When Outriders was revealed in February last year, I wasn’t too interested in what I saw, and the trailers preceding the reveal weren’t helping much either. I had completely written it off and stopped paying attention to it until one of my friends told me there would be a demo of the game releasing just a few weeks ago. I still had my same lack of intrigue, but I did give it a shot, but not even the demo really gripped me. It’s a well-made game from what I played, but nothing invested me until I found a specific video describing their plans for the game past its campaign.
The video “Outriders: Post-Campaign Content” gave a thorough rundown of what kind of game Outriders will be outside of what we’ve experienced on the surface with the provided demo. This video details that after you experience the forty-hour-long campaign, a whole new content realm is available to you. It’s not just three to five bite-sized missions in areas you’ve already spent the forty hours in exploring. Fourteen new levels will have their own unique feel to them, and completing them helps to unlock a mysterious “Eye of the storm” activity that we don’t have any info on yet.
These new missions are initiated from a whole new base camp where you have to complete all the objectives in a certain amount of time to avoid losing potential rewards. You can even go at your own pace with a level tier system to climb the level system carefully instead of dealing with unnecessary spikes in difficulty you wouldn’t know you’re unable to handle. However, to get to the very top, you will have to endure the brutal spikes in difficulty. By this time, though, you’ll be more seasoned and wanting a challenge… hopefully. Along the ride to the top, you will have to engage in an interesting crafting and modding system that will be important to finding a preferred playstyle that helps make the post-game challenges easier on you.
The crafting system by itself is not actually what you think it is. It’s more beneficial than a relentless time sink. You’re not crafting guns or armor in the game. Instead, you’re using materials to upgrade existing loot, which extends the rarity, power, or defense. Even the firing mode of weapons can be changed using the crafting system. The modding system alongside this allows you to use ability or weapon mods dismantled from weapons and armor to replace any existing mods with pretty much anything you think is a good combo. The example used in the video showed the developer dismantling a legendary gun that has a mod that allows lightning rounds and used this mod to enhance a weapon that fires freezing bullets for a devastating combo.
These legendary guns can also contain mods that allow you to harness powers from any of the four classes in the game, allowing you to take the best of two or three worlds and form a playstyle around it. Together with the post-game content offerings, these systems create something genuinely unique that caters more to the player than trying to get them involved in endgame systems that have become exhausting to most but enjoyed by some in the existing looter shooters.
With catering to the players, Outriders marketing has been more about ensuring players know they won’t have to experience “recycled content” and that “the game is a complete experience straight out of the box” with no “live service” elements. All of this makes Outriders seem like the looter shooter we always wanted but never got. Even the approach to tone in its story is so different, and it aims to make you feel like a badass in the middle of a war because of people you know being trapped in it, but also never taking itself too seriously. Every cutscene has hints of sarcasm laced into serious moments like finding a lost lieutenant who didn’t give off the best of impressions, dying for it and your character relaying that to the mission giver.
Outriders isn’t trying to be different, and it is different. It gives off the impression that People Can Fly watched every release of looter shooters over this console generation and made it a goal to not only avoid the mistakes but go the extra mile with confidence. Knowing that not being a live service could be a detriment, the content and post-game systems will keep people wanting to play to discover everything they can, I know I will, and maybe you should too.
Outriders have a demo available on all platforms aside from the Nintendo Switch and will be removed upon launch of the full game, April 1st.
Update: On March, 15th 2020, Xbox announced that Outriders would be coming to Xbox Game Pass on its release date of April 1st.