Outriders' story is messy and bad and fits into the game itself badly (full spoilers)

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bigsocrates

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Edited By bigsocrates

Outriders is what you'd write if you spent 3 weeks holed up in a hotel room with the movie Avatar on repeat on the flatscreen and smoking a metric ton of meth.

I finished Outriders today. I kind of wish I hadn't. Setting aside the game part (which was very repetitive and had a lot of issues, including technical problems with both servers and crashes to the console "desktop") the story was maybe the strangest part of the whole experience.

Outriders is a multiplayer focused third person looter shooter but it has a ton of story. Cut scenes, radio chatter, dialog with NPCs, sidequests with all of the above, journal entries, etc... the game has a massive amount of lore and internal stories in it, and they're mostly kind of bad?

The Long Summary (you may want to skip, especially if you played it)

To summarize the story as a whole (I will not hold back on spoilers) you play as an Outrider (more or less a military scout/explorer), who came to a new planet called Enoch from a dying Earth aboard a ship called the Flores. The Flores was supposed to have a sister ship called the Caravel, but it was badly damaged in an explosion so only the Flores left. The original Outriders from the real military were almost all killed in the explosion, so you and your fellow Outriders were recruited from the mercenaries left on Earth, and were seen as an unsavory bunch who didn't deserve to be saved from the dying planet along with the various luminaries and high ranking politicians etc... who are on the Flores.

When you arrive on the planet it initially seems to be a paradise. There's a strange signal coming from somewhere and the Outriders go to investigate it, but you soon get caught in a weird magnetic storm. That storm starts frying all the electronics and killing people, even vaporizing them. The Outriders tell the bureaucrats not to bring people down because it's not safe, but the bureaucrats ignore you and then order the Outriders killed because they're contaminated. You fight back but you're injured and you end up being shoved back into cryosleep so they can heal you. You wake up 30 years later after a scientist and his friend wake your pod, you go back out into the world and find that it's in a constant state of dirt and war. You are set to be executed and released into another storm, similar to the one you saw before, and it sends a piece of metal through your chest and you kind of die but then you come back to life with powers. After fighting your way across the front you learn that you've been Altered and become kind of a superbeing. There are other Altered around too and they loosely ally with one of the two sides in the war, the authorities who you came down with and an insurgent force of people who felt that the authorities left them to die. Humanity has lost all its electronics to the storms and has been pinned into this valley it can't leave because it's the only safeish place, and everyone is fighting over the scraps as the storms continue to worsen.

You hook back up with two of the people you came down to the planet with, one of whom, Jakub, you've known for a long time, and you go off to track down that same signal you saw 30 years earlier. Along the way you fight in parts of the ongoing war, meet up with one of the last professors, meet up with Jakub's surrogate daughter, and do a lot of stuff that doesn't really end up mattering to the main plot. Your main goal is just to track down the signal, especially because the professor has a device that he thinks he can use to contact the Flores and have a lot of supplies that were stuck up there sent down to the surface.

You eventually leave behind the two warring sides to enter the forest, where nobody has ever come back from, only to find there are people there too, deserters who have found a way to survive the deadly fungus there and create a "peaceful" camp. You then find out that they're not so peaceful because they have to kill people to create the cure, and you shut down their operation when they take your doctor friend, but in doing so you discover the game's big twist. An alien who is being experimented on. You soon leave the forest behind and learn there was a whole race of sentient aliens already on the planet when you arrived.

In exploring THAT lead you soon find two more big reveals. First that in addition to the nice sentient aliens there are evil violent sentient aliens to fight (there are also beasts to fight throughout the game, but they're just big versions of animals twisted by the storm and aren't that plot relevant), and second that there's another group of humans who are on the planet but are not from your ship.

The resolution to these mysteries is that after the Flores left some people fixed the Caravel back up with a faster engine and got to the planet first. There they encountered the peaceful aliens (they called them the Pax, which is a Latin word for a period of peace) and at first things were good, but then their leader, Monroy, found that the Pax could control the storms and he wanted their power so he stared enslaving and genociding and whatnot. You know. Human stuff. This caused them to use their powers to turn themselves into the angry combat aliens (they call them ferals) and they defeated and killed the humans from the Caravel (with the help of a human insurrection), except Monroy who is holed up in his ship. He was the one who sent the signal you saw at the beginning of the game. This is also where the bad storms come from that keep everyone in the valley. The storms were much less horrible when people first arrived, but the Pax used to control them and with them all dead or turned evil there is nobody left to keep them in check.

You get into the remains of the Caravel, locate the signal, which is a distress call from Monroy, find Monroy, who is old but has survived this whole time, watch one of your companions kill him, and then fight off a final attack from the mean aliens while your professor buddy calls down the supplies from the Flores. Then you go outside, meet a bunch of civilians from back at the beginning of the game in the warzone who tell you that you they somehow followed you all this way, which seems utterly impossible because they are not well armed and you've been assaulted the whole time and barely survived the wildlife and the storms despite having god-like powers, but whatever, and then the end game involves chasing down the supply pods and trading the supplies for weapons.

It's all a big story about how humans came to a paradise and screwed it up by wanting to control it, and the Pax kind of look like Na'vi and you will never convince me that this wasn't just an attempt to make an unlicensed Avatar game but with loot.

Why It's Bad

Too Much: I just wrote a massive summary of the game's story and I left a ton out. There's just too much story in this game. Every single area has significant amounts of story, especially if you pursue side quests, but even if you don't. There's so many scenes of chatting between characters, or just characters doing things like hiding from storms or messing around with obelisks, and it's all repetitive and boring and you just want to get on with the underlying mystery of the game and not, for example, spend a bunch of time tracking down spare parts from an old truck only to come back and find out they kidnapped your friend so you have to go rescue them, all the while learning about the culture and rules and processes of this forest enclave that, in the end, doesn't actually matter at all. In fact none of the stuff or people you meet in the first part of the game matter in the second half except the people who come with you. Speaking of which...

Too many dead ends: The whole first part of the game, and we're talking probably 8-10 hours here, is about the Altered and their place in this new society, and your unreliable ally Seth who is fighting a war against another Altered named Moloch, and the ways you as an Altered fit into this war. None of this actually matters at all. You can go on a long sidequest and learn Moloch's origins, and you eventually find Seth dead, murdered by Moloch, and you fight Moloch until he defeats you and then...Moloch disappears from the game only to pop up at the very end looking up at the pods dropping from the sky. The Altered aren't actually important at all to anything that happens in the second half. In fact you don't really find out whether the other humans who got to the planet first actually got Altered, even though there's no reason why they shouldn't. You're constantly looking for more information about the Outriders and if any are still alive and none of that matters. What actually matters is the stuff that Monroy did, which you just read about in journals, and then when you meet Monroy you pretty much just shoot him. Shira's rise to become head of the ECA? Doesn't matter. The politics between Corrigan and the ECA and all that? Irrelevant. The whole fall of the First City and insurgency? Just background noise.

Badly told: One of the biggest problems this game has is that it has so much story, and it's not interesting or involving. The cut scenes tend to be obnoxious with shakey cam and incredibly variable animation quality, and the performances are all over the place too. The real problem is the writing, which is wildly inconsistent and often pretty bad. I generally read journal entries in games but I skipped a lot in this one just because of how long and dry they were. I was tempted to skip some cut scenes and I can't think of one character who I really liked or was invested in.

Wildly Inconsistent: Jakub is arguably the most important NPC in the game. He's the person your character has known the longest and her only tie back to life on Earth. You meet him in the first couple hours and he stays with you most of the game. Chana joins your party because she's his daughter. He's the lynchpin. When he sacrifices himself to save Chana it's the culmination of his character arc. He was an Outrider warrior and over time lapsed into drunken depression and became sort of a washed up flunky for Shira. He goes on this suicide mission with his old friend, begs her to save his daughter's life, reconnects with said daughter, opens up about his past, and then, in the end, summons some of that old Outrider courage to save her, dying in the process. This should be the emotional heart of the game's story. Nobody comments on it after. Chana becomes your driver, everyone else just kind of moves on instantly. There aren't even optional dialog prompts about it. Now it's not like I felt some great connection to Jakub (I snorted at the scene where he dies because it is silly) but the game spends a long time on this arc and then just discards it.

Likewise the whole tone of the game shifts when you are learning about what Monroy has done. Up until then your character is sarcastic and detached, even when seeing the horrors of war. She kills thousands, sees innocent people die, finds a whole blood cult in the forest etc... While the Pax genocide is bad, it's not that different from the rest of what's going on, but she becomes angry and outraged when reading about it. Learning about Monroy changes and matures her as a person. These are not the first slaves you've encountered in the game. After you wake up from cryo sleep you watch a guard murder his own ally and then knife another prisoner in front of you. The story of the Pax is sad but all your character has ever known is sad stories so for her to get super somber and act totally different once she hears it is nonsensical.

Characters just are not consistent in their actions or motivations and it makes it hard to care about any of it.

None of it makes sense if you think about it: In 2021 we have spy satellites that can map out individual roads and traffic patterns but in this far flung future with faster than light drives and all kinds of super tech they miss not only these deadly magnetic storms (which weren't as bad before the humans arrived) but entire cities? The Pax have this whole civilization with massive cities and temples and nobody spots it from the Flores? Also they have probes that land on the planet but no satellites in use before they send people down? None of it makes any sense given how tech actually works. Then there's the fact that Seth is close to a God and the Altered have encountered the forest people before but apparently have never gone beyond the forest for some reason? And the feral Pax have never contacted the forest people even though the Pax all turned themselves evil to drive the occupying humans from the land? The world is a mile wide but has no relationship to logic. Even the fact that early on Shira says that anything more complicated than a grease engine gets cooked, but there are lots of short wave radios and sniper rifles with laser sights (lasers actually ARE electronics, dude) etc... It's all dumb and that ties in to the fact that there's so so much of it.

It is so heavy handed:

Humans are ecologically bad. We get it. We fight each other, we screw things up, we attack things we don't understand, we're jerks. That's a fine point for a video game, but you don't need to walk us through an alien genocide camp to make it. You also don't need 5 different examples of how humans turn on each other. The game wants to make the point that humans are the problem and we destroy things, but it makes it over and over ad naseum. There's a point where the only alien you talk to asks Jakub why the humans are on the planet and Jakub says we screwed Earth up and have no place else to go. The alien asks if humans always screw up their planets and Jakub says that we do. It's a nice exchange, and it states the game's themes succinctly. That kind of thing works but not if every single vignette and moment is about it, from the warzone you start in to the horrors of the forest to the fate of the Pax. The story does not need to be as repetitive as the looter shooter game!

Why it doesn't fit with the game itself

Basically this game is structured as a multiplayer loot focused game but it has the story of a single player campaign. You're supposed to play it with friends and just sort of blow through it, but it keeps slowing down to tell its horrible story. There are long stretches where you're just walking through empty areas so that there's time for your buddies to chatter at you on your earpiece. Meanwhile the game is obviously as long as it is because it wants to throw a lot of biomes and content at people who are going to play this as a long term looter. Basically the gameplay is structured like Diablo but the story is structured like Gears of War and they do not mesh in the least. It's the reason there's too much story (There have to be events that happen in each location) and it also slows the pace of what should be constant exciting action. Bad fit.

Overall:

Outriders is a mess in a lot of ways, but its story is emblematic of its problems. It has nothing original to say but says it at length (ironic given how long this post is.) It way overrates the quality of its characters, while underserving them at every turn. It repeats all its beats, including the noble sacrifice one, at least twice. It's frustrating because if the story were trimmed down and less obtrusive it would be acceptable if a little bland, but there's just so much of it and it's all so bad and obvious. If developers are going to shoehorn this much story into the game then at least please please please be a little more thoughtful and careful with it. And if your game is meant to be played in co-op it really doesn't need this level of story. Even Gears of War didn't shoehorn in a whole subplot about a woman who works for a local warlord and follows you but then is jealous so she gets angry and when she gets powers temporarily attacks you but then she gets paralyzed but instead of killing her your best friend's daughter nurses her back to health because she's in a vision of paradise and...

It's just too much. It has it's moments but it's too much. It's bad.

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bybeach

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#1 bybeach  Online

I broke out my own stimulants to read this. As I progressively became more delusional, the Dopamine dump fouling up my neural synapses, the story, as you related it, became so coherent, crystal clear, a true work of beauty. I reveled in it's unassailable logic and continuity, That it was 'Stuff', for 'Reasons'.

Then I crashed, and perceived the ugly reality.

Ah well, very good write up indeed!

Had a good time reading it.

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LavenderGooms

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I've only played the demo, but it really just feels like Edgelord Andromeda.

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takayamasama

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@lavendergooms: This is a fair and apt comparison, in more ways than just the story.

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bigsocrates

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@bybeach: Thanks duder. This game's story is so convoluted I just kind of wanted to get most of it down to keep it straight so I can complain about it in the future. I even left out some stuff, like the fact that the most important story beats in the last third of the game are all in collectable journals, some of which are required for mission progression, and radio chatter instead of cut scenes. It's clearly a budget-driven choice but...maybe just don't have that much stuff?

@lavendergooms: It's kind of that in some places but not really. For example the whole last third of the game is you following in the footsteps of Monroy and learning about his genocide against the Pax, and everyone is outraged and angry at the white colonialist for what he did to the natives. Then at the end of the game the Asian woman who you first meet captured by another white guy, and who was your best friend's surrogate daughter, shoots Monroy in the head for his crimes, and everyone's like "yeah, that was the right thing to do" even though he was old and posed no real threat.

There's "edgy" stuff in the game but overall it's pretty wholesome. The first part is definitely edgier than the back end.

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Haz_Kaj

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@takayamasama: it's miles better than Andromeda. As a game that is.

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C0rey

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I played the demo, I liked it overall

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ThePanzini

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#7  Edited By ThePanzini

I'm only 6-8 hours in so far and the story is really poor which is not surprising as this is a looter shooter, but the amount of story and cut scenes is just overwhelming for a game designed to be replayed. And nearly every character I've met so far is very unlikable which really doesn't help.

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Dareitus

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I think, most importantly, the game applies too much writing to your character that you create at the beginning. Its not a custom character that represents me if the person not only acts nothing like me, but like a total asshole.

Multiple times in the early game my character shows a total disregard for human life, both guilty and innocent. A shop keeper gets gunned down and all I have to say is "He was about to show me the good stuff"

How am I supposed to feel like a hero when Im very clearly a douchebag?

Later during a circumstantial hostage rescue the victim says "Please don't hurt me" and I responded "I'm not like that." I couldn't help but feel like I absolutely was like that.

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LavenderGooms

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@dareitus: One of the side quests in the demo she rescues the soldier she was sent to find and he murders the enemy soldier who had been trapped with him and (apparently) saved his life, then throws a grenade into the rubble to trap all the other enemy soldiers to die. He is flippant about war being war when she says what the fuck, then he immediately gets shot and killed by a sniper.

Our protagonist's reaction is basically "well that was a waste of time".

I kind of agreed, but I think not from the same direction they meant.

It's entirely a scene framed as comedic, but a couple hours earlier I was dragged through what I can only describe as a torture corpse pile, watched a friendly person get stabbed in the neck in front of me, then left outside the walls to die. This is the end of the prologue, a section of the game where the protag watches everyone she knows die in front of her then gets sent 30 years in the future to a nightmare eternal war hellscape.

Just massive tonal shifts even in this short amount of time.

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TheRealTurk

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Admittedly, I'm only a few hours in but I'm having a hard time determining if any of the story is actually meant to be taken seriously or not? On the one hand, the constant (and nauseating) shaky-cam in the cutscenes and the number of times your character just casually murders someone gives you the impression that this is was intended to be some super-serious meditation on war and the nature of humanity.

But then the prologue of the game has you wandering around with a guy who wears a duster and a stetson. And he is the only person who isn't wearing a sci-fi future uniform. And he has a Sam Elliot mustache. AND he talks in a Texas accent.

Or how the villain of the prologue is a totally unhinged bureaucrat who speaks in a British accent because of course he does.

I said this in another thread, but the game feels like they were trying to write Mass Effect, but only by using the worst parts of Call of Duty and Ghost Recon.

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bicycleham

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#11  Edited By bicycleham

Getting to meet August for the first time legitimately had me a bit surprised because I honestly thought it was a addition out of left field since we hadn't seen any real evidence of a sentient race native to Enoch yet. And then they get to that part where they lay the seeds of a mystery of how a human distress signal was present on Enoch before the ship was even there and then the story really got intriguing to me and I started wondering if they were going to mess around with some kind of time travel/alternate timeline storyline. But nope, turns out you're the second one human ship here and they actually just committed genocide against the native race of Enoch, also we're just gonna hand wave it all away and say that the Flores was slower than the Caravel, which to remind you blew the fuck up on Earth, and in the time that the Flores was seeking a new planet the Caravel somehow built a newer, faster engine, found Enoch before the Flores, landed on it, colonized it, and committed genocide against the entire planet all before you get there. Also, I hope you like learning all about this 20 minutes before the final boss, and then listening to the guy that did all this explain to you again in his own first person narrative. Like come on, did they somehow forget to introduce Monroy into the story because they were trying to introduce this sudden mystery of Enoch plotline in the last quarter of the game? Also the whole "colonists killing the natives," is just an angle I'm getting kind of fatigued on and find kind of trite and I don't think it works very well when your player character is also just straight up destroying the entire population of settlers with their comic book powers like it's straight up Dynasty Warriors in here.

I'm also just now realizing that they make it a big question in the beginning of the game of how you get your powers since everyone else that was struck by the anomaly turned into goo but you somehow survived. And then there's the question as to why your player character just kind looks like themself instead of Seth or Moloch who look like the crossbreed of the burnt side of a bagel and back of fruity pebbles. I know they attempt to explain of little of it when they show Bailey become altered when she gets cut by the sap during the anomaly and turns on you but I was hoping for something a bit more concrete I guess? Maybe in Outriders 2 your character will figure out they're the only begotten son of God or they just have a really good skincare regimen or something, or maybe I just completely missed it.

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bigsocrates

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@bicycleham: The timeline for the Caravel sort of makes sense because the Flores is in transit for like 70 years, so if the Caravel was 30 years faster it could all work out (though the Flores loses contact with Earth 16 years into the journey, which means that either the Caravel somehow left after Earth had totally collapsed, or it left before Earth totally collapsed but somehow nobody thought to mention it to the people on the Flores. Neither makes sense.)

Of course Monroy needs to do all those things in a pretty tight window because the Flores has been on Enoch for 31 years by the time the game happens, and the SOS was sent before the Flores arrived (yet somehow not up to space for...reasons? We know that the Caravel can contact the Flores because that's what Professor dude does, so why didn't the Flores hear the SOS on arrival? Nevermind.) Monroy is about 70 when you find him, and he was the leader when the Caravel arrived, so assuming he had to be at least 35, the colonization and extermination happened pretty fast.

The parts that make zero sense include the fact that despite the Pax leaving these massive ruins behind in some areas, there's absolutely no evidence of them in the area where the Flores people land, and even the Altered don't seem to know about them even though the Altered are psychic etc...

It doesn't really work if you think about it.

In terms of your character's appearance, I always just assumed that was a matter of time and exposure. Gauss also looks like Seth and the rest, but I figured that maybe the appearance changes over time as they used their powers? Nobody seems put off by your appearance anyway.

What annoyed me more about the other Altered is that the game spends a lot of time talking about them and building them up and then Moloch kills Seth, defeats you in combat...and just kind of vanished from the game. Nothing Seth was doing was actually important and Moloch never tries to interfere with what you're doing. The whole thing is a big narrative cul-de-sac. Moloch seems like he should be the boss of the game, but he's not, and he doesn't seem to actually know anything about what's going on, and as far as I could tell neither did Seth, despite all his grand claims to be fighting a much more important war.

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bicycleham

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@bigsocrates: I found the whole Moloch/Seth thing to be weird too. In the demo Seth mentions Moloch in a hushed tone like he's a big bad doing something big off past the warzone and I had also assumed he'd be the big boss at the end of the game and would be doing some bad shit like amassing an altered army or something. But then it turns out he's literally just a nobody that kills a people on the front line of an expansion war on the front and you kill him like any other old boss.

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bigsocrates

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@bicycleham: Except that you don't kill him. You fight him and you lose and he is still around at the end of the game (he watches the pods fall.) It's really strange. It's like a Batman movie where the Joker appears 25% of the way in and is introduced in a big scene, he and Batman fight and he escapes, and then he disappears from the movie and instead Batman spends the rest of the time tracking down and locking up Killer Croc.

Of course the actual last boss also apparently survives your encounter so your character apparently only kills regular people.

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bicycleham

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@bicycleham: Except that you don't kill him. You fight him and you lose and he is still around at the end of the game (he watches the pods fall.)

I think you just made me realize that my final cutscene was more bugged than I originally believed. My audio was out of sync from Zahedi launching the pods from inside the Careval onwards and I ended up skipping past seeing Corrigan watching the pods call since it was unbearable watching everything out of sync. I wonder what purpose Moloch even serves for the game since People Can Fly were so nebulous about after launch support.

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BladeOfCreation

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I just finished this by myself and will be playing with friends later this week. I have a lot of thoughts. I mostly mainlined the story, as I plan to do everything when I play later.

As more things about the Pax and the Caravel started to be revealed, I actually thought they were gonna go with a time travel scenario. Something like the anomaly messes with time as well as the physical world, and the Pax were actually humans from the far future who evolved on Enoch. But no, the great reveal about how the Caravel got there first is simply...they built a faster engine.

The entire latter part of the game felt like they ran out of budget. An exposition-heavy flashback in a cutscene is one thing. Instead we get a series of expostion-heavy journal entries. I can't think of another game that does it quite like this.

What did Chekov say about superhuman villains?

This game can't decide if it wants to be darkly humorous, defiantly hopeful, or depressingly nihilistic. It tries on all three without ever committing to one. The worst tonal whiplash comes from the artifacts you find from Earth. The lady you turn them into has a standard line whenever you talk to her where she says that we don't have much of a future if we don't remember our past. Okay, that's a reasonable sentiment for someone collecting historical artifacts to express. Except, when you actually turn in the item, she waxes nostalgic for a minute and then goes into some line about how humans are fucked up, everything will fail, and there's no point.

The core of this game, the gameplay, is pretty fun even if it's not balanced for single player. But the story is just terrible, depressing for the sake of being depressing, treading old ground without saying anything new, and resolving nothing in the end.

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Sahalarious

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Most games have pretty bad stories, but the gameplay here is even worse IMO. Seems like this game is love it or hate it,power to the lovers but oh boy do I think it's a bland turd

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Dareitus

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@topcyclist: The story can be bad and the game still be fine. I'm around 30 hours in, looping expeditions to unlock the final bit, but I agree with everything OP said and then some. It's not a death knell it is what is. If you come to the game for a story you'll be disappointed. If you come to the game for good 3rd person combat, rewarding loot, satisfying gore, and/or goofing off with friends then you'll enjoy it like I did.

I'd also be remiss to point out your opening implying the OP might be "triggered" or some nonsense is completely unneeded. You can say you liked the story or whatever without some vague notion that someone might have personal issues effecting their judgement. General hint, anytime you feel the need to be like "(not you)" should probably tell you the thing your saying doesn't need to be said.

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bigsocrates

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@topcyclist: For what it's worth I saw your original post and neither it nor the game's story offended me. I have thicker skin than that.

I'm not sure why you're defending a story you haven't seen or experienced because the issues go way beyond the specific plot in my summary, which I provided mostly so people who didn't want to play the game would have some understanding of what I was talking about. A lot of the issues come down to how the story is told (the quality of the dialog and performances, how the lines relate to one another, and the fact that the in the back third of the game everything is relegated to notes you find) and just how much of it there is in a game that's not structured to tell a story. That's not really possible to get across in a forum post.

Your main defenses seem to be that the story was surprising and that some people like it (I can name a particular person who seems to have enjoyed it; Paul Tassi, the Forbes video games writer.)

The story is kind of surprising, mostly because it spends a lot of time on narrative false leads. That doesn't make it good. Any story can be surprising if it does stuff out of left field. If in the movie the Dark Knight it had turned out that The Joker was actually Richard Nixon back from the dead that would have been surprising but it would have been bad. Outriders isn't quite that outlandish and there were hints that this signal could have been human from the beginning, but the whole back half of the game's plot has almost no connection to the front half, and generating surprise by totally switching tracks is not the sign of good writing.

As for some people liking the story and your claim that those of us who don't are taking it too seriously, I'm not sure what to say. Some people will like anything. That's not really a defense. Neither is "it's just a game, bro, who cares?" Like...sure. You can choose not to care whether the story is good or bad and many people do, but so what? Despite what you said, nobody expected this game to be Hugo award winning sci-fi, but it's bad even by the standards of video games. I can name a lot of video game stories that I liked or just liked more. I even liked Bulletstorm's story, by this same developer, because it didn't take itself seriously and could be appreciated as goofy fun and not a grim tale about colonialism and genocide that's told with serious intent by a character who has also laughed off a lot of people dying previously.

As for the quality of the game itself...nobody's really talking about that in this thread. There's another impressions thread where I shared my thoughts on that. Despite the story being bad I don't really think it's a bad game. I think it's flawed in a lot of ways (not just the story) but it has a lot going for it too and I understand why some people really dig it. This thread isn't about the game as a whole.

You're entitled to your opinion and for what it's worth I didn't think you needed to delete the previous post. I didn't agree with it but I didn't feel personally attacked. Maybe some day you'll play this game and you'll love the story and that will be great because it's better when people like the games that they play and the stories those games tell.

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Haz_Kaj

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I think the game is fine. Played it on gamepass and while it's not amazing there's a decent game in there at times. The biggest problem is online only.

Give me games like this over call of duty anyday.

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BladeOfCreation

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The story is kind of surprising, mostly because it spends a lot of time on narrative false leads. That doesn't make it good. Any story can be surprising if it does stuff out of left field. If in the movie the Dark Knight it had turned out that The Joker was actually Richard Nixon back from the dead that would have been surprising but it would have been bad. Outriders isn't quite that outlandish and there were hints that this signal could have been human from the beginning, but the whole back half of the game's plot has almost no connection to the front half, and generating surprise by totally switching tracks is not the sign of good writing.

This right here (emphasis added by me). Narrative false leads and out-of-left-field plot reveals don't make a good story. There's also the fact that the base problems of the colonists haven't been solved: at the end of the game, the political situation is the same as it is at the beginning. An influx of resources isn't going to solve the problem. It's just going to cause the factions to fight over the resources.

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bigsocrates

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@bladeofcreation: I understand what you're saying here, though I think that not resolving the situation wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if it were done better. Leaving stuff for the sequel or just having a downer ending are both valid choices. The Mass Effect series is just one example of games that had positive reactions to their stories despite a lack of resolution of the ongoing threat. A lot of stories end with limited or temporary victories.

I think that the issue here runs deeper. For one thing the people who are affected by the supply pods have been long forgotten in the story. You're presumably doing this to help the people in the warzone, but you haven't been in the warzone for like 10-12 hours at that point. There's no real emotional connection to helping those people in the end because you've just been following Monroy.

In addition, this compounds itself with the other issue we've talking about regarding narrative false leads. Take Mass Effect 1. By stopping Saren you don't prevent the Reaper invasion, but you do overcome an enemy who has been built up over the course of the game, and you have an emotional investment in stopping (At least if the game has done its job.) In Outriders it's true the villain did kill your best friend, but other than that you basically know nothing about him, and there was a whole other villain built up over the first half of the game. You just don't care about beating him. And that blunts the impact of the ending perhaps moreso than the fact that your victory is only partially.

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BladeOfCreation

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@bigsocrates: I agree with all of that, but I think a major difference between Outriders and Mass Effect is that Mass Effect was marketed as a trilogy from the jump. In Mass Effect 1, you defeat Saren and Soveriegn.

In ME 2, you defeat the Collectors. In ME 3, you defeat the Reapers. Outriders doesn't have the luxury of the audience knowing to expect more. Yes, there might be a sequel...but also there might not be. Even as recently as this week, the developers are saying they'll make more, if that's what people want. It's that uncertainty that makes the ending ring hollow.

To be fair, this isn't unique to Outriders at all. It's endemic to the entire medium of video games, in which stories can never just end, because the POTENTIAL for a sequel exists if the game happens to sell enough copies to please the publisher. Another game whose ending suffered from this is Horizon: Zero Dawn, which had a mid-credits scene that was blatantly setting up for a potential sequel in a way that was entirely contrived and stupid.

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bigsocrates

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@bladeofcreation: Sure, leaving an opening for sequels is a common practice and can reduce the satisfaction that comes from finishing a story, but I think most people liked the story for Horizon and even if they didn't like that mid credit stinger it didn't ruin what was there. I just feel like Outriders issues, even just with the ending, run deeper than those in something like Horizon. If it were just "you didn't resolve the big issue" I would be more satisfied than "you get revenge for the Pax and then out of nowhere you have to fight their leader(?) and then you bring down the pods but you don't really talk to anyone about it.

The more I think about it the more the choice of the final boss is weird. Either Moloch or Monroy would have made sense as a final boss. I understand where they were going with the "build Monroy up as this monster but when you meet him he's just a pathetic man easily killed" idea, but if you're going to do that then at least have the courage of your convictions and have no final boss. Or make it Moloch, the other guy you've built up as this monster. Not a third guy.

And also for the Monroy story to work it needs to be the narrative thrust of the game instead of a second narrative thrust the game picks up after it forgets the first one.

It's such a weird story structure.

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BladeOfCreation

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@bigsocrates: Man, I hated having to fight a Pax as the final boss. With everything else I've said about the game, that was one of the worst moments and worst narrative decisions.

One of the logs you find near the end of the game is a journal entry from Doctor Ocasio in which she writes that she and others were given guns and forced to execute the people who stood up against Monroy. This is, for me, one of the few actually powerful moments of the game's narrative. Colonization also colonizes the mind of the colonizer. If you don't take the time to read the journal entries and you just listen to your character summarize them, you can completely miss this detail. There are no innocent people in this story; there are, perhaps, people who still have a shred of humanity left.

ANYWAYS GO FIGHT THIS AWESOME BOSS WE DESIGNED!!!!

It's yet another case of the tonal whiplash that this game has in abundance.

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mekon

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Well, that's just like, your opinion, maan ;D

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bigsocrates

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@bladeofcreation: This awesome boss we designed who is very mechanically similar to a miniboss we just had you fight.

I read the logs you're talking about and there was some okay stuff in there mixed in with some trite and cliche stuff. I think it would have been more effective if it had taken place in the context of something else happening. Instead you're following in the steps of this colonizer and killing the last remnants of the people they colonized but it's okay because they're "feral" now and the game doesn't seem to know or acknowledge that you're finishing Monroy's work.

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I must really be in the minority here but I loved the story specifically the ending. If you read all the collectibles in order Monroys transformation hits so much more emotionally. I also like how much story it was. Refreshing to see. I think the cutscenes are great and I like the shaky cam. I specifically liked how cold the protagonist is and how he/she shoots first and asks questions later. Jakub is my favorite character and I like the quest you get with Channa about Jakub. This was one of the best stories in a sci-fi game in a while I think. Polish people know games and how to tell a story just look at Outriders (amazing) and Cyberpunk 2077 (amazing) and yes I'm serious I love everything about Cyberpunk 2077 10/10 with bugs.

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