Outward is a survival game with some cool action moments. The environments for this are absolutely stunning, but the characters look awful and the controls immediately remind you this was built in Unity. While I did struggle with Outward, given my limited amount of experience with survival games, I could really appreciate what it was trying to do.
Outward’s challenge starts right off the bat with a timed quest and a lot of different ways you can accomplish it. I feel this is the best way to describe the difficulty and consequences experienced while playing. The world is extremely vast and I never managed to find a way to do more than try to figure out where I was on the map with a landmark. This led to a lot of exploration and failing that aforementioned first quest
The way navigating the world using a map would be great if you were holding the map in a first-person view and looking around, but it’s a separate screen, so you have to switch between looking at the angle of the landmark and then the map, and so on and so forth. Exploration mostly just gets you killed when you see an enemy, and you have to make sure every chance you get you’re upgrading your pack or you won’t be able to carry enough to complete quests, let alone have the stuff to sell for some extra scratch (which also has weight to it).
The survival mechanics are mostly the same you find in any other game of this nature; go collect food and water and make sure to rest or you’ll be extremely weak. Make sure you go out prepared to be poisoned, diseased, or debilitated somehow because you will be from a singular attack and it will happen quite regularly.
This all takes quite a bit of your very scarce pack room, to the point it feels almost like the game wants you to go back home every night just to drop stuff off. The only good news is if you do die the game won’t end. They usually take you to a prison with extremely strong enemies or some form of an encampment where you’ll lose some items and have to slog through to find them or hopefully fight/sneak your way out.
Combat feels alright. I wouldn’t say it’s anything to write home about though. It’s your normal sword, gun, bow, and spear combat. Skills really work to spice things up and make it more enjoyable but this really isn’t the meat of the game.
Magic is where combat really starts to shine, as you actually have to make an element and then add a catalyst to use it. This creates a really cool connection between the player, and the spell being cast, even with a high barrier of entry to use, the reward is fantastic-looking animation and big damage.
All of the combat, navigation, and everything else boils down to the overall ideal of Outward — it does not hold your hand at all. This game was not my jam, but if it’s the type of game you enjoy I’d say play something a little better in this genre. Nothing in Outward Definitive Edition really screams amazing or even extremely original, combat feels generic and nothing feels rewarding just challenge after challenge.