The Outer Worlds is the “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” of RPGs. Obsidian, a developer that’s made sequels to both BioWare’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Bethesda’s Fallout 3, has merged those two distinctive flavors, and they taste great together. I wouldn’t quite call this space-frontier themed adventure the best of both, but it’s a creative and well-made take that’s both familiar and new all at once.
The Outer Worlds takes place in a solar system-wide colony ruled by corporate feudalism and filled with dark humor. Everywhere you look there’s a satirical slogan or crazy-eyed mascot, a worker being treated as hilariously disposable, and oppressive propaganda and policies keeping everybody in line. And, as a big fan of the short-lived sci-fi western show Firefly, I spotted its influences everywhere. From the on-the-nose “Firefly” branding on the energy weapon ammo to the fact that your junky transport’s young naive engineer lady talks pretty much exactly like Kaylee, it’s layered on thick in a way I appreciated. It isn’t hard to picture Captain Malcolm Reynolds reading off some of the more sarcastic dialogue options, either.