Corporate greed and the fate of the human race come head-to-head in Obsidian Entertainment’s new science fiction action roleplaying game ‘The Outer Worlds.’ Can just one person alter the course of mankind’s existence beyond the stars?
At the beginning of this galactic quest, the main character is mostly nameless. Dialog boxes will refer to the character by whatever name the player has chosen. Spoken dialog, however, never uses specific names aside from terms like ‘captain’ or ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir.’ For the sake of this review, we will call the main character by the name given during the playthrough: Captain Rio.
The year is 2355. Captain Rio is awakened from an extended stay in suspended animation to find that the vessel (The Hope) that holds her and several other colonizers is adrift in space. A faulty skip drive is to blame, and no help was ever sent. For decades the ship floated along, and The corporation that funds the colonizing efforts did nothing. The Halcyon Holdings Corporate Board, or ‘The Board’ as the entity is commonly referred to, left The Hope abandoned.
Rio soon finds that the person responsible for her rescue Phineas Vernon Welles. A fugitive on the run from Halcyon, Welles has taken it upon himself to help save the stranded colonists. The problem is he does not have the proper amount of chemicals needed to revive those in prolonged stasis. Awakening them without proper treatment would lead to a nasty death.
‘The Outer Worlds’ is the product of a future that resulted from an alternate timeline in America. Whether the pivot point can be considered in bad taste or not is up for debate. The events that led to deep space exploration came about because President William McKinley was not assassinated in 1901. Anti-trust laws were never adopted. Rampant corporate greed was now the main driving force toward the final frontier.
‘The Board’ leads the charge into space rather than the government. Everything is run by ‘The Board.’ Newspapers, entertainment, and politics are all handled by a corporation, which only concerns itself with the bottom line. It is a nice change from religious or social ideologies being the big bads, but it also means there’s no real face to the enemy. Thankfully the colorful cast of villains found in the side quests makes up for that.
So, it’s up to Captain Rio to set off and fix things. As this is a spoiler-free review, this is as much of the main narrative that we’ll divulge.
Obsidian Entertainment is no stranger to science fiction. The company produced the sequels and spinoffs of great sci-fi games such as ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ and ‘Fallout.’ Some could say that the titles created by Obsidian outshine the original installments. However, those familiar with these titles will see many usual hallmarks reappear in ‘Outer Worlds,’ both good and bad.