Bel’s post reminded me this was coming about. What with the news Anthem is effectively dead, I’m a tad curious as to any further entries into this genre.
The demo itself covers the first chapter, up to level 7, 4 powers and 2 talent points. There’s no crafting, no real customization, and I’d have to guess other systems just aren’t present. It’s not a beta in that sense, but really a demo of what the game will have as 90% of your playtime.
If I had to compare, it would be like playing The Division with cover based mechanics and skills with cooldowns. The world is a sort of mix between Avatar and Anthem, or at least appears to be. The first chapter is all trench battles, and feels quite drab. Just when you’re about to leave that place, the demo ends.
The good news is that the shooting mechanics feel tight, and enemies go to great efforts to flank you. The less good news is that the cover mechanics don’t feel right – it’s like the 100m hurdles all the time. It could just be the first chapter. There’s marginal weapon variety – assault, shotgun, sniper, rile, and so on. They feel different enough in handling to matter more than just pure DPS. Melee is weird, as you sort of force push something and hope it hits. It’s hard to figure out range when you don’t have an actual object to judge. Also, it’s 2021 – why can’t I jump?
The 4 classes have interesting bits I suppose. You can have 3 active skills, and they often interact with each other. The ability to interrupt casting is really cool, though enemies build resistance over time. I’ve tried all four to level 5 (and pyro to 7). It really isn’t remotely close enough to get any sort of passing grade, aside to say that the classes all play differently. Given the size of the talent trees it sure looks like you can further customize the classes – say more healing, or more debuffs – at your leisure.
I will add that the game looks good. Damn good. It uses motion blur in quick movement areas, which helps mask any framerate drops. Gear, even at low levels, has appeal. (side note – my big gripes on Anthem/Avengers is the lack of player customization.)
The story sounds interesting, and the end of demo gives some flash forward bits to more interesting locations. Anthem and Avengers both had solid leveling experiences, then petered out completely at the end game. If Outriders plays more like Borderlands 3, then I can sort of see this thing work well. But truthfully, I can’t make heads or tails of any of it. Thinking about it, I don’t really care much. I paid $20 for Avengers (worth it) and like $15 for Anthem (also worth it). In both I was frustrated at the end game, but now I guess I have better expectations. And better alternatives in all that’s around. Lowered expectations are good.
There are still some bugs to workout, so I’m guessing a pretty big day 1 patch is due when this launches in April. The game crashed to desktop 4 times in the 8 or so hours I’ve put in. I got stuck on terrain a few times, enemies teleported, skills just didn’t work at all. It’s QA stuff that I’m sure has been flagged before, and that this demo is more like a chance to heat-map player behaviors. There’s little pity for any game that launches broken these days, so smart on them to push this to the right.
All told, this isn’t a day 1 purchase for me. There’s potential, for sure, but there’s also a backlog of like 20 games to get through that I know are good games.