Outer Wilds Review
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Outer Wilds Review

September 8, 2019


– [Daemon] Discovery
is a difficult sensation to legitimately simulate in a video game. Countless worlds smother us with lore, giving us the opportunity
to understand them better. But that’s usually optional,
so it often feels superficial. Outerwilds, a space exploration sim laced with puzzles and a mystery story, sidesteps that problem by
putting the storytelling that normally litters the
background of most games front and center. By turning lore into a puzzle
and a means for progress, it makes learning about
these worlds feel vital. As an anthropologist caught
in a Majora’s Mask-style time loop, you must study an ancient race that once lived in your solar system to figure out how to move time forward. Solving your problem means
untangling an interplanetary web of alien texts and technology spread across the solar
system’s five planets and other key places. The simple premise gives way
to the interesting story, or stories, really, you
uncover in your travels. The aliens, like Metroid’s Chozo
or Mass Effect’s Protheans, seem unknowable at first glance, but become relatable as
you learn more about them. Exploration is the
centerpiece of Outer Wilds. Revealing the whole story is daunting, but once you set out on your expedition, things start to fall into place. You do not find gear, and
there are no clear-cut missions spelled out for you to perform. You simply travel to new
places, find alien ruins, and read as much as you can. Each piece of information you find gives you more information, pointing you towards another clue. (ethereal pad) This is where the time loop
mechanic really shines. By breaking things down
into 22-minute adventures before each reset, Outer Wilds forces you to explore
each world piece by piece. Not only does that make a
big task feel attainable, it gives you the freedom to
breathe and take in the sights. You do get a few pointers. For instance, important
details are highlighted and stored in a log on your ship, but it’s on you to put
the pieces together. This can make it difficult
to track your progress, as it isn’t always clear
what clues you need to reach the next key moment. The ambiguity gives way
to big rewards though. Figuring out how each world works, solving a puzzle or
discovering a secret entrance, feels like a genuine eureka moment. Each of the five planets you search serves up a unique look and feel, as well as a mechanic concept
that create natural puzzles out of getting from point A to point B. From the emerald seas of Giant’s Deep, whose sky-high whirlpools
can pull islands into orbit, to Brittle Hollow, a dying planet with a
black hole at its core, each place feels unique
and meticulously crafted. The time loop also plays an important role in traveling the world
and solving puzzles. Certain areas only become
accessible at specific moments, so visiting the same
place at different points can yield different results. Stumbling into the right
place at the right time leads to some of the best discoveries. Each planet has the capacity
to truly surprise you, even after you thought you
figured everything out. The ability to make
discoveries in any order has its drawbacks though. No one is going to tell you
if you’re missing something, which can make things
complicated and frustrating. If you find facts out of order, or approach a ruins from
the wrong direction, certain tasks may seem impossible. It’s usually easy to look
around and find what you missed, but other times, especially
in late-game locations, where entrances are obscured, it’s impossible to tell
where to even begin. It’s hard to hold the frustrations raised by those obtuse puzzles
against Outer Wilds though. Given how you have to process lore and apply it to the
world to make progress, we’ll likely see players
sharing knowledge online, as they did with games
like Fez and The Witness. There’s something really
fun about sharing stories, and in particular, hearing
tales of discoveries you haven’t made yet. Outer Wilds’s tricky
exploration and puzzle solving is definitely an acquired taste. Its specific brand of active
storytelling differs wildly from highly-guided open worlds
that many of us think of when discussing non-linear gameplay. Though it can be confounding when events don’t unfold as intended, the feeling of discovering
something new about the story, or following the facts
to something unexpected, far outweighs those hiccups. For more on Outer Wilds, introduce yourself with our
10-minute gameplay walkthrough. Plus, check out our reviews
of other space-faring games like Observation. And for everything else,
keep it right here at IGN.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. lmao imagine if they released this game on the same that as outer Worlds I bet alot of people would accidentally buy this over outer worlds

  2. There's something wrong with the audio mixing, like the highs are too high, so it makes his voice squeeky or something like that

  3. I played this game so many years ago. Back then the story wasn't really there yet and many features where not implemented. So believe me when I say, even back then, this game was a blast to play. Don't sleep on this one.

  4. You know what's ironic? If this indie-developed title turned out to be a better game than The Outer Worlds, which everyone is apparently so incredibly hyped for. Personally, I wouldn't even be surprised tbh.

  5. Been playing it for 2 hours , keep dying over and over again, I can honestly say it's a pile of shite. What space explorer doesn't have weapons. Games trash, better than no man's sky, but equally just as boring

  6. the game looks wonderful can't wait to play, but if this is an epic timed exclusive. I will wait a year and buy on steam more than likely at a discounted price.

  7. You can jump down geysers (that are not active) and you will fall for like 3-5 seconds and it’s really cool what’s down there

  8. I just got a jump scare and absolutely flipped out I thought this was a chill game anyone know if there is more jump scares

  9. I love this game so much. A gem for sure. The music gives me goosebumps every time. Love everything about it.

  10. This game is amazing and I’ve only just started playing it two hours ago and this game would be a whole new sea of thieves style if the devs added multiplayer would automatically be my favourite game other than SoT

  11. Am I the only one who dislikes the way he narrates? I can't put my finger on it. Sounds phony, maybe?

  12. Lore being optional isn't what makes lore feel superficial in other games. Lore being disconnected from the plot and pointless is what makes it feel superficial in other games.

    Lore in Soma: Optional but fascinating and it helps you make sense of the main story.

    Lore in Dishonored 2: Anybody out here care about whales? No? Oh, okay.

  13. I really want to love this game.. But like IGN said. You don't know where to even begin. Yes you can start anywhere. But it leaves me feeling completely lost. You don't really know when you've done something that necessarily informs you to move on to the next planet or location? Kind of like am I done here? Umm ok I suppose I will leave and go somewhere else. I am for sure going to give this some more time though. It pulls me in without a doubt

  14. We need to encourage games like this that are shrouded in mystery where we can experience the fun in discovery and figuring out how things work.

  15. I wonder how many flat Earthers got this game and hated it when they realised that the planets are spheres.

  16. 8.4 is too low. This is the best game I've played in years. It not only pushes the envelope and shows what can be done with an imaginative concept, it's also incredible immersive and enjoyable. How they constructed the narrative is beyond me but they've pulled it off perfectly. This is one of only a few true gaming masterpieces.

  17. Just got ate by a giant flying monster.
    Don't know what it looked like, I was flying towards the waypoint, heard a deep growl then giant teeth coming over my ship.

  18. Too bad this game was delayed on PC, I'd love to play it since it looks cool. Hopefully I'll remember it when it comes out next year.

  19. I don't know if this game is for me, I tried getting into The Witness and it just wasn't for me. I might try this one out, not that it really matters, I can just pirate it because Epic game store.

  20. This is the only game I have ever played that made me feel true terror. What is around every corner? I must reach the end.

  21. I died 5 minutes into the game and uninstalled, not my type of game I guess, but I do hope that it suit you!

  22. Who here sh*ts them selves every time the angular fish got you but I found out to not move when going by them

  23. I expected a chill puzzle/exploration game such as Riven, Myst or The Witness, but this game is actually kind of intense. Also, you can tell it's made with a lot of heart.

  24. The controls are killing my enjoyment of this game. I want to explore without taking part in a flight simulator. Prey did space controls perfectly, for example.

    Brilliant concept, though. Going to try and stick with it.

  25. I've played for about an hour. I've landed on The Attlerock and translated some lore. The problem? I'm bored and not enjoying it at all. Should I stick with it or is this game just not for me?

  26. That music every time the sun was about to explode always was calming and nerve wracking at the same time!😖

  27. its crazy how i went in not knowing what i was doing and just made random discoveries that seemingly made no sense but slowly started to piece together in a way i didn't think possible. it's been such a cool journey.

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