The soundtrack by Justin E. Bell is still excellent, and the voice acting is uniformly superb – there's nothing here not to like.
A definite improvement over the 2019 original, but given the horsepower offered by new-gen consoles, the visual fidelity, frame rate and overall technical performance could have been better.
Not only is The Outer Worlds a deep and deeply involving RPG, but it also works as a straight-up shooter – small tweaks to the gameplay tighten things up, but Obsidian essentially got things right the first time. And it's still great.
Masses of content, a raise to the level cap, and some subtle gameplay improvements are all well and good, but the loading times are only okay. As an upgrade, this is nice, but you can't help but feel that it doesn't quite go the extra mile.
The same list, so one that covers all of the requisite bases, including the various major choices and their consequences, and also requires a few playthroughs.
March 07, 2023
'Fallout in space' was the overriding chatter surrounding The Outer Worlds when it launched in 2019 (you can find our original review here). And while such a pithy description does little to fully encapsulate what developer Obsidian Entertainment's first-person RPG is all about, it's a glib three-word label that manages to aptly sum it up. Returning to The Outer Worlds feels like slipping on a warm and familiar jacket – right from the get-go, you're thrust into the game's complex world, where, almost immediately, you're faced with a decision that threatens to cause a major shift in the plague-ridden town of Edgewater. The Outer Worlds: Spacer's Choice Edition marks the game's new-gen debut, and very nice it looks, too.
For anyone yet to play The Outer Worlds, the Spacer's Choice Edition represents a golden opportunity to delve into an enhanced, all-singing, all-dancing version of Obsidian's RPG opus, and for those who've already explored all that the Halcyon colony has to offer, it's a great excuse to go round again. And, given that this is about as close as the studio has ever come to eclipsing its own Fallout: New Vegas, in terms of sheer, unfettered choice and consequence, characterful depth, and offbeat humour, The Outer Worlds is a no-brainer for a revisit and technical upgrade. Few RPGs boast the same level of personality, in an expansive galaxy brimming with hostile wildlife, factions at loggerheads, loot, weaponry, and biting satirical humour.
As the so-called 'variable', you're free to bring order or spread chaos across the cosmos, and there's a masochistic delight to be had throwing spanners in the works and flies into ointments wherever possible. Even after three years or so, and one full playthrough, it feels good returning to The Outer Worlds, the Spacer's Choice Edition adding new-gen polish to what was already a fairly well-put-together experience. On Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, The Outer Worlds is noticeably more attractive; the extra animations and the smoothing-off of rough edges lends the character models and environments a slightly crisper, cleaner look without compromising on definition and detail.
Overall performance isn't particularly impressive, even in Performance Mode, where you'd think the frame rate might be lovely and buttery. Instead, it suffers from very occasional, very minor stutters, despite presumably shooting for a rather modest 30fps – there's no way it's anywhere approaching 60fps, or, rather, it doesn't look like it's attaining that frame rate. Loading times aren't that great either, although they're a marked improvement over the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version, but then, that should be a given. Additionally, there's a little bit of late texture pop-in, which you might not expect in an upgraded, Xbox Series X|S/PlayStation 5 version of a more than three-year-old game (which is incidentally available as a $9.99 upgrade for existing owners of the base game and both DLCs).
Are the improved visuals and enhanced performance enough of a reason to go back to The Outer Worlds, then, despite the technical niggles? Not quite, but as the perfect reason for a second playthrough and another bite of the cherry as far as achievements are concerned (this release has its own list), there's a compelling case to be made. The time-slowing Tactical Time Dilation (TTD) system remains a nice, albeit not quite as fun, take on Fallout's VATS, character Flaws bring a sometimes comical wrinkle to the other, more traditional RPG elements, and the quality of the dialogue is still a joy several years on. The choices you make also carry real weight, and the RPG depth on offer is excellent.
Also bundled with the Spacer's Choice Edition is the game's two DLC expansions – Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos – both of which are worthwhile, fairly substantial chapters, bringing added value to this enhanced version of The Outer Worlds. With the DLCs, The Outer Worlds' level cap is increased to 99, and there are further mysteries to be unravelled across Halcyon, be it upon the Gorgon Asteroid, where you're tasked with discovering the origins of Adrena-Time, or on Eridanos, where you get to play detective, determining who's behind the demise of Rizzo spokesperson Halycon Helen.
If you've yet to dive into Obsidian's glorious pulp sci-fi, then there's never really been a better time to do so. The Outer Worlds: Spacer's Choice Edition might not be the greatest example of a new-gen upgrade we've seen, but, as a reminder of how accomplished, thoroughly engaging, and just plain fun The Outer Worlds is, firing it up on Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5 is most definitely the way to go, despite its minor technical foibles.