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Outcast: A New Beginning Review (PS5) – Repetitive Gameplay In A Unique World

Outcast: A New Beginning PS5 Review – 2024 has been an absolute blast for major releases so far. With so many big names coming and going, new titles have an uphill battle standing out amongst the pack. The same holds true for Outcast: A New Beginning. While it makes some interesting choices in a compelling world, the overall package leans too much into open world repetition to fully stand out.

Outcast: A New Beginning Review (PS5) – Repetitive Gameplay In A Unique World

Outcast puts you in the boots of one Cutter Slade, who, equipped with nothing but a foggy memory, finds himself randomly on a strange planet. Quickly he meets his first humanoid on the planet, who quickly befriends him shortly after discovering common ground between them. Cutter is a rather interesting blend of the modern hero and the heroes from PS2-era action games. There are plenty of goofy one-liners and cheeky statements, but there’s also a lot of acceptance and empathy that he expresses to the inhabitants. Besides, his name is Cutter Slade. That’s totally PS2-era nomenclature.

Visually, Outcast is an interesting game. Backdrops and locations look vivid and detailed, which takes centre stage for much of the game. Different areas offer different obstacles, and traversing them is half of the fun in Outcast. Some places are expansive and intricate while others are vertical enough to mimic a platforming game.

With that said, character models share a similar level of detail. Equally so, their graphic fidelity sits in the middle of the pack. I must say that I personally enjoy this kind of approach in this game for one reason: The focus remains the game you play in. Characters emote vividly with their bodies, but their faces remain rather stiff; with Cutter the one exception. Despite that, you still get the good story beats and unique characterizations and major events, but the gameplay side of things wants you focused on navigating and influencing the world around you rather than just looking at it.

Creating A New World

The part about gameplay, even though it’s accessible and simplistic in fun ways, is that it rides the fetch quest gameplay style and doesn’t ever stop. Without context, you gather this, kill this many of that, find a place or item, and unlock new areas. As fun as the world is to run around in, the actual things you do lack much intrigue.

To the right person, the context alone can carry you to the end of the game. Every single thing you do carries some sort of significance to the villages you come across. Gameplay-wise, that weight may not matter much, but it definitely matters to the game world and its lore.

Things like “soul” and “gods” have their own words, and the game doesn’t shy away from throwing excess terminology at you. Instead of building fake context within dialogue to explain many of the words, the game gives you an active glossary as you play, constantly updating when different words appear and reappear.

This all contributes to the feeling that you stepped into a completely different world, culture, and means of communication. In doing so, you must both acclimate to the new language and earn the trust of the planet’s inhabitants. This is where the menial tasks come in. You do anything from collecting scrolls, fishing, clearing out dangerous creatures, and even helping to make blankets (it’s a lot more important than it sounds, I promise). In doing these things, you finally earn some means of getting closer to your goals.

Cannot Escape The Gameplay Loop

Ultimately, though, the repetitive nature of the game is easy to detect, even in just the above paragraph alone. Gameplay is fun, but I don’t feel confident in saying it will carry the day for just anyone. This holds doubly true right now in the bombardment of good games in the first quarter 2024.

In general, gameplay is what you would expect from a shooter but with one significant caveat: a jet pack. Outside of fast travel, the jet pack quickly becomes your means of getting around. Each new unlock makes the jet pack more useful, and that starts once you get the ability to propel yourself along the ground. Soon, you unlock extra boosts for traversal, the ability to glide, to hover while shooting, and dodging mid-air. This is by far the best part of Outcast.

That Iron Man feeling comes through here, even with the fuel charge limitations. Again, the world building and how the inhabitants interact with the world and each other makes for a good time if you enjoy deep dives into fictional settings. However, the feeling of being Iron Man is borderline universal, putting it above everything else.

With that said, combat is rather clunky but mostly in a fun way. Enemy AI is far from sophisticated, but it also doesn’t have your targets just standing there either. Enemies move around the map, often hiding behind cover when you fire at them. Equally so, they tend to stay in cover if you point anywhere near them, even if you keep walking toward them out in the open. With other enemies shooting at you, you can’t get away with this very often. If you have one or two enemies left, you’ll likely do this all the time. Enemies also tend to glitch on things, leaving them stuck and inanimate while you shoot them.

Leaning Into The Mythos

In my opinion, how the low-level AI behaved reminded me of many PS2 shooters. They’re fun without being too taxing. This lines up with the game’s intentions as well, pushing you to explore the world and learn about its nuances. With that said, one aspect of combat that bothers me is when you fight out in the wild. Oftentimes, little creatures run all over the place, and they more often than not share similar colors with their surroundings.

To deal with this, the game lets you use a sonar function to highlight enemies and interactable objects around you, which helps with identifying enemy positions. Still, needing to mess with the radar just to hit your targets feels like extra work that the rest of the game doesn’t ask of you.

My final point is one that I keep thinking about, even after finishing the game. Outcast handles quests in a rather cool way. Instead of just giving you a list of quests that you collect, you gather quests in several different ways. Of course, you grab some from random inhabitants around the map. However, others you get from navigating your map to see what each village and region want you to do. You click on a region, which takes you to a submenu with different branches. These branches refer to different objects you need to complete, but in order to figure out how to complete them, you interact with each menu icon and the game then analyses what you need to do to fulfil that quest.

Initially, I felt like this was just a means of taking up time. However, the more I played, the more I felt like I’m the one to suss out what needs doing for each quest. It’s weird but kind of a cool mind trick. When written out like this, it sounds like a decorative version of a traditional quest log. In all actuality, it is. However, in buying into what this game delivers to you, Outcast provides a more hands-on way to complete your objective without asking more from you.

Good Ideas Mixed Into Repetition

Outcast: A New Beginning is an interesting recommendation that won’t be for everyone. It builds an interesting world filled with inhabitants looking for ways to survive. The rinse-repeat nature of the game combined with rather dated shooting mechanics will likely turn off a lot of players. With that said, if you can buy into what Outcast gives you, you will find an enjoyable game with some interesting ideas.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.

Outcast: A New Beginning is available for PS5 on March 15, 2024.



The Final Word

Outcast: A New Beginning may not have a gameplay loop that interests everyone, considering its repetitious nature and somewhat dated shooting mechanics. With that said, the world and how you interact with it is enough for the right audience to dig into.