Outcast – A New Beginning Early Access Review: Back to the Drawing Board

I cast thee out...

It has been 25 years since the original sci-fi action RPG Outcast hit our screens. Then it was award-winning, hailed as revolutionary thanks to its use of free-roam three-dimensional exploration in an action RPG, but can the latest installment live up to the reputation? 

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While I enjoyed the combat in Outcast - A New Beginning, it didn’t blow me away. The controls and action are well-paced and responsive (making for fun and frantic action), but melee is a weak link, with very few upgrade options.

Gun nuts will be more at home thanks to a wide array of weapon modules you can use to upgrade both your rifle and pistol. These are interchangeable between the two weapons and can be swapped in and out as you wish, making for some nice choices even mid-battle. However, this variety is still limited. Don’t expect much in the way of AOE or stealth options, for example (although things do get a little better the further into the game you go).

Alas, it doesn’t take long for your enemies to start feeling a little samey. You’ll certainly find a few tougher droids in the higher difficulty bases and there are some nice surprises in the early hours. But whether you’re out in the wild or fighting through an enemy base, you’ll soon be used to the movement patterns and enemy types to expect. 

Score: 2.5/5.0 Stars


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The world of Outcast truly feels like a 3D one, with jet packs, gliding, and diving all well-implemented. The fast-travel system is delivered at a steady pace and there are some nice variations in scenery, with occasional weather and vistas ranging from snowy mountains to lush tropical beaches.

Finding out-of-the-way locations can also prove rewarding. I’ve often found valuable items in far-flung places such as remote islands and the tops of mountains which initially makes it feel worthwhile. The problem is, the more you explore the more you realise that there’s very little of interest to be found. Crafting is very limited, so you soon start to recognize the 10 or so plants and items you come across. So once you’re done wowing at the vistas, the exploration feels trivialized. 

There are things worth finding, such as fast-travel gates that don’t appear on your map until you get relatively close to them. But generally, there are no rewards just for being curious and poking around. You’ll just find more of the same few items, rather than anything particularly cool (beyond some nice waterfalls and ruined buildings). 

Score: 3.0/5.0 Stars

Related: How to upgrade your inventory space in Outcast


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While I know Outcast is an action RPG, there are ways to implement action so that it’s not quite as in your face. The story has some nice tongue-in-cheek moments, but you’ll find your gunslinging combat vet spends a lot more time than you’d think engaging in everything from gliding races to animal herding to playing hide and seek (I kid you not). 

On the plus side, these activities are generally well implemented. For example, there are Trials and Shrines to master that see you gliding, running, and jumping your way along courses to gain rewards. These can usually be gained in other ways so you’re free to ignore them. However, an alarming number of them tie into the main plot, meaning you have to do them.

Unless I’ve missed something, every quest leads into one of the two main plots which are required to to finish the game. This means taking down every droid base and completing every menial task. I love variety in a game but there’s a laundry list of intertwined quests you're forced to do to finish this one. What if I can’t do a quest? Why am I going to continue playing your game? I’m not. Either make things optional or give me an alternative, even if you want to punish me for doing so.

Score: 2.0/5.0 Stars


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The cut scenes are nicely done, and I like the fact they're in-engine rather than of the traditional immersion-killing variety. Your main character's running is a little jerky and off, but generally, the gliding, fighting, and swimming are solid. Enemy animation is also OK, but mobs getting stuck in the scenery are a little too regular to overlook.

Stopping to take in the scenery starts as a wow moment but soon becomes samey. Bases and villages largely seem to be drawn from the same set of building blocks, as do the enemies and creatures, so the early good impression soon fades to average. There's little to complain about, but not too much to write home about either. I'd expect a little more from a game with a set environment when compared to procedurally generated experiences such as No Man's Sky or a game with the scope of Starfield.

Score: 2.5/5.0 Stars

Related: How to turn Module Parts into Full Weapon Modules in Outcast - Finding Mazum


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This is where Outcast shines. The voice acting is good, the dialogue is well-written, and many of the interactions are genuinely touching and funny. The story, world, and alien race have an Avatar feel to them, but with a lot more personality and depth. I wanted to help these people, and while the central intrigue behind the main plot is a little tired, what they’ve done with it works very well. 

The cut scenes are well-made and skippable if you don’t like that kind of thing, while conversations feel real and the large cast of NPCs have a wide spread of personalities. Everyone seems to have an opinion on everything, which can get a little much if you’re looking for the sentence that’ move your quest along. However, it is all so well implemented and skippable that I had no complaints, but your mileage may vary.  

Score: 3.5/5.0 Stars

Verdict - A little undercooked

I enjoyed the demo for Outcast - A New Beginning and had high hopes for the full game. Unfortunately, the release version does very little to build on the fun you can have playing that. It felt as if the demo should be a taster for the real thing but it pretty much covers everything of note, which is unfortunate. When you visit worlds with the vision of Starfield and No Man’s Sky, despite their shortfalls, arriving in Outcast feels sadly hollow in comparison. Which is a shame, as its narrative tale deserved more. 

A free copy of the game was provided to PGG by the publisher for review purposes.

For more on Outcast - A New Beginning, check out Best gun combinations in Outcast A New Beginning here at Pro Game Guides.

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About the Author

Chris Marling is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience across newspapers, magazines, and websites. Based in the UK, he has written professionally on everything from tech to tearooms. But his real passion is gaming, going right back to the Atari 2600 - and especially RPGs and MMOs. He cut his teeth on games such as The Realm and Anarchy Online. But 20 years on still gets excited about exploring each new world. When not online, you'll find him gaming analog-style around the table. Chris has had five of his own board games published, including Pioneer Days and Armageddon.

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Outcast – A New Beginning Early Access Review: Back to the Drawing Board

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