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First Impressions: Outriders – a beautiful and deep sci-fi looter-shooter

Blast through your enemies in a multitude of ways in this epic looter shooter from People Can Fly.

outriders spider boss
Image: KnowTechie

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A brand new looter-shooter has come to console and PC. Outriders is a third-person sci-fi title from Polish developers People Can Fly. The game is being published by Square Enix and made its way to PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, as well as PC on April 1.

In Outriders, you play as a soldier, tasked with helping to rebuild society after the inevitable destruction of Earth. After traveling through space for some time, humanity reaches Enoch, a planet that seems suitable for human life. However after you are sent as part of a brief scouting mission to determine the safety of the planet, you quickly discover that the planet is not safe at all.

A strange anomaly is causing shifts in the physics of the world around you, and the planet begins to become more dangerous. Most of the scouting party is destroyed, and you are also affected by some strange power. Near the end of the prologue, you are put into a cryogenic container where you will be preserved until the anomaly is over. What you wake up to is the furthest from scenario from what you might have expected.

Being a huge looter-shooter fan, it only took one look to know that I had to give Outriders a try. This weekend, Josiah and I dove into the game, and I absolutely loved it. The servers had some initial scaling issues on Friday night and during the day Saturday, but once we got past that boss, the game was pretty damn fun.

Gameplay is similar to what you can find in The Division. It’s third-person, utilizes a cover system, and you have different abilities that you can trigger, taking it from simply a shooter to something that makes class choice actually matter.

Unique classes with different playstyles

outriders class selection screen
Image: Outriders

After you are affected by the anomaly and just before you are put into cryogenic freeze, you get to choose one of the four classes available in the game. Essentialy, the planet’s anomaly has infused you with some sort of powers that are defined by whichever of the four classes you can choose.

There are four classes you can choose from: Technomancer, Pyromancer, Trickster, and Devastator, and they all have impressive skill trees that allow for unique builds to maximize a class’s potential. I tried out the first three, and one of Josiah’s characters was a Devastator.

I personally couldn’t figure out which class was my favorite, as they all could be played in a multitude of different ways. The Technomancer class has a multitude of utility skills and is meant to be used as a ranged character, though it is perfectly viable to play up close with the Technomancer. It has various turrets and explosive skills that help to control the battlefield.

The Pyromancer is a class that focuses on damaging enemies with various abilities. And fire, lots of fire. All classes have a mechanic that allows them to heal by doing a specific kind of damage. The Technomancer gets healed no matter what damage they do, but for the Pyromancer to heal, you must hit enemies with class abilities. This leads to a more offensive approach with class abilities that do massive fire and explosive damage to multiple enemies.

The Trickster class is a master of time and space. This class contains a bunch of movement and time-slowing abilities, making it the perfect class for bouncing around the map. This class heals when doing close-ranged damage, so getting in and out of the middle of a fight is going to be your bread and butter with the Trickster class.

The last class is the Devastator, which is the classic tank class of Outriders. The Devastator is equipped with a lot of earth-based abilities, like stone shields and massive ground slams. The class also heals when damaging enemies up close, so a more in-your-face approach is probably the best for this one.

Lots of guns and gear for unique builds

outriders gear screen
Image: KnowTechie

Though we haven’t progressed to the end game in Outriders quite yet, I can definitely see the beginnings of what will be some pretty cool class building in the future of the game. There is a huge variety of different guns in the game. Everything from single-shot sniper rifles to automatic shotguns are found in Outriders and all of the guns have different perks that can be combined to build a character that any min-maxer would dream about.

All guns and armor in Outriders contain passive skill as well as mods. For guns, the passives and mods are generally things that can be directly pointed to the functionality of the weapon itself. A shotgun might have a mod that makes it do extra fire damage when shot, or you could have an assault rifle that has a 30% chance to not consume ammo when hitting headshots.

In the case of armor, the passives are generally overall stats to characters, such as increased anomaly power or armor. Where the real class building begins is in the mods that are found on armor. Armor mods are specifically tailored to an ability from that armor’s class.

This means that as a Trickster, the armor that you find in the world that has mods will have mods for abilities specific to your class. This could be a mod that decreases the cooldown on your teleport ability or one that makes your time-freeze cover an area twice as large. Combining different mods together will help you maximize your character’s ability, taking you farther in the game.

Compelling and engaging story

outriders level showcase
Image: KnowTechie

After a brief introduction to your class after the anomaly hits you, the game really begins once you are discovered in a cryo-chamber. You are found by some bystanders who must make a quick escape from some supposed bad individuals. You soon find that you have been in stasis for over 30 years, and the world of Enoch has changed quite a bit since you were last awake.

After a few introductions, you begin to make your way across the fantastic world, and you soon discover the changes for yourself. In addition to warring factions of humans and other individuals who were given power by the anomaly, you discover that everything in the world has become more dangerous and deadly. Animals have evolved to become nasty predators and humans may have become even nastier.

The combat in Outriders is exciting and difficult. In addition to character levels, there are world tiers that you must progress through to obtain more gear. As you become more skilled and begin to get some synergizing gear, even the most miniscule fights become a challenge, where you have to deal with multiple types of enemies with different skill sets. This makes every fight challenging and engaging as you work your way towards becoming more and more powerful.

The story takes you through the stunning landscape of Enoch where you fight all kinds of foes, large and small. From small scale battles with groups of soldiers to massive fights against giant fire spiders inside of an active volcano, Outriders has gripping gameplay that, along with a compelling story and stunning graphics, help to keep you immersed in the world of Enoch, and leave you longing for what will happen next.

There’s our first look at Outriders. There’s no doubt that I have barely scratched the surface of this game, and I’m excited to see how the rest of it looks. So far, I am hooked. I’ve been looking for a good looter-shooter lately, and Outriders has come at the perfect time. Hopefully, the server issues are a thing of the past now. I look forward to experiencing the rest of what the game has to offer.

Outriders is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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