Square Enix might have just found its next big franchise in Outriders. The third-person shooter has for the publisher (though that , People Can Fly.) It’s easy to see why: the core gameplay is bags of fun, especially when you’re playing with friends.
However, it doesn’t quite stick the landing. A by-the-numbers story and limited replayability drag things down a bit. As such, before you pay full price, it might be worth checking out Outriders on Xbox Game Pass first.
You play as an Outrider, an elite soldier who helps prepare another planet for what’s left of humanity to colonize it, but something goes drastically wrong. Get past the middling first couple of hours (and some iffy writing and acting), and Outriders kicks into a higher gear once your character becomes mutated. You can select one of four classes, each with their own set of unlockable abilities.
The powers and weapon abilities are a blast to play around with, especially when you team up with a friend and combo your special moves. There are a vast number of potential loadouts and character builds you can run with. You can also switch up your gear, abilities and skill tree at any time. The cover system works well enough, but it’s better to play aggressively, since you’ll only heal by killing enemies.
Outriders looks good, with a grimy tone that’s more Gears of War than Destiny. There are a bunch of different biomes, each with a distinct aesthetic, though many parts of levels are just tunnels that funnel you from one encounter to the next. It’s easy to make comparisons with Destiny 2: Both games are futuristic shooters in which you can mow down waves of enemies and constantly hunt for better gear.
Outriders isn’t a live service game, though, nor can you battle other players. It has a focused story, with side missions and endgame challenges you can go on after you finish the campaign. They do get repetitive, though. At a certain point, grinding for better items means little more than seeing higher numbers on your weapon stats and floating above enemies when you attack them. It might have actually been better as an ongoing game with frequent content additions.