Outriders - Tested the demo

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

Square Enix and People Can Fly to the rescue?

Let's face it: the Outriders demo is and will be divisive. During the field test, EpicTrick has in fact found that the use of the first hours of play of the work signed by the Painkiller team, whose release is scheduled for next April 1st on practically all platforms on the market, obviously fails to respond univocally to the questions that emerged from the day the project was announced, leaving the user in fervent expectation of the complete product and at the mercy of his own, very personal, reflections on the goodness of the game, alternating great potential with some decidedly less promising aspects.

The new binary creature of the developers known to the general public for Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment can be defined as a mix between Destiny's multiplayer chromosomes and those of any of the third-person cover shooters, embellished with extra features and not at all obvious such as full support for cross play and, within the same ecosystem, cross save. For the record, matchmaking with random people around the globe doesn't seem to work perfectly yet, but there is time before the full release to fix things.

As per the intentions of the development team and what seems to emerge from the demo, Outriders also focuses on storytelling to envelop the player in their voluptuous coils: without wishing to go into too much detail in the preview, know that the plot sees humanity ready to colonize the planet Enoch, but the theoretically habitable planet closest to Earth soon turns into a lethal nightmare, a real potentially paradisiacal dimension bent to a fratricidal and relentless fight that will hopefully see the gamer rise to the supreme hero of the whole affair.

The cutscenes through which the story is told are, at least in the prologue, frequent and not too successful technically, with a frame cap set at thirty frames per second which, the developers promise, will be removed in the final product. The desire to focus on a narrative sector that is relevant to the entire production makes people can fly broom with the intentions of wanting to base the whole experience on a frenetic and at the same time reasoned gameplay.

What appears to be just any cover shooter, soon turns into one shooter that places the exploitation of the skills made available on the same level as the ballistic skills and the goodness of the equipment displayed on the battleground. The exploitation of the available skills, which can be used after a classic cooldown, allows a refill of the life points in the case of killing the target enemy scum.

Considering the large number of skills and the four classes hosted by the Outriders binary, the range of possibilities offered appears from now on quite intriguing. As if that were not enough, in parallel with the learning of new skills, it is possible to take advantage of the enhancements offered by a rather articulated skill tree, which we can't wait to explore. The available loot appears to be already so much and quite varied, both in terms of aesthetics and in the main characteristics of each item that can be equipped. Note how much of the collectible loot offers further enhancements than simply increasing the player's statistics, such as upgrades to skills already obtained. A consideration must be made regarding the apparent scarce exploitation of verticality: in the battles undertaken, a few times it has happened that you have to raise your aim to fish for the heads of the brutal bad guys unleashed by the game flow.

Graphically, the Outriders demo is quite convincing, even if the product is anchored to an overall quite last gen aesthetic. Although the rendered scenes are quite clean, the impression is that the whole game is really made with the last generation of hardware in mind, presenting geometrically not particularly complex and extensive environments. People Can Fly still has some work to do from an optimization standpoint as well: Especially on PC, the frame rate is somewhat unstable, not doing justice to the playful plot inked by the development team.

There is still a month left until Outriders comes out. The goodness of the gameplay offered in this demo clashes with a technical realization that is not always up to par and some doubts regarding the real ambitions of a project that could end up crushed by the plethora of similar productions already on the market. How will he fare? A few more weeks and we'll find out.

► Outriders is a Shooter-RPG type game developed by People Can Fly and published by Square Enix for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Google Stadia, the video game was released on 01/04/2021

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