Two of my favorite games from the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii generation of games are Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. I’d never played anything like them before, and they captured my attention immediately with their large worlds filled with intriguing quests and witty writing. The presentation was a bit wonky and the bugs were numerous, but I loved everything else about them. Making different characters, trying out different builds and seeing where different dialog options would take me was all great fun, and I couldn’t wait for a sequel. Sadly, it would take almost 9 years for that sequel to appear.
When I say 9 years, I don’t mean that it took that long for another Fallout game to get released. Fallout 4 came out in 2015, and it had me feeling pretty excited during the months leading up to its release. I really couldn’t wait; I thought it was going to be more of what I loved about the previous two games wrapped in a modern package with a new story. When the game finally released, I was indeed dazzled at first. It was a new Fallout game, after all. After sinking a fair amount of time into it though, I started to notice that it was lacking something pretty important. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, so I went back to Fallout: New Vegas to see if I could figure it out. It only too a couple of hours to realize what it was: all the smart writing and careful character crafting was just plain absent! The things I was looking forward to the most in this game weren’t there!
Fallout 4 has the right setting: a bombed out version of Boston, and it has all the surface-level trappings like factions vying for control, Super Mutants, scavenging, V.A.T.S. and vaults, but all the careful character building, witty writing and intriguing quests were gone. It was a Fallout impostor, and 2018’s Fallout 76 was even worse. I had just about given up hope of seeing another game in offer a similar experience to Fallout: New Vegas (much less a superior one), but then Obsidian released The Outer Worlds and all is finally well in the world once more.
Everything I loved about those two older Fallout games, Fallout: New Vegas in particular, is present in The Outer Worlds and then some! I once again get to carefully craft a character, but now I can also re-spec them (for a price) if I want to try different options. It’s a nice convenience that I always wanted in Fallout: New Vegas, and the way it’s implemented doesn’t even take away from the appeal of starting a brand new campaign.
Decisions also matter much more here than they did in the older games. My character has a real impact on the world, and it’s sometimes very surprising to see how much certain choices affect it. The game’s writing is top notch, both dark and funny, with well-written and interesting companions there to accompany me every step of the way. Even the combat has evolved, offering a slow-time mechanic that rewards player skill rather than relying on dice rolls to determine the outcome. It’s superior to Fallout: New Vegas in almost every way, and I still kind of can’t believe that I’m saying so.
For gamers who enjoyed Fallout 3 and especially Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds is an absolute must have. It expands on all the strengths of those games without any of their weaknesses pulling it down. The game isn’t perfect of course, but it’s leagues better than anything Bethesda has put out lately. So if you’re looking for an excellent RPG to spend some time with, then you need look no further than The Outer Worlds. It really is that good!
Have you played The Outer Worlds or Fallout: New Vegas? If so, what did you think? Did you enjoy Fallout 4? Do you think it holds up?
Lede image from Outer Worlds promotional website