A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Outriders is a third-person role-playing game with shooting combat for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PCs, and Google Stadia. Playable solo or with friends, it has players using a variety of guns and special abilities to kill multiple enemies, which include humans and the occasional alien. This results in a large amount of blood and gore, including dismemberment, executions, and impalement. There are also times when human corpses and body parts can be seen lying on the ground, as well as dead bodies swinging from nooses. Players can interact with a sex worker, and not only does the dialogue include the curse words "f--k," "s--t," and "damn," but it can also be sexual or suggestive. There's also one scene where characters appear to be drinking something alcoholic from multiple bottles. Communication between players isn't monitored, potentially exposing players to inappropriate content. While there are no plans for downloadable content, there's an add-on pack available that provides new guns, gear, and truck decals.
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What's it about?
In OUTRIDERS, humanity has moved to the planet Enoch after laying waste to Earth. As an Outrider, your job is to secure a place for the colonists to set up camp. But after being injured during an unexpected electric storm, you're placed back in cryogenic stasis, only to wake up 31 years later to find that the world is violent, unruly, and at war. You also quickly realize you now have special abilities that will help you in your ultimate mission, which is to make things right or die trying. A role-playing game with real-time, gun-based combat, players use their new skills, and a lot of weapons, to kill tons of bad guys who'd rather the world stayed chaotic. Players will also have the option to face the hordes of Enoch on their own or team up with friends to eliminate their targets.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Outriders affected by the fact that you're mainly killing people instead of animals or aliens? Would the impact be lessened if you were killing creatures or aggressive aliens instead?
In Outriders, dialogue incudes profanity such as "s--t" and "f--k," as well as conversations that are sexual or suggestive. Do you think this adds anything to the game? Does it make the story feel more real, given what's going on, or does it seem unnecessary or gratuitous?
In Outriders, people have traveled to another world because Earth has been destroyed. Does this make you think about how we're treating the planet, especially given that we don't have the ability to move to another world?
- Platforms: Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: April 1, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: April 14, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.