Outriders is a new three-player co-op looter-shooter following in the steps of Destiny, Warframe and The Division. It’s a brand new IP from People Can Fly and know the difficulties others have had in successfully launching games like this it’s going to be interesting to watch and see how this game does. I’m a huge fan of the genre and this is definitely one for the watch list.

This is a third-person shooter from a developer with a history working on Painkiller, Bulletstorm and also helping out with the Gear of War franchise. At first glance, you can see the influence from Gears of War with the camera being set behind the main character.

Clearly inspired by Destiny, Outriders is set in space and includes RPG elements, social hubs and special abilities. People can fly have emphasised the role of story in the game with a narrative set to take centre stage. The game can be played solo or with up to 3 players in total in co-op modes.

The story focuses on a group of soldiers who are influenced by an unknown entity called ‘The Anomaly’ while trying to colonise a planet called Enoch. Most of the soldiers on Enoch are killed by the mysterious force, with a few leftovers who become infected. The soldiers were led to Enoch by an unknown signal. After most were disposed of by The Anomaly the remaining Soldiers woke from a comatose state revealing new powers.

These new powers split the players into the class system in the game. There are Pyromancers, Devastators and Tricksters. Pyromancers can control fire, Tricksters are cunning and fast whereas Devastators are the tank class dealing huge amounts of damage. Each class has strengths and weaknesses, and – crucially – a different way of healing, all of which greatly define how you play the game. The Pyromancer, for example, heals whenever he or she puts down something on fire, while the Devastator and Trickster benefit from close-up kills. This adds a lot of variety to how you play the game – something which only increases as you defeat enemies and build up your characters.

Although there’s space magic in the game, the core of the game is focused on gunplay. Guns and loot are central to the game with numbers popping out of enemies as you shoot them. There are different rarities of weapons similar to a game like Destiny and The Division with one of the main aims of the game to level up your weapons and armour to get the best loot in the game.

There’s a huge skill tree for each character too where you can create specific builds to match your play style. The abilities you curate through the skill trees work with other players too so you can create specific combos and cause massive damage numbers together as a team. The combat is fast-paced and rewards more aggressive play rather than creeping around corners. In a throwback to Gears of War, there’s also a familiar cover-based system you can use in combat and from the footage we’ve seen so far the combat looks pretty fun.

Outriders introduced an interesting mechanic for difficulty called World Tiers. You can change difficulty in battle depending on how you are getting on in the game. As you progress you’ll unlock new, difficult world tiers. The game organically finds the right world tier for you. You can make Outriders a ‘just here for the story’ kind of game, or make the game tough as nails. The harder the game is, the better rewards. When you get up to the higher world tiers you’ll have to optimise your loadout to continue. Whenever you die you loose world tier points, levelling out your in-game experience making sure you don’t go into something that’s too high level. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

The RPG mechanics in Outriders are going to be front and centre. You can level up, customise your gear and weapons as well as speak to NPCs in the social hubs in the game. As we mentioned before there’s plenty of loot with chests all over the game full of meaningful loot. Character development is a big part of the game too. Outriders feature a flexible system that allows you to build your character in many different ways. Every class as multiple skills available, although you can only have a few of them equipped at one time. There are also character mods, which can be game-changing.

When you level up, you’ll earn class points, which you can use to modify your character. These could be stat boosts to improve particular skills or buffs that make you more effective with firearms – but right from the start, you’ll have a surprising amount of control over how your Outrider grows. The result is that no two characters will feel the same – even if they’re the same class. Two Pyromancers, for example, could play very differently, with different strengths and weakness that let them take on different roles on the battlefield.

Outriders look fun and certainly has a set of ambitious goals. It’s looking to go into a busy looter-shooter genre where chances of succeeding are very tough indeed. Just look at what happened to Anthem. This came out of BioWare, a hugely successful developer with an awesome back catalogue who were backed by EA, a published with tons of marketing money. That failed spectacularly.

People Can Fly certainly have some good experience, but here they are taking on the looter-shooter, action RPG. From what I have seen it looks interesting, however, only time will tell if Outriders will be a success. The game is set for release in Summer 2020 on PS4, Xbox One and then later on PS5 and Xbox Series X.

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