Outward Gameplay Preview – Open World Exploration with Dark Souls Combat

*Outward developed by Nine Dots Studio, published by Deep Silver
*MSRP: $39.99 – https://store.steampowered.com/app/794260/Outward/

Outward is a decent blend of open world exploration, role playing, and Dark Souls-esque combat. There is also some charm to the overall janky quirks sprinkled throughout the game.

Each dungeon has different challenges, each with different biomes and unique enemies.

The game has large, open areas to explore, each with their own assortment of dungeons. Each dungeon is home to different biomes and a unique assortment of enemies as well. You can risk venturing forth into these dungeons for a chance of obtaining rare loot and completing quests for npcs. The exploration can be a bit overwhelming at first since the overhead compass does not show quest markers and you must rely on using the map and navigating by landmarks. Once you get used to it though, it becomes second nature.

Attacking haphazardly will leave you wide open for a counter attack.

The combat is pretty difficult and reminiscent of games like Dark Souls. Attack animations cannot be canceled so spamming attacks or using them at the wrong time will leave you wide open for counter attacks. Every action takes up stamina as well. These mechanics make for a more deliberate style of combat where you observe the enemy for openings, dodge or block attacks, and then attack whenever you have an opportunity to, all the while making sure you have enough stamina. Your base health and stamina pool is relatively low in the beginning so taking unnecessary hits will lead to a quick death.

As you progress in the game, you can buy fancier backpacks so you can carry more items as well as your lantern.

The game has some unique charm as well. You carry around a backpack which enables you to carry more loot but at the expense of having a faster dodge. You are able, however, to drop your backpack mid fight to be able to dodge at full speed again. The game also has dark areas so having a lantern is a must but it comes at the cost of being more easily detected by enemies. Your max heath and stamina decrease as you die so using a tent or sleeping bag is essential to managing your health. This does come with a downside as some quests are time sensitive and sleeping will take up a considerable amount of time.

Overall, Outward is a pretty interesting take on an open world RPG. The combat is probably the most outstanding part of the game and it is quite difficult but rewarding to master. The game does have two player co-op, both local and online, which makes the game a lot more enjoyable and considerably easier. I played on Steam and was able to play with a friend on Epic Game Store, but as far as I know, there is no cross platform play between consoles and pc.

One thought on “Outward Gameplay Preview – Open World Exploration with Dark Souls Combat

  1. This was not the first time and it would not be the last as Outward drops the player into a game world, shrugs its shoulders, and leaves the player(s) to their own devices, for better or worse; it is almost always, unfortunately, for the worse. takes it to the Nth degree, making the constant struggle for survival feel like an excuse to mask actual gameplay rather than a design choice.

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