Outward Definitive Edition Logo
Outward Definitive Edition Icon
Outward Definitive Edition

Developer: Nine Dots Studio

Publisher: PLAION

Co-Op Multiplayer
  • Price: $39.99
  • Release Date: Mar 28, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1 - 2
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: M [Mature]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    There’s no doubt that it’s a pretty epic survival adventure experience, but it feels a bit compromised on the Switch

    Given the choice between playing variations on experiences I’ve had before, versus doing something radically different, I’d like to think more often than not I’d choose the new every time. It’s a funny thing though, sometimes when you’re given what you think you were asking for you’ll quickly find that you’re pining for the familiar, and railing against an experience that’s more challenging. Outward absolutely feels like a game that will pin you firmly on one side of the fence or the other, either opening your eyes to a new and challenging way to appreciate a much more “realistic” adventure, or making you determined to go running for the hills for a game that better fits your traditional expectations.

    After what felt like a significant investment in merely completing the game’s tutorials, as it tried to shotgun me through a variety of situations to help illustrate many aspects of the journey you’re about to embark on, I pretty quickly learned that in truth it had prepared me for very little. True to life, what it seems you will quickly need to learn about Outward is that it’s best not to try too hard to make solid plans, at least not for quite some time, as getting started tends to be a rough experience. Just to rub some salt in the wound, you’ll also find that your typical saving grace to protect yourself from your own experiments in making bad decisions, saving before every major decision, has virtually been stripped from you. The bad news is that this will make your early journey a pretty crazy roller coaster ride, with quite a lot being out of control since your character will be weak, under equipped, and lacking in the skills needed to survive. The good news is that overall in terms of the game that seems to all be a part of the plan, with your journey being more into the unknown than usual, and that doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

    All of this is well and good, and it certainly makes for what feels like a very different experience, but aside from the issue of defying typical expectations there are other elements that can be tough to swallow. For one, the detail-oriented nature of mere survival can be quite onerous, and even tedious at times, feeling like you’re stealing attention from an attempted grand adventure to worry over comparative minutia a bit too often. The great issue, though not having played this on other systems to confirm it, is that the Switch simply feels a bit overmatched by the scope of the experience. Visually it’s a bit of a mess and doesn’t always perform well, and this is coming from someone who can typically overlook some occasional jitter or quirk. I’d also say that while I’ve seen more cumbersome interfaces and controls for games in this space, they don’t exactly feel optimized for a controller either, which further hobbles the ability to easily enjoy the adventure you’re on.

    In the end I’d say there are two key things that should determine whether this would be a good match. Honestly, the scope and detail of what the game puts on you is beyond the space I can commit to, so I’d encourage further reading up from a variety of sources who both enjoy and dislike the game to fully feel out all aspects that people have strong opinions on. Just as a hint, if the simple act of reading up in other spaces feels like too much effort I can save you the time and say based on that sentiment alone this won’t likely be a good match, and leave it at that. The other key is the valid question of whether the Switch is the best means you have for playing the game, since this Definitive Edition is available on other platforms and I’d hope it would simply be easier to enjoy elsewhere. There’s no doubt that Outward offers an experience not quite like its peers, but it’s fair to say that this will be an acquired taste.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Fair [6.7]

Nindie Spotlight

. All rights reserved