When Outriders first launched, I was a big fan, playing all the way through on multiple characters before my love of the Technomancer conquered all. However, as new and shiny things launched, and with only a middling update in the meantime, my eye was caught by newer, shinier things (or older shinier things like Destiny 2 and its many seasons). However, in an attempt to address these issues, People Can Fly have now brought out a larger, story based expansion: Outriders Worldslayer.
Now, before I get into things, a word of warning: When you start Worldslayer the game warns you that if you start the DLC campaign with a character, that character cannot be used in the base game any more. This isn’t an issue for me personally, but if you have friends who aren’t going to buy the expansion, it may be worth bearing in mind.
From there, what I’m not going to do in this review is retread old ground and talk about the base game. The review that I wrote back in the day still stands, pretty much exactly, so from this point on, it’s all about the new stuff. Deal?
Right then, first off, what is the point of Worldslayer? What is our character’s motivation? How does the end of the world sound? Pretty motivating, I think you’ll agree. As we are exploring a new frozen location, we come across an old pod, and with it the news that the storms that have always rocked Enoch are going to get worse as the anomaly strengthens. However, Zahedi finds a spot the storm doesn’t seem to touch, and so we go off to see what’s happening.
Along the way we meet the baddie of the piece, another Altered by the name of Ereshkigal, a woman who seems to have the power of shadow tentacles or something, and kicks our Altered ass roundly. So, to do list: stop Ereshkigal, save the world, and keep our friends safe. Staying alive might be nice too.
So, how does Outriders Worldslayer look? Well, just as good as the base game, so there are no issues there. Outriders was never a bad looker, and here, with new flavours of enemies (like the bloody ice dragonfly type things that are a massive pain) and huge new foes to face off against, who all seem to have varieties of ice powers to punish you with, the challenge is real. The sounds are also as good as ever: gunshots and roars, whooshes of powers and swearing from my fireteam as they get caught in a corner. All is peachy in the presentation department of Outriders Worldslayer.
Onto the new things that Worldslayer brings and in addition to a new (not very long) campaign, there is a new end-game activity called the Trials of Tarya Gratr, or the Trials of Potato Gratin as it seems to have been christened. This is a new multi-level dungeon, where you can, to a certain extent, pick your battles and fight your way through either all of the encounters, gaining extra loot for doing so, or go about making a beeline for the Arbiter bosses, thus completing the Trial in as short a time as possible.
These Trials and to a similar extent, the campaign, all feed into another of the new mechanics, the Apocalypse Tiers. Remember the old World Tier system in the base game where you made the game as hard or as easy as you wanted, and the loot scaled to whatever tier you were currently on, pushing you to play on the hardest level you could manage? Apocalypse Tiers are basically World Tiers on steroids, and even the lower levels will be a stiff challenge if you are just stepping out of the base game.
I was playing on World Tier 13, and so the game set itself to Apocalypse Tier 13 as well, which went swimmingly right up until I met an enemy, who proceeded to stomp me in no uncertain fashion, again and again. Seriously, in the early stages, Outriders Worldslayer is brutal. I had to join a friend and basically hide behind him while he killed everything in sight, to get gear that would allow me to compete. So yeah, Worldslayer is certainly harder than the base game before it, but it is still very much playable solo should you wish. Tactics will win the day.
In addition to these new difficulties (that go all the way up to level 40), there are other new things as well. New weapons and armour are abound, as you’d expect, and there is a new tier of loot as well – Apocalypse loot. Instead of the standard two perks, this comes with three, and so can make you much stronger. Also, in order to level up Apocalypse gear, you have to break down other Apocalypse gear, so you’ll soon learn not to hoard things any more. One good thing about the Trials is that doing them on Apocalypse Tier 25 (there’s an achievement for doing this, I’m not crazy) will no doubt bring you a couple of Legendary tier items at least, so it is well worthwhile.
Another new twist is the addition of two additional skill trees: the Pax tree and the Ascension level tree. Earning points in either of these trees allows you to spend the points on new perks, like increased armour or health, right up to gaining some new abilities. Again, keep earning points to make yourself stronger and you’ll be sorted. Add to this a slew of new achievements and there is quite a bit to aim at in Worldslayer.
So now for the traditional paragraph where I have to complain about the game I’m reviewing, but thankfully with Outriders Worldslayer the list isn’t massive; however it is significant. First off is the difficulty playing with friends, and random crashes to the dashboard. This has happened since day one, and it’s a bit disappointing to see it still being an issue now, a year later. Also, the length of the Worldslayer campaign is pretty lacking; quite a bit of what is there is spent in revisiting old locations for a chat. For £32.99, it just feels a bit slight, and while the Trials can be fun, I think the Expeditions are better.
Oh, and the acting this time is dreadful, to be blunt. I was expecting Ereshkigal to be played by a piece of oak, so wooden is her delivery of lines.
For long-time fans of Outriders, the introduction of Worldslayer is good news, with new stuff to go and hunt and new levels to play around with. It is short, but it’s still enjoyable – seeing your character get stronger with each run is as rewarding as ever. All in all, Outriders Worldslayer is a more than competent expansion, but it is by no means a slam dunk.
Outriders Worldslayer is available from the Xbox Store