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Outriders demo: we dive right in and give our first impressions (updated)

Outriders is gearing up for its official release on April 1 2021. We check out the hype, dive into the demo, and give our first impressions.

Outriders is picking up steam ahead of its release. The cooperative third-person role-playing game takes place in a stunningly dark sci-fi universe that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. It looks like a sweet combination of Mass Effect, Gears of War, and Destiny.

Outriders’ setup involves the last bastion of humanity finding a new planet to start again on. However, if the trailer is anything to go by, nothing goes to plan. The planet, or a mysterious event, awakens something powerful and dangerous in the human population; dividing humanity into warring factions.

outriders gameplay

While the game initially appears to be a massively-multiplayer online game, the developers have suggested this isn’t the case. The game reportedly has a clear narrative beginning and ending, with no microtransactions or other live service features. This is refreshing to hear; meaning that gamers can enjoy adventuring with other players without the lingering fear that the game will end up consuming their entire existence (here’s to you World of Warcraft).

Gameplay will focus on the tactical interplay between four playable classes: the Trickster, Pyromancer, Devastator, and Technomancer. Each class will have a unique set of abilities and be able to improve their capabilities through a skill tree system. The game has been designed around this cooperative concept and the synergy between the classes is one of the things we are most excited to experience. Despite this, the game can be played solo if that’s how you prefer to roll.

We can’t wait to see how this all plays out; and consequently will be streaming the Outriders demo live from our studio.

First impressions from the demo

Alright guys, that was a bit of rollercoaster! I’m checking in directly after playing the first hour of the demo to report what I experienced and share my initial thoughts on the game.

First of all, Outriders looks pretty good. The sci-fi world is rendered rather beautifully by some nice graphics. However, the designers have done an equally impressive job creating a set of environments that transport the player into an alien atmosphere. The first 30 minutes fill you with wonder; the lush flora and fauna captured my imagination and I felt like I was a real part of this exciting exploratory expedition.

Then a catastrophic event occurs and everything goes to shit. This quick 180 is shocking; the way the world morphs from natural beauty to a manmade hell-scape held more poignancy than I expected. It was a powerful trick that succeeds in giving the world of Outriders an interesting history and a frightening, mysterious future to venture into.

outriders

That said, not everything in the game clicks. I felt that some of the characters leaned a little too hard into stereotypes, and there were a few moments where I found myself rolling my eyes at some stiff dialogue. However, nothing got in the way of my enjoyment of the game. In fact, some of these schlocky moments actually added to the fun; just like a good old fashioned B-movie.

Gameplay

Outriders blends elements from third-person shooters and action-orientated role-playing games. The most obvious parallel is the Mass Effect trilogy. However, the shooting here feels faster, sharper, and more impactful. An extra layer of depth is added to the combat with unique class-based abilities. I chose the Devastator class and quickly found myself able to smash the ground, enabling me to, well, devastate all the surrounding enemies

Another element I really enjoyed in the combat is that you only regenerate life through dealing damage. At first this might seem intimidating; you aren’t able to run away from a threat, regroup, and heal. That said, once I got used to the mechanic, I found that it encouraged an aggressive playstyle that was both rewarding and fun.

outriders fight

The role-playing mechanics are simple, yet effective, and help the player connect with their character and the surrounding world. You can customise your appearance, deck yourself out with different weapons and armour, and chose what you say. Sort of.

I got the impression the dialogue system functions mostly as exposition; you can ask for more information on something, but it won’t change what you can do about it.

While I prefer a more in-depth role-playing system, Outriders‘ mechanics are inline with what most successful modern RPGs offer. You will feel attached to your character and understand their place in the world; just don’t expect to deviate from what the developers have planned for you.

outriders gameplay

Final thoughts

I love the way that People Can Fly and Square Enix have put this demo out. It gives players a solid chance to test the game out and see if it’s to their individual taste. Importantly, players can also sample how the game performs on different platforms; deciding which one works best for them. Considering the clusterfuck that has been Cyberpunk 2077, this is shrewd and a real good-guy move.

Currently, I haven’t had the chance to see how the multiplayer system works. However, it apparently allows cross-platform play, which is great for increasing the number of friends you can game with. I will also say that Outriders‘ gameplay mechanics should make for a great co-operative experience; it’s fast, frantic, and exciting. The different classes and their unique abilities should also guarantee a synergy between players looking to work together.

So what I’m saying is this: it’s rare to be given this much for free. Outriders is an exciting title that, at least in the early stages of the game, gets a lot right. Grab a few friends and jump into the fray!

The Outriders demo is currently available on Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.