The Outriders demo is here and is free to download now across PlayStation, Xbox and PC and the demo gives you a comprehensive taste of what to expect when the full game launches at the start of April. This is the newest looter-shooter to come onto the market from developers People Can Fly and so far it’s off to a good start. The following is my review of the demo, but I recommend downloading it for yourself and giving it a go given it’s free.
The Outriders Demo gives you the full introduction to the game including narrative cutscenes, a couple of story missions, some side missions and a boss fight. A little way into the demo you can pick your class, from which there are four to choose from. From start to finish the first time around the demo will take around 2-3 hours, but if you want to do it over again (which I would recommend to try out the other classes) then it’ll take less time as you can skip the prologue and jump straight to the point where you get to choose your class. This is a nice time-saving feature, so after I finished up my first playthrough with the Pyromancer, I jumped straight back in with a Trickster.
As well as the story, combat and classes you can test out the loot. Progressing through the demo you’ll get to pick up white, green and blue gear – then if you are lucky you’ll find one of the elusive legendary weapons in the game. Given this is a looter-shooter the loot-game is very important to Outriders in terms of the player base. If People Can Fly can get the gameplay loop right, then they could be onto a winner.
At first in the demo, I found the whole thing a little clunky. The game doesn’t look great at the time, the environments are grey on brown and the game’s movement doesn’t feel as good as Destiny. However, this may be an unfair comparison because Destiny is the best in the business at movement and shooting. I’m not a massive fan of cover-based shooters either – I bought both The Division and Division 2, but I hardly got through either of them as I simply dropped off from getting bored. The cover isn’t really my thing.
What you learn when playing Outriders though is the cover isn’t really for you, it’s for the enemies. It pays to be aggressive in the game and run in there and shoot enemies. That’s the way you trigger health regeneration in the game, but taking it away from the enemy with your gun or abilities. You can take a cautious approach if you want to, but the game rewards you for being aggressive and getting stuck in with the enemies.
For my first playthrough, I wasn’t really getting on with the combat at all. I was dying a lot and combat didn’t feel great. This all changed on my second playthrough all down to the class I was using. There are four classes to choose from in Outriders – Pyromancer (medium-range Fire), Trickster (short-range time manipulator), Devastator (short-range defensive), Technomancer (long-range support class). Each class has it’s own personality and feels pretty good to play, all perhaps except the Technomancer perhaps due to the long-range nature of the class. Outriders really promote you getting in there up close and sitting back doesn’t feel right.
The demo so far appears to have gone down well with looter-shooter fans. Outriders are in an interesting place, it’s not marketed as a live-service game. It’s going to have approx 35 hours of rich story and looting, however, there will be an end game. People Can Fly have released a really good video on their youtube channel, which I recommend you go and watch as they go into the endgame. I’ll be sure to check into the endgame once I finish the main story when Outriders releases in April. The demo is repeatable, meaning you can farm for legendary gear. The initial drop rate in the demo was pretty bad leading to People Can Fly tweaking the drop rates as fans simply weren’t getting drops of weapons – and ideally, you want players to experience the weapons in the demo.
One good feature of the demo is that progress is going to carry over to the main game, so if you do happen to find some great legendary gear then you’ll be able to keep that for good. The demo is going to live on too once the game comes out, so new players can always jump in, try it out to see if they like it and then go on to make the purchase if they want. The demo does give you a good taste of the game including combat, weapons, looting, single-player an co-op too (although I was having matchmaking issues on PS5 which was a shame).
I have been following the buzz around Outriders since it was announced and I’d say I am mildly looking forward to the game coming out. It’s entering a crowded market, once which has seen plenty of high profile failure with the final nail going into Anthem’s coffin recently and Avengers dying a slow death in front of our eyes… it feels like only a matter of time before it gets switched off. Outriders appear to have had a positive start with fans praising the loot and the combat. After playing for a few hours I have to say when the combat clicks it is a lot of fun. I was playing solo and I think it’d be great to jump in there with other people and play, so I recommend doing that if you have a clan or a regular group of folks to jump in with.
There’s plenty of positives with the demo, but there are also some drawbacks too. The graphics are a bit dull and bland, plus look very last gen. If you are downloading this on PS5 or Xbox One then you’re going to notice that quite quickly as it’s something that was developed with last-gen in mind. There are a few bugs here and there with the menus and the audio, but they weren’t game-breaking or a major issue – just an annoying little bug every now and again.
I’m interested in the story. I am a big sci-fi fan and this started OK. I’d say there’s room to develop. The basic story is the earth has been trashed and humans are trying to find another planet and they come across Enoch. Unfortunately, there’s a cosmic storm anomaly that mutates everything it touches and it’s a lottery of whether you’ll be torn apart or turned into a god, or altered as they like to say. During the initial landing on Enoch you put into cryosleep and then woken up sometime later to find that humans never really got out of the base when you landed on Enoch and are now semi-slaves to the Altered Masters, who in turn seem to be fighting their own war. Confused? Don’t worry… it’ll all become clear when you play through the full game.
I started lukewarm on the demo, but after a couple of playthroughs, I did enjoy my time more and more as I understood the combat. Legendaries so far have been elusive, but I do find myself being drawn back in with the promise of loot, so I’ll be spending a little more time with the demo before checking out the full release which is set to come out on April 1st 2020 across all the major platforms – excluding Nintendo Switch. I’d say if you like looter-shooter then it’s worth giving this one a go, especially given it’s free. Try it, see if it hooks you and make an informed decision before jumping into the full game later this spring.