The Outer Worlds (Sniper)
Format: Windows 10
Genre: RPG
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Private Division

Like so many games these days, The Outer Worlds uses "Unreal Engine 4", and it "automatically" gains many of the engine's built-in benefits, such as strong performance-- 70+ fps at native 2160p on this reviewer's RTX 2080 with most settings maxed-- and screen space reflections. Artistically though, the game often looks quite unappealing: virtually every one of the world's major leaders are "woke" strong-willed butch-looking lesbians, while the title's many outdoor structures are muddy and off-putting. The world setting relentlessly and tiresomely hammers on the "Fallout" or "BioShock"-esque anti-free market 1950's style marketing drivel. At least the high-tech indoor areas look sharp with plenty of cool albeit pre-baked lighting.

Like all anti-"Capitalist" video games, acoustic guitar blues chords are the order of the day-- trying to associate limited government with the "Wild West", of course. Not only is it poor music, but it's intended to serve propagandistic rather than artistic purposes. The game's voice acting is passable, with the usual suspects such as Ashly Burch, for better or for worse, making their obligatory contributions. A high point are the combat sound effects-- the various gun blasts and plasma vaporization screams are visceral and add some heft to the fighting.

The Outer Worlds is a peculiar mix of the loot-oriented combat from "Borderlands", the stealth and hacking elements from "Deux Ex", the planet-hopping science fiction companion-centric dialog trees of "Mass Effect", and the dungeon delving of "The Elder Scrolls". Refreshingly, the game is not "open world", and the more tight-knit outdoor and indoor areas are superbly laid out, with a nice mix of enemies, item containers, and NPCs. The game's gunplay is weighty and nuanced, with a wonderful gauge-based take on the old "Max Payne bullet time" effect-- although the title's pacing is a bit off. There are "Fallout"-style terminals everywhere, but every single one is about corporations doing evil things, to the point of absurdity.

Because Marxists haven't gotten a single prediction right in nearly two hundred years, they create totally de-contextualized "philosophizing in mid-stream" child-like fantasy lands, where the world actually works how they want. It's annoying to waste words in a video game review addressing this topic instead of the good things The Outer Worlds does, like its excellent dungeon design, nifty stealth mechanics, and fun gunplay-- but a title like this is so over-the-top that sometimes it feels less like an honest attempt at a computer game than a fake North Korean propaganda piece Kim Jong-Un would make his subjects play to teach them how evil "America" is-- complete with all of the unintentionally hilarious straw-manning one would expect from such a production!

Sniper's verdict: