaknesses
As with most RPGs, you can’t be king of everything and most players will lean on their strengths but The Outer Worlds is flexible enough to allow you to dabble in other areas with clever use of the various mechanics.
Although some responses are locked by your stats, you can temporarily alter your capability to open a new narrative option by utilising the stacked traits of customisable gear and companions. Not the most experienced cat burglar? Complement a set of armour that already has a Stealth Skill bonus with a Mod that also boosts lockpicking, add to that a helmet that has a default bonus and then stack on top the skills of your two companions, and finally pop a stat boosting remedy, potion or snack. It’s never going to work at the highest levels but for the majority of instances it does.
I’m currently carrying five sets of armour for differing skills that allow me to branch out when I feel the need.
Cash is King in Halcyon
The Outer Worlds makes a big deal out of parts for repairing armour and weaponry, the bigger deal however is cash, in the form of bit cartridges. It’s used for everything but the most important use is upgrading equipment. You can keep that pistol you found in the first cave through the entire game if you keep investing in it to up its damage and add mods to change damage or accuracy.
On top of this the damage penalty for disrepair on weapons or armour takes so long to become an actual problem compared to the frequency upon which parts or loot is received you never really need to concern yourself with stripping every weapon for parts since you will always have enough cash to buy some in an emergency or have some spare for the 4 weapons you centre on in your equippable slots.
Search Everything… Loot Everything.
There is a lot of loot in The Outer Worlds, a lot. Unless you are playing a true “lawful” character, your opportunity to steal nearly every item you come across is only limited to your lockpicking skill. Since most actions of theft are only penalised on a line of sight basis, a patient thief is a successful one.
There’s also a great selection of loot hidden away from prying eyes within alternative paths or off the main track, it can make the difference between a difficult mission and a much more relaxing one.
Play the system to your advantage to maximise your money and keep you ahead of the enemy. There’s very little penalty for carrying too much and you can always take the perk allowing you to fast travel when encumbered to the closest vending machine or general store.
Maximise your advantage.
Your investment in certain skills or attributes opens up a lot for you but its all for naught if you just ignore it. Don’t go waltzing into a firefight with long gun when you’ve invested all your talent in melee weapons.
Your ability to slow things down regenerates pretty fast even in combat and coupled with the right weapon, critical hit markers in slowdown and careful headshot placement, even those pesky Primals go down fairly easily.
Don’t be forced into a Decision
There are a lot of dialogue trees and paths in The Outer Worlds, the developers have been pretty transparent about skill requirements to unlock or progress different options. This point goes along side Point 2 – Compliment Your Weaknesses. Most of the time you get the option to exit conversation without committing yourself too soon, and knowing the stat requirement allows you to change clothes to suit the occasion, alter your team make up and snack on some stat increasing delicacies to meet many of the requirements you come across.
Fast Travel — It’s Fast
It sounds obvious but use the fast travel function, its avoids some monotonous areas of traversal given in the open world the time it takes for enemies to respawn or repopulate is quite a while and in some cases not at all leaving the run back to town pretty boring.
Don’t Fret the Big Decisions
The Outer Worlds is about choice and consequence and there can be differing outcomes dependent on your skills, answers, investigations and exploration. But that’s the point, it’s never as world ending as you think it’s gonna be and sometimes its not bad at all for both parties if you put the time in to investigate some of the alternatives unless you actually just run round as a mass murderer 🙂
Embrace your Flaws!
Perks can change your method of progression by offering a great leap in skill or capability. Flaws on the other hand look scary, take too much damage to the head and the permanent concussion flaw might pop. The drawback is reduction in mind attributes but the advantage is a free perk. This isn’t one I’d personally take and the game is forgiving enough to let you opt out of any flaws you find or receive. There are a few however that are worth a temporary stat reduction given the frequency it actually impacts you.
The Paranoid flaw for example was a fair trade off for a health boost on kill for me since there were only a few restricted areas in the game, the holographic projector was pretty useful and my specific characters ability to lie proficiently cancelled out the flaw pretty well when it actually took effect.
There’s lots to do, lots to see, play it your way and if someone really upsets you then unload on them verbally or physically, The Outer Worlds caters for it and more so relax and if you really aren’t happy with your actions then just reload the last auto save, have a cup of tea and settle that itchy trigger finger.