Today let’s talk about Outward. A survival RPG that will test your limits. Buts let’s break it down. The game is two things; Survival and RPG. The best survival games are all about lacking power. They depict a struggle against a world that’s not only uncaring but actively trying to kill you. Where’s the fun in that? It’s usually found in the elation of making it to day however long whereas before you could barely make it halfway you learned to tame the environment, better manage your resources, and how to more effectively fight off the immediate threats.
These are games about incremental improvement, starting from weakness and growing slowly, from a sap to a survivor and typically nothing more. RPGs, on the other hand, are generally power fantasies. You start as the fated chosen one, or you end up becoming them, and your power is usually unparalleled. Whether you have the ability to turn into a dragon or possess magic blood, you’re often the most powerful being around, and the game world is built to reflect that.
Outward is a game that attempts to intertwine these two diametrically opposed genres into one cohesive package. It’s an RPG world, but you don’t play as the hero. In fact, the game begins with you in debt and at risk of having your house repossessed. The first quest is to gather 150 silver so you can continue having a home. This puts a sizeable weight on the flimsy shoulders of your non-hero. It could be a great concept, and it is on paper, but Outward sets out to MAKE YOU CRY!!!
This is a game that doesn’t really commit to either of the genres that have influenced it. Instead, it feels a lot like a sim game. The aim isn’t to survive for as long as possible. It’s clear that you’re not meant to save the world well, at least not in the first ten hours, the first 10 days and maybe not even the first 10 weeks!!! You just have to continue to exist while trying not to lose all of your health. But you can’t actually die. Even if your health runs out, you’ll awaken somewhere thanks to bandits having kidnapped you, or a mysterious stranger helping you out.
This rarely feels good. So with death not being an actual huge game changing factor it does make it easier to go the distance and try to do heroic things. Which usually end in your death. This isn’t a game for heroes. It’s a game to test your mental fortitude, a game that will make you say,” Do I really enjoy Survival RPGs?” So if you’ve played Outward, drop some comments and let me know how you liked it!