Last week, I got to try Outriders for the first time, a game that will be launched on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as well PC. This is pretty exciting! I mean, yeah, high-end PCs have topped the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X for a little while now, but if you squint hard enough, you can almost imagine what Outriders might look like on a next-gen console (ideally a PS5 with the extremely boss "V" from the dev kits).
In the video below, you will find about 20 minutes of gameplay from the early part of Outriders. The quality varies in my opinion—it's buoyed by 4k graphics that run at a very high framerate and some decent graphical effects, but it's hurt by art that looks like it was lifted from the grey old days of the Xbox 360. In creating Outriders, it seems as if People Can Fly couldn't quite move past its days working on Gears of War: Judgment.
Still, it's pretty fun once you get going, provided you have some friends to play with. While it's ostensibly a cover-based shooter, the unlockable powers assigned to each class tend to encourage you to come out of hiding. I played as the Trickster—a class with powerful area of effect attacks and teleportation abilities—and frequently found myself diving into crowds of enemies knowing that I could hold my own. That only changed when I encountered my first boss—a lightning-wielding bullet sponge who forced me stay back and grab headshots while avoiding his many, many powerful attacks.
Based on initial impressions, it's tempting to treat Outriders with extreme skepticism. During the event, I found myself mentally referring to it as "Gears of Destiny Andromeda" based on its combination of cover-based shooting, loot acquisition, and RPG elements. My initial impression was that it was a cynical attempt to corner the Destiny market on next-gen consoles.
But as the devs from People Can Fly told me in a separate interview, Outriders isn't intended to be a service game. There's no roadmap, and it's not really built around grinding new power levels. It also purports to have a deeply weird story, which writer Joshua Rubin variously compared to Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, and The Joker.
I really hope that it lives up to that weirdness. It would make it a far more interesting game than it seems at first blush. We'll know for sure when it launches on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X, as well as current-gen consoles, later this year.