Outriders came out just a few short weeks ago, and with the time that I’ve had to play it, there’s been some really truly amazing aspects of the game that I absolutely love, and there’s been some things that I love just a tad bit less. Then there’s the one thing that I absolutely despise and quite nearly ruins the entire experience for me: the cutscenes. God, the cutscenes in Outriders are just the absolute worst part about this game, and I still can’t wrap my head around why they were done the way that they were. So, what makes Outriders so great, and why are the cutscenes so damn bad? Full disclosure, I received a review copy of Outriders for review purposes, but my opinion of the game would remain the same either way. Be warned, minor spoilers may lie ahead, so if you haven’t played Outriders yet, do that now.
After the launch of the Outriders demo, I wasn’t too sure about how I felt about Outriders’ story. Quite honestly, it was a huge letdown, and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue exploring the world of Enoch afterwards. However, I hopped back in on day one and it got so much better. It’s not every day that you see such a pessimistic protagonist in a video game, much less one that drops f-bomb after f-bomb in almost every sentence. The gritty edginess of Outriders eventually grew on me, and I started to actually become invested in the story and I wanted to know which future Channah’s visions led. If there’s a single character that stands out amongst the crowd, of course, it has to be Jakub. Jakub is, without a doubt, the Cayde-6 of Outriders, and I was instantly attached to him. His humor, his sarcasm, his gleeful optimism….okay, maybe that last part was a bit of Jakub’s signature sarcasm, but that’s what makes him great.
The gameplay in Outriders takes a bit of getting used to, but is very fun once you’ve gotten the hang of it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this all over Twitter (thanks, Paul Tassi), but the cover system is there for the enemies’ safety, not yours. Once you get this one simple idea ingrained into your thought process, the entire premise of the game shifts. You start actively engaging enemies without so much as a moment of hesitation or regard for your own safety. You do this, because the game gives you plenty of methods of healing…so long as you’re playing in the most aggressive way that you possibly can. You gain health from kills on marked targets, you get health from bullets, you get health from certain abilities, you get health from just about every source in the game, just as long as you’re out there slaying. I love how the game feels after the prologue, because during the prologue of the game, I had almost put it down, simply because it felt so bland. However, all of this changes once you pick up some real guns and unlock your first abilities; the game becomes almost an entirely different entity.
The graphics could definitely use some work, as I’ve noticed that they are incredibly inconsistent throughout the game. I’m not sure why, but the actual in-game visuals are so much better than the cutscene visuals, with a lot of textures missing and just overall weirdness within the cutscenes themselves. It’s odd that this is the case, given that it’s usually the other way around. Even with the game in DirectX 12 mode on Ultra settings on PC with a 2080, the graphics just don’t measure up to how they should. In-game visuals, on the other hand, are stunning. There’s one mission, at the beginning of the game, that takes place in the snowy mountains and I remember being blown away at how beautiful the game looked. There’s definitely performance issues here and there, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the demo was, and it’s nice to see that the frame rate issues, along with others, have been fixed for the full release of the game.
Here’s where the game goes south – like South Pole south. I just can’t understand why the cutscenes in Outriders are so inconsistent. I dread every time a new cutscene starts to play, because I know it’s just going to be weird and completely ruin the entire mood of the scene. The cutscenes in Outriders are so quick to fade to black, that they quite literally cut people off before they’re even finished. This leads to so many pacing issues for the story and it makes what could have been great story moments fall completely flat and leave the player wondering….why?
Overall, I’m still very happy with Outriders and I would give it a solid 8.5/10, but I really do hope that People Can Fly does something to fix these cutscenes, so that I can replay the story and experience it in a non-jarring way.