By doing something different with the combat, this third-person, sci-fi shooting adventure manages to feel fresh and new. In Outriders, you're cast as a soldier on an alien planet who's supposed to secure the landing site for the future residents of a human colony. But after you're injured in a freak electrical storm, you get placed back in cryostasis, only to emerge 31 years later, and to a chaotic world at war. That's why you -- or, if you prefer, you and some friends -- spend the entire game trying to make things right by shooting tons of enemies, gathering supplies, and running side missions and errands as well as completing tasks that advance the main story. All of which works well, thanks to the game's fluid and intuitive controls.
What makes this different from such similar games as The Division 2 or Borderlands 3 is that the combat here is rather varied. For starters, your special powers recharge much faster than is usual in these kinds of adventure games. The shooting is also somewhat different, since some of the battlefields are large and have plenty to hide behind, so some enemies take pot shots from afar, while others get up close and personal. As a result, you often have to quickly switch from using a long-range weapon and the available cover to a more short-range firearm and tap the dodge button to avoid incoming fire and explosives. Further mixing things up are aliens who will swarm you, as well as mini-bosses who refuse to use cover but won't rush you, either. Granted, this game does have some issues: It requires a constant online connection, so you can't pause when your pizza arrives, even if you go it alone. The story is also dull (but easy to skip). But even with these problems, the varied and rather unique gunfights still make Outriders an effortlessly fun shooter.