As my crew readied for what could be considered a suicide mission, I was ready. Almost too ready. It was our job to save Dr. Welles, and if we couldn’t, the fate of the entire colony would be at stake. But first, I had to land the ship. The crew was nervous, but I knew the job would be easy, just how easy was anyone’s guess. As I walked to the airlock, I received a call from personnel. Our unscheduled landing in the prison was not planned. And because it wasn’t planned, I would be fined and killed. Luckily, my speech skills were high enough that I had the guard on the other end of the call send me a copy of his ID. It was just the thing I needed to walk through the prison undetected.
I spent hours traveling the Halycon colony brokering peace, killing space bugs, and helping my crew come to grips with life choices. Throughout that time, I must have garnered some goodwill, because every person that I helped arrived at the prison to help me break through the enemy lines. Except they didn’t need to. If I entered the jail guns blazing, I would have loved their assistance. It was a scene straight from the X-Men movies. I was Quicksilver, calmly walking through a firefight with none the wiser of what I was doing. When I finally reached Dr. Welles, I already talked my way past Chairman Rockwell, leader of the board of directors for the colony. And now the only person left in front of me was Shopia Akande, a die-hard company woman. But unlike the marauders of Emerald Vale, we handled our dispute with class. I saved Dr. Phineas Wells without having to fire a single bullet. But it didn’t have to be that way.
The Outer Worlds is a game about choice. When Dr. Welles saves you from the Hope, a colony space ship adrift in space, you get to choose who you want to be. Depending on your choice, the game provides various systems and companions to help you on your quest to save the other members of The Hope and the Halycon colony. There are six companions that you’ll meet during your travels in the colony. Each companion has their own set of perks and side quests that you can complete. There are also workbenches for you to improve and modify weapons and armor, which is vital because weapons and armor degrade over time.
But’s it’s not all conversations and speech checks. You’ll also need to fight. Stats matter in combat, and if you aren’t careful, you can often find yourself outgunned. Even with friends by your side, they can be as strong as a wet sheet of paper if improperly configured. Because I was a smooth talker and not a fighter, I found myself on the wrong end of the barrel multiple times. The combat mechanics are the one knock I have against the game as shooting isn’t as fun as a dedicated first-person shooter, nor do you have a system like VATS to help you. You end playing the long game, shooting from a distance, and letting your friends help where they can.
When the credits rolled, and I learned what happened to the colony, I thought about playing the game again. What would occur in a universe where everyone’s life is tied to a corporation if I decided to work for “the man”? The Halycon colony is a place where people cannot die without making sure their paperwork is in order. Instead of freeing them, what if I decided to enslave them further? But then I thought about the load times, and how much quicker my travels would be if I didn’t have to see a loading screen so often. It’s a sacrifice, one I might make down the road, until then I saved a colony, and I did it my way.