Even though the Mass Effect series has become my current jam, it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about The Outer Worlds. In it, my “new” ship is currently waiting patiently for me to blast off from the town of Edgewater to unknown places and further adventures in the greater galaxy. My character, Charlee, waiting there, too, along with my new friend Parvati, who I hope is getting along well enough with the ship’s somewhat sarcastic AI, ADA. Don’t worry, you guys, as soon as Commander Shepard does his thing, I’ll be back for some exploring and firefights!
If there’s one thing that kept me ethereally tethered to The Outer Worlds, it would be its soundtrack. Exquisitely ambient, the music of The Outer Worlds is exactly the kind of music I’m favoring these days. Quiet yet orchestral. Electronic yet soothing. And if there’s one song that really outlines the tracks as whole, as it should, it’s the main theme.
The song starts out classically subdued, with just enough punch to pull you in. In that regard, it’s quite reminiscent of Fallout 4’s main theme, or, quite frankly, plenty of other game main themes that build of other course of a few minutes. But what’s especially fetching about Justin Bell’s composition here is the juxtaposition of the song’s sweeping string tones against the marching brass tones. As well, as the song rounds out, it replaces and them combines its initial grandiose feeling with one of urgency as the strings patter along, and the trumpets swoop in to “save the day.”
There’s also something brilliant in listening to this track while watching your ship, the cheekily named Unreliable, hover against a spacey, colorful backdrop. It’s honestly mesmerizing. And as with so many great game themes, more than once I found myself just starting at the opening screen as the main theme wafted through my headphones. The theme is almost relaxing enough to make you think the game is more tranquil than it is. But really, it mimics well the general back-and-forth of gameplay, where moments of quiet exploration are swapped out for scenes of intense action.
My favorite game soundtracks are the ones that both command attention and are happy in the backseat. As a whole, The Outer Worlds soundtrack is just as happy to make you listen as it to drift in the ether. It’s the kind of soundtrack that can easily get you through a day without even realizing how much time has passed. And it all stems from this compelling and beautiful main theme.
Lede image taken by author during PS4 gameplay of The Outer Worlds © Obsidian Entertainment, Private Division, Take-Two Interactive (2019).