Outriders is a game by the makers of Bulletstorm and published by Square Enix, which seems to be following up their failure with the Avenger game with this game. This game is built in the looter/shooter genre of games that blend RPG elements with first-person shooters. In that aspect, this game succeeds. The gameplay is fluid and engaging once you are free to unleash your powerful character. The combat was not too bad, as I crafted my soldier into a Berserker, who does not require the cover system that this game relies upon. In that way, I march lightly opposed by the bland adversaries.
With regards to the story of this game. The protagonist is tasked with scouting for a colony for humans following the escape of a dying Earth. In this story in addition to the destruction caused by global warming, the Earth is being ravaged by increasingly powerful earthquakes. Rather than build habitats in orbit or colonize the rest of the solar system, these humans set out on an interstellar colonization effort. The outriders in this context are a team of scouts that gathered colonists in the final days of Earth and now must evaluate4 the planet of Enoch for colonization. This scouting goes awry as an unspecified anomaly rips through the mission, and leaves the protagonist in a critical condition. To save their life they are thrown into cryostasis and 30 years pass. Upon awakening, the planet has been colonized and plunged into a relentless war. The two factions are separated by a blasted, crater-filled hellscape, reminiscent of the horrors of World War 1. Human bodies are strewn throughout the game like leaves in a crisp autumn afternoon. You now find out that the last members of your species are stuck in a valley, and under constant assault by this anomaly. Its effect kills many but leaves some, like you self changed, granting them superhuman powers. You use these powers to aid your former comrades as they fight an insurgency set on toppling their power structure.
I only played the demo of the game as it is available on Steam. This demo allowed me to get a real feel for the game, and I found it to be lacking.
This game failed to grab my attention. It reminded me of other better games. For lore and world-building, I wish this was more like Mass Effect (1 and 2 obviously), or a Bethesda game like Fallout 3 or Elder Scrolls. They put effort into world-building but it felt shallow detail. The cover and level of gore remind me of Gear of War, and the level of detail has not improved vastly in the intervening years. The customization of your character seems very basic, allowing only 4 different playstyles. The setting and art style have been done so many times, it is like Fallout without the charm, and Rage 2 without the neon. The built-in areas speak to an industrial capacity that the merger situation does not warrant. These areas are also very limited in explorable areas. I was expecting more from the game for the price point and beginning released after these other titles and was sorely disappointed.
For a full-priced game developed and published by large companies, I expected more. This game allows you to play the missions with friends, or solo with no versus modes. The story is reportedly only measured in the tens of hours. For this price, you could buy 3 copies of Valeim, and play with your friends and find more engrossing gameplay. This is not to say that it is a bad game, but very much an average and forgettable title. If you have not played these other titles you might find this game enjoyable, but my jaded gamer outlook robs this title of any hope, much like the world it is set in.