So I Tried... Outward
In each edition of So I Tried… I will try a game that I have never played before. Will I find something new to love? Will I find something new to despise? I'll take a full half hour, no matter how bad it gets or how badly I do, to see if this is the game for me. This time, I went for the PC version of Outward.
What I thought it was
I knew it was a survival game of sorts but in a fantasy world. I’ve always assumed it had a lot of RPG trappings just due to how it looks, but I honestly had no idea what to expect going in.
What it actually is
Outward is an RPG with a freeform design, where your objectives are largely nonlinear, and you are tasked with repaying debts to your tribe incurred by past generations. This involves going out into the world to try and pay that back with cash or via earning favours with the tribe using any means you come across.
The game opens with you waking on a beach after surviving a shipwreck caused by crashing into rocks on the return trip from an expedition. Here you are introduced to some basic controls before you re-awaken back in your village, where instead of taking time out to grieve and recover from the shock of the shipwreck and the losses, they zero in on you and the fact you owe four months’ worth of debt.
After a brief chat with the tribe leader, who sympathises with your plight but unfortunately is limited in how she can help due to the rules of law. I cleared out my home of items and spent 15-20 minutes running around talking to everyone, learning about the dangers of the surrounding area and stealing various starter items from around the map.
Unfortunately, this left very little to explore the outside of the village. The game gives you the vague objective of obtaining the money in the quest log and thrusts you out into the vast wilderness. A few steps into the vast world beyond the village, however, I encountered my first real combat… It did not go well.
Combat consists of a light and a combo attack, depending on your weapon, alongside any perks you may have. Unfortunately, not having any practice at this point, I was woefully ill-prepared, and the two assailants both thrust at me, leaving me crumpled on the ground. I awoke two days later back within the village gates, mostly intact, suffering a minor wound.
And that’s where my 30 minutes ended…
Will I keep playing
Definitely, at least a bit further in to see how I get on with the combat, as I didn’t really get a proper sense of it. The overall setting is really interesting, though, and I’d like to see more of it. It’s undeniably a quirky affair, but the hints of an intricate disease/poison system, along with the ability to drop your satchel in real-time, allowing you to quickly lose mass to help combat, suggest there are a lot of interesting things to discover here.