I was skeptical about getting involved with this game after watching a few videos, but I was convinced by a friend to give it a shot and well I have to say it is oddly fun to play. Difficult to start but rewarding.
Character creation is where we start. You can pick from a few races that have no bearing on the game other than a similar appearance in characters from regions you will be exploring. Honestly there are not many options to choose from to customize your character. This was a little disappointing but overall not a big deal.
You begin the game washed ashore after a shipwreck, just about naked with nothing. You start to wander and find some old cloths, maybe a torch and someone from your home city trying to help survivors. Given some food and a place to sleep your moved back to your home for a good nights rest. The morning comes, rested, some basic provisions available in the home, only to find an angry mob outside your home. Your reminded you have a blood debt to pay. Your grandmother owed the local tribe a debt and it has befallen to you to pay. You can pay the debt in silver, or do something good for someone in the tribe by eating a favor. This begins your journey in the world of Outward and your actions can change the face of the world and the direction you take on your given path.
I wont ruin much of the story for you but at least go over thoughts and mechanics of this game that I have experienced so far. The game first is survival based. Hunger has to be managed. You can starve to death if you go to long without food. The game does provide numerous ways to obtain food though. You can find edible plants and berrys, fish, even get meat from wildlife. Though be careful, you eat raw food you can get sick. Cooking your food will maintain its freshness and prevent sickness. You can easily harvest wood from any tree to create a campfire to cook food. Though don’t forget, you need flint and steel to light it or have some magic. With a campfire you can cook simple foods, but put a cooking pot on the fire, you can combine multiple ingredients for all kinds of recipes. You can learn recipies by finding then, buying them for vendors, or just experimenting yourself. Most food will provide temporary buffs. Healing magic, stamina, health or providing resistance to the elements, even creating poisons to use on weapons.
After hunger, we have thirst. You need to carry water with you at all times. You can gather from clean sources or boil water to make it safe. Most towns have clean water sources where you can refill. Sleep is also necessary to regenerate your three states, health, stamina and mana.
Health is simple, how many hit points you have. Once depleted you go unconscious. certain skills will help increase your health but it can remain a constant. Stamina is used while sprinting, a base for some physical abilities you can unlock, and while in combat you use your stamina to attack. Swing and miss to many times and you will wear out and have to withdraw. Both these stats suffer burn. As you stay awake for too long your maximum health or stamina will slowly decrease. This burn can increase if you run to often or take too much damage. Sleeping replenishs the burn as do some potions and food. You can purchase homes in cities to sleep and cook in, or you can buy bedrolls or tents to sleep out in the wilderness.
Mana works in a very unique manner. First, you do not start with the ability to use magic. You learn by talking to people who tell you to visit the Conflux Mountain that contains a Ley Line. It’s not easy to get through, there are dangers, but if you make it to the end you must sacrifice a chosen amount of health and stamina to convert into Mana. Be careful with this, as once you make the decision you can not take it back.
Each region has its own weather changes, and you must dress for the occasion. Light clothing in the scorching desert, or heavy furs during winter months in others. This could limit what you wear for types of armor, or you can make food or potions to help combat weather conditions.
Once you learn how to survive, it is time to learn what your path is in Outward. There are no classes, no real rules at all. You can use any weapons you can find or make, any kind of armor, but each town has trainers. Each trainer can teach passive skills that can affect your base stats or combat, and a few active skills and even magic abilities. Picking your abilities will be the most important thing you need to figure out here. What is unique about this game is the ability to work off different abilities to create interesting effects. For example, when you lean magic, you gain the spell spark. All it does, lights camp fires. Doesnt sound exciting, but if you learn the Sigel of Fire, cast this first then use spark, turns into a damaging fire-ball. Case the same spark in a Sigil of Wind, causes an area of effect fire ring. Most abilities and magic in the game works off another, so finding the right combinations is a must and a learning experience. Their are some primary trainers out there, but talk to everyone you meet as a few may have something to teach you. Some trainer examples include:
- Kazite Spellblade – Infusing weapons with magic.
- Wild Hunter – Focus on Bow and Arrow specializations
- Rune Sage – Rune Magic and Sigils.
- Philosopher – Chakaram Use, unique magical offhand weapon.
- Warrior Monk – Damage Increase, Survivability, Resistance
- Mercenary – Gunslinger, Stamina Reduction
- Rogue – Dagger, Stealth, Trap Use
- Shaman – Summoner, Necromancy
You may need to mix and match some abilities from each trainer to be effective in combat, so learning what each trainer offers will be key.
You can go out and explore the open world on your own, but there is a primary storyline you can follow that includes joining one of three factions, each that have their own story and that can change the way the game is played. This is good because this gives repeatability going through three different storylines. I still have to explore each one myself, but I am excited to start.
Last comment is the unique way death is handled. If you die you go unconscious and a few different things can happen. You csn be saved by an unknown traveler for one and brought to safety or even town, be captured by bandits and either have to sneak out or break out of prison. I have been taken by hyenas and dragged into their den having to escape. Each time you die you take heavy burn damage to your stats.
With so many options to play it can be a little overwhelming to figure out, though it has been fun to experiment. Visually the game is pretty good, though combat takes much to get used to. It can be hard to gauge range with your weapon and there is a lock on option to keep the enemy in front of you, though fighting multiple opponents can take some getting used to. Overall the game is worth the price tag, so if your into roleplaying games and survival games, you will enjoy Outward.