A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The player's character is stranded on a world that's been saturated with corporate branding and sponsorship. Players can follow the status quo or fight against the establishment. The main focus either way is to survive by any means necessary and ultimately find a way to rescue your fellow colonists.
Positive Role Models
There's a wide range of characters to interact with over the course of the story. Some are heroic, altruistic, caring, etc., while many others fall on the opposite end of the spectrum as selfish, conniving, and even cruel. Players have a wide range of ethical and moral choices available themselves as well, which alter how others interact with them and how the story unfolds. How "good" or "bad" you are in the game is a result of your own decisions.
Ease of Play
Basic gameplay is pretty straightforward, with a lot of the action playing out like a standard first-person shooter. There are other aspects to keep track of, such as ordering your party members around, using precise aiming to hit enemy weak spots or to avoid lethal damage in some cases. There's also a lot of menu navigation to deal with for things like inventory management, skill point allocation, party status, etc.
Violence & Scariness
The game features violence in excess. Players can blow up, dismember, bludgeon, and otherwise kill pretty much any character they run across in a variety of brutal and gory fashions. These scenes of violence are constant and graphic, with lots of blood meaty chunks left behind. It should be noted that, just as players can kill nearly everything and everyone, they can also do a pacifist playthrough, which involves only destroying robots versus humans.
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The game makes constant use of profanity throughout its dialogue, including frequent use of "s--t" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are bars throughout various different locations. Players can also pick up and drink alcoholic beverages, which can help in some ways but cause penalties in other stats.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Outer Worlds is a science fiction themed first-person action/role-playing game, available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players take on the role of a colonist that's been trapped in hibernation for seventy years before being freed by a scientist and enlisted to find a way to revive your fellow stranded colonists. It has a dark sense of humor that also parodies the power and influence that corporations have on our daily lives. Profanity is used frequently in the dialogue, primarily "s--t" and "f--k." The game's graphically violent, with lots of blood and gore shown onscreen. Player choice is key, with decisions directing the path the story takes, as well as how other characters react to your presence. It's also possible to visit one of many bars across the story, and drink alcoholic beverages that provide positive and negative effects to characters.
Is It Any Good?
There are a lot of games that offer player the freedom to "play the way you want," but very few deliver on that promise as well as this RPG (role-playing game). There's not really a "wrong" way to play The Outer Worlds. You want to save the world and bring your people home? Go be the hero. You want to join the corporate machine and keep the people under the sway of its propaganda? Sure, why not? Pacifist, serial killer, thief, con man … it's all up to you and the choices you make. And if you don't like how things turned out one way, start a brand-new run or re-work your abilities, try a new path, and change your fate on the fly. This is your story, and the game encourages you to write it any way you see fit.
Gameplay in The Outer Worlds is a blend of first-person shooter and classic role-playing. The combat is fluid and responsive, and the "Tactical Time Dilation" feature opens up some unique options. You COULD just shoot an attacking Marauder in the head and be done with it, but it's much more satisfying to shoot him in the leg so he can't run, then antagonize a nearby creature into finishing him off. Add your party members into the mix, bolstering any stat or ability shortcomings your character may have, and you've got all the makings of a nearly unstoppable force. In fact, that's one of the game's few shortcomings. It's almost too easy on the main difficulty levels, and yet switching to highest "Super Nova" difficulty adds in things like party perma-death which makes the experience much more punishing. Its sudden, steep curve may be off-putting to all but the most hardcore RPG fans. Still, like nearly every other aspect of the game, it's your choice to play how you want. And while there are only a handful of distinctly different conclusions to the story, The Outer Worlds is never really about how the game ends, but rather the journey you take to get there.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.