Review: Outriders Demo
By: Jeremy “Danger” Tharp
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, PS5, XB1, XB Series X, Steam
Outriders is a 1-3 player co-op game taking place on humanity’s last hope, the world of Enoch. You play as one of the last Outriders that were sent to scout out Enoch in support of the final effort for humanity to find a new home after Earth has been made uninhabitable. After the planet is found out to be not everything it was hoped to be, your character is thrust into events that then lead to the current setting of the game.
Outriders can be best described as a mixture of looter-shooters like The Division series and Borderlands, mixed with People Can Fly’s trademark aggressive gunplay and gameplay. The Outriders’ demo is a great taste of the gameplay that can be expected from the final game.
The Outriders demo begins with customizing your character to begin your drop onto Enoch’s surface. You have options for a fair amount of hairstyles, facial features, etc. Sadly there is no option for an eye scar, my favorite feature.
After a short intro to the game’s setting, controls, and backstory; a significant event changes everything for not only the player but the entirety of the human race. You are thrust into the world of Enoch as it exists and as an Ascended which gives you the powers of one of the four classes.
The classes are the Trickster, Devastator, Pyromancer, and Technomancer. These classes elevate the gameplay from a typical third-person shooter to an exciting RPG-Shooter hybrid. The Trickster focuses on close range, hit-and-run tactics. The Devastator is the tanky, close-range punishment dealer and receiver. The Pyromancer is a medium-range fire-based damage over time character. Finally, the Technomancer is a long-range specialist with a variety of skills to support and keep the enemy at arm’s length. Each of the classes also have unique ways to recover their health, based on the role they play in the flow of combat.
The gameplay rewards aggressive gunplay as opposed to passive cover-based pop and shoot fighting like other third-person shooters. The story is much more involved than any other looter-shooter I have played recently, and that’s just from the demo so far. There are multiple cutscenes and journal entries that flesh out the world, its characters, and your place in it.
Having played on PC with a mid-range computer I was still able to run the game at the highest settings in my resolution of 1920x1080 without any slowdown, which speaks to the developers’ focus on optimization of the game. I really enjoyed my time with Outriders and tested out all the classes, finding them fun and balanced. Their aggressive approach to the gameplay is something that has not been focused on in previous games of the genre. The game’s inherent design for drop-in co-op is a huge boon, as opposed to the instanced norm of the past in the genre.
The game features cross-platform play for all of the consoles the game is available on, which is something more co-op games should embrace. Players won’t have to choose between playing with some friends and snubbing others based on their platform of choice.
The Outriders demo offers 3+ hours of gameplay per character class for free on all platforms in anticipation of its release soon. I was sold on the full game from the demo itself and purchased it on Steam after playing with my friends. My singular worry going forward is the same as with all games of this genre, the endgame. I find personally that I always enjoy leveling and going through the story in looter-shooters, but am often let down by the lack of content/incentive to play once I’ve reached max level.
That said, the fact the Outriders is so confident in their content and game that they have released such a large demo bodes well about the length of the game and endgame potential. I am excited about the potential of Outriders and look forward to playing with my friends in the coming weeks.
Thank you to People Can Fly and Square-Enix for releasing such a robust demo for review.
Microsoft has announced that Outriders will be coming to Xbox Game Pass April 1.