If you are looking for a space-faring tongue-in-cheek adventure with deep characters, plenty of choices, build options, and great characters, you don’t have to look any further than The Outer Worlds. Developed by the legendary RPG studio Obsidian Entertainment and released in 2019, The Outer Worlds offers you a fun-filled adventure in space complete with crazed raiders, strange alien creatures, and your very own ship and crew. For those curious about jumping into the world of Halcyon, the game is available on every modern console and is even on Xbox Game Pass for both console and PC. If you aren’t sure yet or are just starting, here is everything you need to know about The Outer Worlds.
Key Info Up Front
- Genre: Open World FPS RPG
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
- How long to beat: 15-60 hours
- Rating: M for Intense Violence, Strong Language, and Blood and Gore
Welcome to the Halcyon System
The Outer Worlds is set in the Halcyon System, a cluster of planets on the outer fringe of space that has seen laws similar to the Wild West take hold. The system was initially colonized by ten corporations that pooled their money together as the Halcyon Holdings Corporation to purchase all of the planets in the system for their use.
This makes the system entirely owned and run by this group of corporations, which is proudly advertised both within the system and outside. While the corporations have begun to colonize the plan, many of its colonies are still only made up of small villages or corporate camps, leaving most of each planet and moon wild and untamed.
Let’s Talk About Those Corporations
The main goal of the Halcyon System colonies was to make a perfect world for corporations. A world where they were free from government regulations and could curate and control every aspect of people’s lives, especially their employees. This led to colonies where every resident works for the corporation, lives in corporate-owned and assigned housing, is entirely fed by the corporation, and has very few decisions of their own to make. So, if you want to know about Halcyon, it is paramount that you first learn about the ten most giant corporations that run the place.
Universal Defense Logistics
Universal Defense Logistics is a weapons manufacturer and one of the five most prominent companies in the Halcyon Holdings Corporation. They provide many security forces that you will come across in the colonies while also selling ammunition through their handy Bullets ‘N Things vending machines. However, most of their involvement in the system is through their two subsidiaries: Spacer’s Choice and Hunters & Trackers Ltd.
Spacer’s Choice is the everyman’s store for everything needed to survive the hazards of space. Whether you need armor, an axe, a pistol, or some drugs, Spacer’s Choice has the most affordable option on the market for you. Of course, that lower price point comes with some caveats, as their products are known to break easily. Thankfully, the price is low enough that fixing or outright repairing whatever you had that just broke won’t set you back too much.
Hunters & Trackers Ltd.
Hunters & Trackers Ltd. does not make much of an appearance in The Outer Worlds, so little is known about the company. However, it is known that they focus primarily on organizing hunting expeditions, whether that be to feed the colonies or to give bored aristocratic business people a story to do and a head to hang on their wall.
Kolway is one of the galaxy’s most prominent and most dominating drug and medicine companies. Their sprawling size allows them to research drugs faster than any competition and then control the market afterward to ensure that their highly-priced drug solutions are the only option for those who need it. However, most of their Halcyon activity is handled through their subsidiary Auntie Cleo’s.
Auntie Cleo’s provides Halcyon with all the pharmaceuticals it could ever need, even after those who use it become hopelessly addicted to their remedies. Their interest in colonizing the system seems to have stemmed from their propensity for running unethical experiments on animals and humans alike to develop cutting rate cosmetics and drugs. They do not have any interest in developing firearms, but they support a rivalry with Spacer’s Choice.
Rizzo is a food company that specializes in everything process. Breakfast cereals, alcohol, potato chips, and candy fall under Rizzo’s purview. All of their products are made by the mysterious purpleberry. Their reliance on purpleberry has led to all of their uniforms and logos being completely colored purple and ensuring that residents can rely on all of their products to taste precisely the same.
C&P is another food company, but one that does not have as much of a foothold as Rizzo. It is known for its products like Boarst Wurts and Near-Maple Syrup. Their food is usually more expensive than Rizzo’s, but it does come in more than one flavor.
Monarch Stellar Industries
Monarch Stellar Industries (MSI) goes against the wishes of the other in nearly every way. The problems started when MSI acquired the planet Monarch through a legal loophole by Sanjar Nandi. Nandi’s position with the company has been much more egalitarian than other board members, leading to the company getting embargoed by its peers.
The company is known to value the rights and lives of its employees and wants to bring democracy to the system. Unfortunately, the harsh realities of life in Halcyon accompanied by the other corporations refusing to do any business with MSI whatsoever, has seen the company struggling to survive and having to cut corners both itself and in its two subsidiaries to do so.
Archives, Records, and Miscellaneous Storage (ARMS)
The first subsidiary of MSI is ARMS, responsible for storing and maintaining all of the data and records for MSI. However, due to the company having to cut corners, ARMS is understaffed, and its processes have suffered direly.
Terra One Publications
Terra One Publications was a subsidiary of Monarch before Sanjar Nandi acquired it. The company was primarily used to maintain a printing press that published many different magazines, periodicals, and propaganda pieces to spread across Halcyon. However, the disaster that allowed the legal loophole that led to MSI’s acquisition also destroyed Terra One Publications and abandoned its printing facilities.
Those Who Choose to Resist
While Halcyon is led and controlled by the corporations, two large factions have chosen to resist and try to reclaim the colonies for the workers that make it all function.
The Iconoclasts are a faction of survivors of the Monarch disaster who have lived in the ruins of what was left behind by the company. Their democratic ideals align very well with those of MSI. However, the group is devotedly anti-corporation, so they still have clashed with MSI and the other corporations across Halcyon. While their actions have led to tension between them and the corporations in the past, it has now gotten close to boiling over into an all-out war.
When Halcyon was first colonized, it was done with two large ships filled with colonists in stasis. Only one of the ships ever arrived, as the other was lost just outside the system’s edge. The ship that made it is the UDL-001, The Groundbreaker. After being used to colonize the system, the vessel was seized by colonists who refused to live under the thumb of the corporations that brought them there and is now an orbital station that is entirely free of corporate influence. The Groundbreaker’s position as an independent station has proved to be beneficial for the entire system, which has forced the corporations to acknowledge its existence and its independence.
Your Place In All This
When you jump into The Outer Worlds, you step into the shoes of “the Stranger.” You are one of the colonists on the other lost colony ship. The board discovered the ship, but it was covered up as the corporations did not think rescuing the colonists within it was worth the price of safely reviving from their stasis. However, you are lucky as you were discovered and rescued by a scientist that happens to be a little insane named Phineas Vernon Welles. Welles brings you out of stasis and helps you escape from the colonization ship to the moon Terra 2 to meet with his associated Alex Hawthorne.
However, Hawthorne is not the best at following instructions, which causes your escape pod to land on him, killing him instantly. Regardless, you can commander his ship and take off into the system to help resist the corporations and solve the problems of those trapped under its influence. Along the way, you’ll assemble a crew of unique characters, explore the system in its entirety, and make numerous decisions that will shape all of Halcyon.
So, Let’s Talk About You
When you first start up The Outer Worlds, you can customize the stranger however you see fit. Obsidian Entertainment fans will not be surprised to know that the stranger is also defined by attributes, skills, perks, and flaws that allow you to build them however you see fit.
Your character’s attributes are what defines them and their abilities. Split into the categories of Body, Mind, and Personality; there are six attributes. When you start the game, you will receive a handful of points that you can use to define how you will approach your adventure, and you will receive more as you play through the game.
This attribute affects how well you can kill things with melee weapons and how much weight you can carry. It impacts these skills:
- 1-Handed Melee
- 2-Handed Melee
- Heavy Weapons
This attribute affects your melee attack speed and how quickly you can reload ranged weapons. It impacts these skills:
- 1-Handed Melee
This attribute increases your proficiency with non-combat items that rely on knowledge of science or medicine while also unlocking dialogue options throughout the game and affecting the extra damage you deal from critical hits. It impacts these skills:
- Long Guns
This attribute improves the damage you deal with headshots and hitting other enemy weak spots. It plays a role in these skills:
- Long Guns
- Heavy Weapons
This attribute is all about how you change your reputation with factions as well as the cooldowns of your companion’s abilities. It also affects these skills:
This attribute will affect your natural health regeneration. It impacts these skills:
- 2-Handed Melee
There are a total of seven core skills that you can level up and invest points into. Each core skill covers a cluster of skills that fall underneath it, and investing a point in the core skill increases your effectiveness with all of its sub-skills. Each core skill can be leveled up to level 50, and after 50, you can invest further points into the individual sub-skills to further specialize your build.
- Defense: Block, Dodge
- Dialog: Intimidate, Lie, Persuade
- Leadership: Determination, Inspiration
- Melee: 1-Handed Melee, 2-Handed Melee
- Ranged: Handguns, Heavy Weapons, Long Guns
- Stealth: Hack, Lockpick, Sneak
- Tech: Engineering, Medical, Science
Perks are unlocked when you level up your character, and they can give you a range of different bonuses. There are three tiers of perks you can unlock for your character that increase your effectiveness and skills, as well as five tiers of perks that can be applied to your companions.
The system boasts an extensive tree of options that you can choose from to personalize your playstyle. Each companion in the game also has a relationship quest you can complete after they come to like you enough. Completing those quests will reward you with a unique perk that does not require perk points to unlock.
Every perk in the tree only requires a single perk point to unlock, and you are rewarded with one perk point every even level, maxing out at 18. Companion perks are instead unlocked every five levels, maxing out at a total of seven. Of course, you can always get some more perk points by taking on a few flaws as well.
You will receive one perk point for each flaw you decide to shoulder. On normal difficulty, you can take three flaws; hard difficulty allows four, and Supernova five. However, you cannot simply decide to take a flaw at the start of your playthrough. Instead, they are the consequence of in-game actions.
When you have earned a flaw, you will receive a pop-up window that will choose to take the flaw’s penalties for the perk point or refuse both entirely. Some flaws have a constant impact on your attributes or skills, while others have a trigger to activate, such as being around a particular type of enemy. In total, there are 27 flaws that can be unlocked, and they serve to add some unique difficulty to the game while also allowing you to define your build with the additional perks better.
While The Outer Worlds has many different consumables that can assist you in encounters, your primary gear concerns your armor and weapons.
Armor is divided up into your body slot and your head slot. Your head slot can be filled with any helmet in the game, while the body slot is filled with either clothing, light armor, medium armor, or heavy armor. Each piece of armor has an associated armor value and weight and comes with an increase to one or more skills. This allows you to equip yourself with armor that will favor your build.
Weapons are divided into 1-handed melee, 2-handed melee, handgun, long gun, science weapon, and heavy weapon. On top of those categories, weapons can also deal with different damage types: Cold, Corrosion, N-Ray, Physical, Plasma, and Shock. Each damage type has its strengths and weaknesses, so if you’re on a harder difficulty, you’ll want to have a few spare to switch to depending on the situation. Every weapon also has a Condition stat that slowly decreases each time used. The lower the condition, the less effective the gun performs. The condition of weapons then has to be raised using a workbench.
As your journey through the dangerous wilds of The Outer Worlds, or many times even in its cities, you will have to fight. How combat plays out will largely depend on your build. Do you don the heaviest armor you can find and charge in with a big hammer? Or would you instead equip a sniper rifle and pick enemies off a distant rooftop before going in to loot what is left? You can always provide multiple weapons to help you adapt on the fly, and one mechanic that impacts every build is Tactical Time Dilation.
Tactical Time Dilation allows you to occasionally slow downtime. When you do this, you will see more detailed information about every enemy, including their faction, remaining hit points, armor level, and classification. Once you have it activated, you can also hit specific locations on an enemy’s body to cripple that part. If you cripple an enemy’s arm, it will impact their accuracy, a leg will slow them down, and hits to the chest have different effects depending on the weapon used.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
In The Outer Worlds, you can travel to three planets, not including its two DLC. Each planet has its own story behind the people there, its subfactions to interact with, characters to learn about, and choices to make.
Monarch is a moon of the gas giant planet known as Olympus. It is a tidally locked moon that does not spin as it orbits the planet and has been abandoned mainly by corporations. This is because the colonization of the moon led to terraforming that caused the moon’s natural fauna and flora to explode in rapid growth, making the entire colony a very dangerous place to be.
The hazard caused most corporations to leave except for MSI, which took the opportunity to claim the planet for itself as the final corporation with a presence there. This action pushed the rest of the board to place an embargo on the entire moon, keeping MSI from being recognized as a legitimate corporation. Now, the planet is home to MSI and the Iconoclast rebel faction that refuses to listen to them.
Tartarus is an entire planet consumed by a high-security prison. It is used to store and detain any individuals who cross the board enough to garner their ire, and it is storied impossible to escape. An armada of security ships defends the entire planet while the planet itself is used to torture and execute prisoners. Many low-level toxins also define the planet’s atmosphere. Over enough time, the toxins are very damaging, but they are not with just a little exposure. They are even used to create the planet’s main export of Tartarus Sauce, which is mayo briefly exposed to the atmosphere to give it a tangy taste.
Terra 2 is another moon of Olympus that has been successfully terraformed to have an Earth-like atmosphere and conditions. It houses the primary colony of the Halcyon Holdings Corporation and houses colonists that have embraced mainly their place in the corporate structure of Halcyon. However, it is also plagued by raiders and bandits that have realized the facade of the corporations and have taken to living in the wilds and terrorizing the colonies on the planet to survive.
The Friends You’ll Make Along the Way.
There are six companions in The Outer Worlds that you can meet and recruit to your crew. Every companion has a unique personality, backstory, perks, and proficient skills.
- Ability: Quick Draw (Ellie quickly fires a series of precision shots at an enemy)
- Perks: +10 Medical, +20% healing from medical inhaler, recover 25% health when fatally wounded
- Skills: Lie, Medical, Engineering
- Ability: Dropkick (Felix rushes a target and slams into them with both feet)
- Perks: +10 Persuade, +20% damage against cowering enemies and corporate military
- Skills: Lockpick, Persuade, Sneak
- Ability: Trickshot (Maximillian blows a group of enemies away with his shotgun)
- Perks: +10 Hack, +20% duration to dialog combat effect, +20% science weapon damage
- Skills: Hack, Intimidate, Science
Nyoka Ramnarim-Wentworth III
- Ability: Barrage (Nyoka blasts an enemy with her custom LMG, lighting other nearby targets on fire)
- Perks: +10 Lie, -20% radius for footsteps, +20% damage to creatures
- Skills: Lie, Medical, Sneak
- Ability: Overload (Pavarti creates a blast wave by slamming her hammer that will shock enemies and automechanicals)
- Perks: +10 Engineering, +10% chance to find mods, +25% Tactical Time Dialiation duration
- Skills: Engineering, Lockpick, Persuade
- Ability: Decontaminate (SAM jumps above a target and slams into the ground while ejecting cleaning fluids to damage a large area)
- Perks: -25% duration of harmful status effects, +10 Intimidate, +20% damage against automechanicals, -20% negative reputation impact from kills
- Skills: Hack, Intimidate, Science
So, You Just Can’t Get Enough
Since its release, The Outer Worlds has also received two expansions. The first DLC is Peril on Gorgon. This DLC allows the player to visit the titular planet of Gorgon. The planet has new characters, gear, a higher-level cap, and an entirely self-contained narrative. The DLC also increased the skill cap to 150 and introduced new Virtuoso skills unlocked by maximizing each subskill.
The second and final DLC released was Murder on Eridanos. This DLC again gives players access to a new planet, Eridanos. The story of this DLC sees the player is hired to investigate and solve a murder mystery of a famous actress. The story features a noir-themed setting, characters, and quests. It also introduces a range of new weapons and armor for the player to unlock, with some of them being incredibly powerful. It also increases the level cap to 36 but does not increase the skill cap or introduce any other new features.
Now You’re Ready
With that, you’re ready to travel to the Halcyon System and embark on a journey to help loosen the grip of the greedy corporations that seem bent to run their colonies and people into the ground. The game’s story offers deep characters to learn and biting satire of capitalism and the modern politics that define our world. If that doesn’t sound up your alley, it also has engaging combat will plenty of mechanical choices to make and plenty of light-hearted jokes to keep you laughing the entire playthrough.
Question: Are The Outer Worlds like Fallout?
Answer: The Outer Worlds plays very similarly to the newest Fallout titles. Its developers were also behind Fallout: New Vegas and their game have many similar mechanics and features, although it isn’t as open of a world as Fallout fans are used to.
Question: How long are The Outer Worlds?
Answer: For players who just want to experience the game’s main story, it will take around 13 hours. If you’re going to do the entire base game, it will be closer to 30, while each of the DLCs adds on around 5 hours of playtime.
Question: Are The Outer Worlds replayable?
Answer: Yes, The Outer Worlds is highly replayable. Thanks to its smaller playtime for an RPG and the numerous consequences you will experience from your decisions and different builds, ensuring that every playthrough will be different.