The Outer Worlds is, if you haven’t heard the buzz about it, a triumphant return to form for Obsidian. It is a gloriously silly, gloriously well scripted, gloriously brilliantly acted game, with more branches in the dialogue than you can shake a stick at, and multiple factions to manage your relationship with. With so much choice in things to do, places to go and people to meet, the first few hours can be somewhat overwhelming, with a lot of information thrown at you in a short period of time. So that’s where I come in, with a few tips and tricks on how to best set off on your adventure in The Outer Worlds; things that I wish I had known before I first set foot on Terra 2.
Tip 1: Stealing
Now, we all know that in the real world, stealing is a bad thing. You’ll get caught, the police will come and it just generally won’t end well. However, in The Outer Worlds, stealing is a viable way of *ahem* “obtaining” items that you maybe can’t afford to buy yet.
Handily, if you are about to steal something, the items will have a nice red icon on them denoting that these items belong to someone else. Now here’s my top tip for successful larceny: shut the damn door! If no-one sees you steal an item, then the crime never happened and you can skip away scot-free into the sunset, clutching your ill gotten gains.
If for whatever reason you can’t be alone in the room with whatever it is you have your eye on, then it is possible, with sufficient points spent in the dialogue skill tree, to brazen your way out of the offence, defusing a potential fight. However, your standing with the faction you’ve stolen from will go down, and this can have a downward spiral, and a knock on effect for your dealings with this faction going forward. For instance, when you are friendly with a faction, say Spacers Choice, the prices from vending machines owned by that corporation will be lower. The opposite is true though, and if you annoy them enough, not only will they shoot on sight, but their prices will increase as well.
So think before you go around swiping anything not nailed down!
Tip 2: Companions
Companions make your life a lot easier in The Outer Worlds, there’s no doubt about it. In addition to being useful pack mules should you find yourself over-encumbered, they provide backup in firefights, and also all come with interesting back stories and various types of baggage.
Each companion, with the exception of one (but I’m not going to tell you which one, oh no, no spoilers here!) also has an interesting quest that they would like you to help them with, ranging from evicting a giant Mantiqueen from a mountain in order to bury their comrades, to finding just the right outfit to have a date with someone. These missions are easily as big as any of the main story quests, requiring multiple steps and multiple places to be visited, and upon completion, you really feel a sense of satisfaction that you were able to help a friend out.
Now, the thing with companions is, they are missable. If you don’t talk to the right people in the right way, they won’t join you. I didn’t realise this until my son decided he wanted to try this new game, and he managed to make it to the Groundbreaker, an area in the game, with no companions and was really having a tough time because of it. So my advice here is to talk to everyone you can. Not only will you have a chance of finding and recruiting a companion, but even the meekest looking NPC could have a side mission for you that can lead you to to goodness knows where!
Tip 3: Healing
As I said at the top of the article, when you first escape from being frozen, a lot of information is thrown at you, and me being elderly, not all of it stuck. It was about 2/3rds into the game before I wondered how it was I was meant to heal myself, as the enemies were getting quite strong at this point.
Well, a swift delve into the menus told me that all I needed to do was press LB to activate my magic inhaler, making me healthy. However, its not quite that simple. The inhaler runs off things called Adreno, so whenever you see them, in the world or the corpses of your victims, make sure that you pick them up. They are automatically loaded into your mask, so as long as you have a good stash, you’ll be fine.
As your armour improves, you’ll take less damage, but the thing to watch out for are the status effects, like acid or fire. These keep doing damage over time, so keep an eye on your health and heal in time and all will be well.
Tip 4: Damage Types
In The Outer Worlds, there are 4 basic damage types, and there is a time and a place to use each one.
Some weapons you find in the world will already come with an elemental typing, but the majority won’t. This is were workbenches come in, and these things will soon be indispensable. You see, as you fight and adventure, your weapons and armour degrade, as you’d expect. If someone smacks you on the head with a big hammer, and they will, you’d expect your helmet to take some damage, and so it is. Workbenches allow you break down weapons and armour you don’t want, thus obtaining weapon and armour parts that can be used to patch up your equipped items.
Workbenches also allow you to “Tinker” with your equipment, which basically involves spending bits – the in-game currency – and weapon or armour parts to make your gear stronger. This allows you to deal or receive more damage without breaking a sweat.
The last, and potentially best feature of a workbench is this: you can apply modifications to weapons or armour. These can be new barrels or scopes, increasing fire rate or effective range, but best of all are the magazine mods. With names like “Mag-2-Zap”, what these do is apply an elemental typing to your weapons. So, if you are in an area with an awful lot of auto-mechanicals, making your main weapon have the electrical typing, which they are weak to makes a lot of sense.
For each of the elemental typings, there is a group of enemies weak to it, so having all the bases covered makes a lot of sense. However, finding out who is weak to what is part of the fun, so I’ll leave you find out for yourselves.
Tip 5: What Do You Want To Be?
In broad brush strokes, you can play The Outer Worlds in one of three ways. You can be the sneaky ninja type, creeping around in the shadows and using stealth and surprise attacks to do a lot of damage. You can be all-out combat, wearing heavy armour and carrying heavy weapons, using your superior fire power to rain destruction down upon you enemies. The last option is an interesting one, as it’s possible to talk your way out of a lot of bad situations in the game, using a combination of Lying, Persuasion and Intimidation to get your own way.
Having a high dialogue skill will sometimes open up a surprise third way for missions to play out, with a memorable example being that I was able to broker peace between two factions, rather than just making one happy and one sad. If your particular skill isn’t high enough, you’ll still see the option in the dialogue tree, but you won’t be able to select it, so having a good level in talking skills can pay off. That and lockpicking should see you through a lot of the game!
However, there’s nothing to stop you doing what I did, where I ended up with a stealthy tank with good inter-personal skills and the ability to bypass most of the locks in the game…
So there we go then, these are my five main tips for early game success in The Outer Worlds. You may well say that this is just common sense, and I’d be hard pressed to argue with you, but hopefully these should give you that leg-up when everything is very confusing at the start.
Have you picked up The Outer Worlds on Xbox One from the Xbox Store? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments!