Review: Outcast – A New Beginning


Posted on March 20, 2024 by Henry

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6.5/10

Summary

Outcast – A New Beginning holds an undeniable amount of allure despite being an extremely janky and overpriced double A game. It offers an interesting world with a mix of old-school charm and modern gameplay mechanics. The jetpack traversal is addictive and the weapon modding system is refreshing. However, it’s clear this game will definitely not appeal to everyone, even if you’re a fan of the 1999 original.

Developer – Appeal Studios

Publisher – THQ Nordic

Platforms – PC, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)

Review copy given by publisher

Many of you might not know of a game called Outcast, which was released all the way back in 1999 for Windows PC. It was one of the first truly open world games that paved the way for modern titles! Developer Appeal Studios went on to make a remake of the original titled Outcast – Second Contact in 2017 and is now coming out with a full fledged sequel called Outcast – A New Beginning. A New Beginning is by all means, a traditional and standard open-world third person action experience with RPG elements, and again follows series protagonist Cutter Slade on the alien planet of Adelpha. Despite technically being a sequel to the original Outcast, this game can be enjoyed and played as a standalone title with a separate narrative. 

The biggest turnoff and initial hurdle are the opening hours of the game, where you’re forced to sit through tedious amounts of dialogue, cutscenes, and tutorials. This amount of hand holding is unseen in today’s day and age and it’s off putting to see the screen cut out to load a cutscene and then jump back to the actual gameplay. That being said, it does help you get used to the game’s systems, because the user navigation and menus are poorly designed by nature.

The open world itself is very run of the mill, generic, and janky. We’re not in 1999 anymore – revolutionary design principles and ideas that were great 25 years ago are no longer cool now. After slogging through an extremely slow tutorial prologue, the world opens up for you to explore and traverse. While the graphics aren’t state of the art crisp, I did enjoy the diverse fauna and environments the world of Adelpha has to offer! The general story is reminiscent of the Avatar movie series, where humans are bad and the alien inhabitants on this planet are good. 

The narrative picks up after the events of the original game, with you playing as protagonist Cutter Slade returning to the planet Adelpha with no memory. You quickly become embroiled in a conflict, tasked with fending off human invaders and uniting the planet’s inhabitants. After conversing with some locals, you’re tasked by the Talan to reactivate large portals called Daokas scattered across the lands. Audio design and voice acting are mostly fine, if you don’t mind some clunkiness and awkwardness to the dialogue.

Mission structure generally revolves around storming an enemy base or finding an item or two. You’re equipped with an energy shield that doubles as a melee weapon, along with two firearms: a pistol and rifle. The gunplay feels decent, with DualSense rumble support and aim assist on the controller. Progression comes in the form of unlocking mods for your weapons that ultimately change what they do and how they look. You can experiment with a ton of different modules, such as turning your pistol into a machine gun or having your rifle shoot out mines. It’s pretty neat but I would have enjoyed finding brand new weapons instead.

Traversing the world with your jetpack is probably the most fun this game has to offer. Later on you get a nifty glider as well. Though you only start out with a limited amount of charge in your jetpack and energy shield, they can both be upgraded later. Aside from combat and exploration, the open world is filled with padded side content such as light puzzles or timed obstacle course trials. The freedom is appreciated, but again, this game follows the generic open-world formula when it comes to game design. It has its fun moments, but there are also moments where you question why you’re playing it when there are so many better titles out there for cheaper.

The biggest crime this game commits is its outrageous price tag. Outcast – A New Beginning is a whopping $69.99 on PlayStation 5, making it ten dollars more expensive when compared to its Steam counterpart. Let’s be real here, this is a double A title at best, but it’s triple A priced when the quality isn’t there. I’d reckon a fair price for this title would hover between the 30 to 40 dollar range, as there just isn’t enough content and polish to justify the cost. Even if you’re a fan of the first game, I’d wait for a sale on this one.

Speaking of lack of polish, let’s talk about all the technical bugs that plague the game. For starters, the user interface looks outdated right off the bat. The menus are unintuitive to navigate, the text sizes are too small, and button inputs often don’t register. Load times are abysmally long on PlayStation 5, taking over 20 seconds to load in from a fresh launch. There’s also a quality and performance mode but even the latter struggles to maintain a steady 60 frames per second in the open-world. It generally hovered around 40-50 for me most of the time. NPCs would T-pose out of nowhere, I would clip through or get stuck in the environment, and the game hard-crashed on me a few times.

Outcast – A New Beginning holds an undeniable amount of allure despite being an extremely janky and overpriced double A game. It offers an interesting world with a mix of old-school charm and modern gameplay mechanics. The jetpack traversal is addictive and the weapon modding system is refreshing. However, it’s clear this game will definitely not appeal to everyone, even if you’re a fan of the 1999 original.

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