Outward is a fun old time-y survival game and an upcoming open-world RPG from developer Ninedots. This game is very evocative of the Fable days. Outward, has some good bones to it. At first glance, it looks promising. We love our Fantasy RPG’s here at The Daily Fandom, and this one has a nice twist to it. Instead of being the big hero of the game; you are one special guy/girl to set off on a mission to save the world. You’re a Joe Shmoe, an average Annie, cast out, a Black Sheep! Okay, enough analogies.
You’re a person that nobody likes, and you have to prove your worth from the get-go. You have a debt on your head from your ancestors Blood-Price. You have the responsibility to take care of this by forking over 150 coin-in attempts at keeping your home and not being thrown out in the dirt. Which, first off, sparks our competitive side and makes us want to prove everyone wrong, but, oh, young grasshopper, we have a lot to learn! (Which we will get into in a bit.)
Graphics & Updates
The graphics from the beginning of Outward are a bit lacking, but it does make up for this once you enter the open world. The forests and lands have a lot more work put into them than your character itself does. It could further use more customization in the character area. Most games in this style give a lot more to customize; in the looks and graphics of a character/hero. Customization of that caliber is something that is very popular with these types of games nowadays. Especially ones with multi-player options available. However, because it’s new, it has the potential to grow and get better with time.
The big question is, will it?
Outward being brand new means that it still has its kinks to work out, glitches to remove, and updates to keep the game going in a solid direction and easier play for its gamers. If the company keeps its ears open, it will hear what are issues for most of its players and fix them along the way. Maybe even adding items and tactics to further make your character unique to your play-style. It needs some important reworks to be able to not frustrate the living soul from your body. We, however, believe it is doable.
Tip #1: Mapping
The map system needs some work. As it stands, there’s virtually no good mapping in the game, and we have to use the directions based on what the characters tell you. You have to memorize these steps that remain given with not much tracking of such landmarks. Which can be understandable with the renaissance/fantasy style it’s going for. To make you feel like you truly have been dropped in the Medieval middle ages, just trying to make your way through and survive it. But in an advance world of gaming, people need some things to make roaming easier.
What I mean by this is that there is no “You are here!” mapping. It’s a hand-drawn map with some pictures of vague looking landmarks that you literally second guess whether or not you’re looking at an old windmill or a lonely tower. Navigation on top of this is difficult. You don’t get a journal that tells you how to go from the updates you’ve assembled. You get a lowly Innkeeper telling you some directions, and you either have to remember them on the top of your head, or physically write them down, so you don’t get lost in the large open worlds. Pro tip: Keep the notepad open for any directions that remain given to you.
Oh, Innkeeper, Where Art Thou?
The buildings in the towns don’t exactly have signs in front of them. So finding the inn took us a bit more time than we’re willing to admit to. (Made us feel foolish on more than one occasion.)
Blue Chamber Mission:
First! Head to the Enmerkar Forest:
Head east past the conflict mountain and keep watch for the chersonese’s Vigil Crystal.
Then head south of it and you’ll find the road to the forest.
In Enmerkar, stay on the north side of the lake and head east as you look for the stone walls of Berg, built into the northern mountain walls.
Be aware of Manticores.
That’s what the Innkeeper stated and what we wrote down because we couldn’t remember it for the life of us. It sounds easy enough, but when you don’t know what you’re looking for, or your correlation to that area, finding it the first time can take forever (*insert long sigh here*). Once you get it the first time you get a bit more familiarized with the area. You feel confident that you know what you’re doing, but then you die and wind up somewhere very different. You pull out this map desperately looking for some type of landmark to prove where you really are. It’s a guessing game at that point, while aimlessly wandering trying not to remain attacked again to find your way.
Tip #2: Be Ready For Travel
Don’t rush into traveling until you’re more prepared and your quest decisions have been made. You have to have items that will help you make it there and decent weapons. You need rations in order to move from one map to another. For example, the trip to Enmerkar will cost you 3 rations. Otherwise, you just spent 30 mins+ trying to get to this entrance of a new map. Just to find out you won’t survive the trip to it and can’t go. Just (again) to turn around and go back to town, spending real time getting there.
There really ought to be a better travel system set up for this game. You literally spend hours walking to travel to another town. There is no fast travel you can pay for. There is no horse to ride on. There’s nothing but walking and wanting this trip to end. Be careful the whole time, do not get into any battles you aren’t equipped to handle. Maybe fast travel or mounts will be something that they will add to Outward, or update with time.
This would be a great option and can be used to help customize who you are as a character by what type of mount you’re using. (But maybe we’re just applying too many ideas from other RPG’s of this era and Outward just wants to stand out.) But without some type of assistance with travel, it can get tedious and boring.
Pro tip: Remember the roads you take; although, they can be confusing at first since the maps are so large. You will need to familiarize yourself with these areas quickly, or you can get lost quite easily. Especially if you remain ambushed and taken to another part of the map. Take note of everything you see – that is super important.
Tip #3: Dying (& It Happens A LOT)
Dying is a part of Outward. Get used to it! You will find the best way to learn is to just surrender and let them kill you. There’s no pride in Outward, we warn you now. So in the very beginning, don’t focus on spending your coins on items too quickly. You will die, A LOT, and that means risking losing those items you purchased or worked hard for. So take your time to get the hang of the game first before building yourself up.
The dying system is unique in the sense that you never know what you’re going to get. (You don’t actually die, or more so in the styling of Pokemon, you “faint” out of battle.) In this you might be punished for dying by losing your items. You might get lucky and another adventurer will save you and take you back to town. Or you might have to die in order to do specific quests or get specific items. Which is cool, “sometimes” but just another straw in the camels back when you’re hours labored into items and get attacked by bandits.
If you die in the hands of a bandit, they take you hostage. Stripping you out of your clothing and your bags. Yeah, your bag. The one you have been lugging around with all of your supplies to survive; the supplies you labored hours into getting. With the struggle of grinding coins just to purchase those things to survive. *Takes a deep breath.* Without that, you’re a sitting duck. So here you are, having to sneak around camp looking for your things without being caught because quite frankly, you have no way of defending your naked self.
If you get caught you can most likely say goodbye to that bag of goodies you have, because there is close to no chance of you getting back in there to get it (it’s a suicide mission). So here’s another Pro Tip: (We cannot express our feelings more strongly towards this) — STAY AWAY FROM BANDITS.
Tip #4: “Trust No One”
You see people walking down the road? Don’t trust them. One of our first battles in the game was with a Hyena. We were losing, of course, because we remained armed with farming gear as weapons and 30 coins to our name. (But failure is the process of learning in Outward.) Thinking this is the beginning, surely the monsters will be low-level and handleable. Then two men walking down the path started attacking the creature. In our minds, these were allies who just so happened to be around to help you out of battle.
“How convenient to have NPC’s help you in the beginning when you’re struggling.”
…We couldn’t be more wrong. In the midst of the battle, we remained taken out by one of the men and taken hostage. We were naked and afraid, and crouching around a dark camp (it was fun). But you can imagine how frustrating this could be if you’re at a high level with a lot of items to lose. BE CAREFUL!
There’s The Option For Multiplayer Gameplay
The great thing about this game is having the option for multiplayer. Being able to play with your friends to help get you through missions and survive through heavy battles, can make or break you in quite a lot of situations. Although it helps the battle and quests a bit more, all of the things mentioned in this article will still need to be held accounted for, but double now. Just because there’s two of you, doesn’t mean you should jump into battles neither of you remain equipped for. Be careful, otherwise, you will just be making two people angry and possibly without items that were worked tirelessly for.
Tip #5: Preparing/Prepping For Battle
Some of the best items you will find for battle will be from rummaging around in chests. So be diligent, constantly on the lookout. If all else fails, you’ll at least find some items to sell for coins to purchase a decent weapon to take with you. Outward is very reminiscent of the old Fable games, and a bit of Skyrim as well. This game feels like it’s lacking a bit in mechanics. We thought that maybe it was this difficult because it was still so early in the game, but it didn’t get any better. The beginning really could have used a bit more to help the players figure the game out quicker. Maybe some training options that don’t cost every coin you have to your name. The only tip you will mostly see in the game is from loading screens.
The battling system needs work. Its movements, clicks, and mechanics are sloppy, at its best. Fighting, even for veterans of the RPG genre, will find this difficult to get through. You will find yourself avoiding battles altogether because of this. Which takes away from the fun that most people have or even expect from an RPG game. Hopefully, more of a divide will be made between you, and the creatures and people you come across in battle. Someway to know the level of what you’re dealing with. This way you will have a better idea of who you can and should not battle with. That would significantly help players who want to progress in the game but aren’t sure if they’re ready and don’t want to risk dying to find out.
Tip #6: Supplies
In the beginning stages of the game, it’s best to play super cautious to gain up materials to buy and sell. Funds are very important for buying items for survival. Wraps, potions, and clothes with armor that help you survive attacks. Lanterns to see in dark caves, and at night when you get stuck out in the fields. Canteens of water and food to sustain your body, as well as accessories to endure the weather changes.
Oh yes, that’s right, the weather changes. You have to keep in mind the heat and the cold. Heavy clothing for winter snow storms, and light clothing and hats to shade from the blistering heat of the summer. You need to pay attention to all of these details. Your body can easily overheat in a battle if you’re not equipped properly, or freeze to death by walking through the snow in sandals! Think The Sims meets Skyrim.
Tip #7: Camping Out…
…and ways to sleep. Tents are very important to your survival through this game. Sleeping heals your health and stamina but also leaves you vulnerable to attacks. So be careful where you decide to camp out for the night, or for a few hours. The quality of your tent matters too. If you’re just using a bedroll, it will not be very efficient outside of the town walls.
The higher the quality of the tent, the more weather it can endure, and covering it can lend you to your vulnerable placement. You also get three options for things to do if you so choose to rest longer. You can choose how many hours can be spent on Sleep, Guard, and on Repairs. To be safe and efficient, you should be doing a bit of all three of these things.
Sleep to regain maximum health and maximum stamina after a fight, as well as recover your tiredness. Whereas Guard protects you against being ambushed in the night. The longer you guard, the better your chances are at protecting yourself from an ambush. Repairs are then used to help fix the damage you have accumulated on your weapons through battle, or wear on your clothing through its use. So balancing these throughout the night will keep you in better shape for your travels.
Tip #8: Self-Care
There’s so much you have to be careful about in this game; adding to the mechanics of taking care of your body, and to not get sick makes things more interesting. The best way to heal many ailments is to camp and sleep, but that’s difficult to do when you’re out in the fields and can get ambushed for doing so. The big thing about this game initially is taking care of yourself and your needs. You need to learn this right away. (Even though there isn’t much of a tutorial on what you should or shouldn’t be doing.) You need to be able to feed yourself, hydrate, find a safe place to sleep and tend to your wounds from battle — which will hit you hard and fast if you’re not prepared. You can easily get caught off guard.
There are cool mechanics added to foraging for your meals; either by picking berries, or even fishing. Fighting creatures in the fields can give you the opportunity to take meat from their bodies for cooking over a fire. You then make it into a prepped meal which will last longer and keep your food from rotting as quickly as it does in its raw form. Or take their hide, which can be used for crafting items. Some meals can even give you special effects, like boosts in your Stamina or Mana. Even some places entered can give you special effects, like possession for instance, which gives you boosts in your abilities.
Tip #9: Battling Is Harder Than It Looks
Player tip: If the enemy looks too strong to fight, they most likely are. Wait until you have stronger weapons, or learn more abilities as well as mana and alchemy spells before engaging in these battles.
To be honest, that doesn’t quite give you an advantage either, but it’s a tip that can help. There’s virtually no leveling up system set up here. Your ability is strictly based on what items you can afford to purchase and what training you can afford to purchase. You learn abilities by buying the training from a person in whichever town you find yourself in. If you lose your expensive weapons by dying in an awful noway-to-avoid way, well there is no return for you. Start over from the beginning (basically), because you will be stripped of everything you worked hard for up to that point. Yes. It’s that brutal and heartless.
Tip #10: Crafting & Scavenging
Crafting is important for items as well. They mention at the beginning of the game to not hold onto too many items because it can weigh you down. That is if they do not completely halt your movement. Which is true. But most items you find around you can be used in crafting. (Or sold for coins, which we’re all desperate for that coin!) So if you managed to keep your Lighthouse on the first mission of the game, use it to hold your items that have been accumulated that aren’t things you could otherwise sell.
Oil, fabric, scraps of metal, even pieces of wood ripped from trees; little things like this can make wraps to heal yourself. They can even refill your lanterns, make a bonfire to cook food or use your alchemy set to create unique potions and spells. You can craft fabric that can charge your weapons with heat damage, or electric shocks, for example. This can give you a bit more of a damaging boost in battles that may seem a bit too much for you to take.
There are even plants and bugs that can help you in tough situations as well. Like a mushroom root that can muffle the sounds of your footsteps to help you get past enemies without them hearing you, and avoid that battle you can’t handle altogether. Or a beetle that can help suppress the cold in a storm if you find yourself dying from frostbite.
Tip #11: Questing
Initially, there are three main quests to choose from: The Blue Chamber Collective, The Holy Mission, or the Heroic Levant Mission. These quests do help the game feel a bit more tailored to you. These missions will take up most of your gameplay, and the direction your game goes in, so choose wisely! (Of course, there are plenty of side missions to go on as well.)
You do get different areas of expertise to train in. Like training in Mana as an alchemist, assassins gain strength and attacking abilities, and traders build up your storage to buy and sell for that coin. It’s not as formal as it should be. There should be more rewards in these classes like in Final Fantasy XIV. But that is something they can always add to as Outward grows its community. You don’t get coins from battling either. If anything, you get items that if kept (if you even have the room to keep it) might bring in some coins sold. Player Tip: Buying a larger bag to hold your items is a definite, first purchase that we recommend.
You mostly gain coins from doing main and side quests. Or mining for items out in the field, lugging them around and selling them off to town for just a few coins. But alas! This is the way of an adventurer in Outward. Stumbling through battle mechanics that are frustrating at best, trying to keep your body healthy while traveling, and not getting yourself into battles you have no way of surviving through, all while trying to figure out that damn map!
The Conclusion Of Outward
As things stand right now, Outward has a good idea in mind. It’s an Adventuring Simulator. The concept is cool and intriguing, but it needs some balancing and updating to the battle system so that it can run more smoothly for players. Glitching issues within the dying system that need to be confronted. (When coming across the Berg attacker in the fields, we got stuck in a loop of death. Respawning over and over back into the same battle we first died in.) Things like this can be common since it’s new. So Outward still needs time to settle in and really grow as a game. However, Outward is a difficult game.
Do not go into this without research, or you will find that you wasted hours of work in the game and losing everything, rage quitting, never to return again. Outward if rated on a scale of 1-10 of difficulty would be by no doubt in our minds a 10. It’s unnecessarily hard, and if you like a challenge, then, by all means, jump right in. It will definitely test your survival skills, your battling and gaming abilities, and your patience. Keep all of this in mind while you try to survive through the wilds of Outward!