Deep Silver Studio is known for a very prolific library of the games, including action adventures, medieval combat, shooters, zombie survival and all kinds of post-apocalypse. Outward is a very interesting and refreshing addition to their games, being a survival game in a fantasy world. Think of Monster Hunter, only in this case your character is the one being hunted.
A lot of players compared this game with Dark Souls and it’s easy to see why. The reminiscence is more than passing, although the imminent danger doesn’t come from creatures inhabiting the world but from the world itself. There are fights with wolves and other beasts, of course, but the biggest difficulty in this game is travel rather than combat. Even daylight itself is a resource because when the night falls, players will have difficulties to see anything around themselves, and the backpack big enough to hang on a lantern is too expensive at the beginning of the game. That’s why it is advisable to start your journey an hour before dawn, so you can stretch out the daylight hours.
Most of the quest picking will be taking place in the villages, but outside of them is very rich and vibrant landscape filled with open fields, plants, trees, and mountains. You will have to rely on those natural landmarks because there are no quest markers in the game nor a marker on your map to show you where exactly you are. In the beginning, it seems like a handicap imposed by game designers in order to artificially raise the difficulty, but soon this lack of help will grow on you and you will start to appreciate this solution as a way to immerse deeper in the game. Besides, you have all the help with the orientation you need. There are maps, compass, landmarks, and you can take hints from dialogue and journal.
The thing that motivates your character to embark on a journey and gather money is a debt you owe to the village, and they have 5 days to pay before they lose the Lighthouse they live in. This puts the additional sense of urgency in an already tense game. The way this game is made, In which your character is prone to hunger, thirst, and diseases, makes you mindful to your environment, and more importantly, makes every part of the world important for the story. There will be always a way to save your skin, so you won’t have to worry too much about survival, but this interactivity with the world is very important for valuing the world this game is taking place in. All these adversities you face during your travel only exemplify the importance of crossing the distance.
Thus far this game seems pacifist, but we assure you it’s not. You will have to fight and kill in order to survive, and it won’t be fun, not at all. Close combat is based on stamina, and it’s hard, tactical and too desperate for comfort. In the beginning, you barely scratch your opponents who devastate you in return, often giving you punishing status afflictions. Each battle you win fills you with relief instead of triumph, thanks to the desperate circumstances. The good thing, if there is a good thing in this game, is there is no death. When you lose all your health you will just pass out and wake up elsewhere, finding out what happened to you in a loading screen.
By far the best aspect of Outward is travel, which is, we dare say, presented nearly flawlessly. if you ever took a hike on mountains or did a cross-country travel, this game will resonate familiarity with you, inducing the same feelings of joy and accomplishment, but also the insecurity and uncertainty. That aspect alone is enough to compensate for mediocre, well, everything else. If you want to experience traveling without moving, this is the ideal game for that.