Outlast, Outplay, Outtrigger.
Break out the dust rags and the all-purpose Windex, we've got a new Dreamcast game in the house! If you're a frustrated Dreamcast owner who's been looking for a new game with plenty of mindless fraggin' good fun, be sure to take a peek at AM2's new arcade-style run 'n gun game, Outtrigger. You'll join an international team of counter-terrorism specialists on a mission to…well, shoot a lot of things.
First off, I feel it's important to note that Outtrigger is primarily a multiplayer game in the same vein of many PC first-person shooters. If you're not online, this experience will be a very short one. Still…
Outrigger drops players into a familiar world of frags, frags and more frags. If you're familiar with Unreal Tournament or Quake, you'll have no problem jumping right into the action. The premise? Well, I'm sure one exists, but it never actually came up. All you need to know is that you're a counter-terrorist and you'll be shooting a lot of bad guys.
The single player game is basically made up of Training missions and the multiplayer involves plenty of plain old people blastin'. Simple, straightforward, and to the point.
There are two types of gameplay modes for each experience. If you're alone, you'll have Arcade and Mission mode, but if you'd rather be fragging someone else, there's the Versus and Online Network Battle. Interestingly enough, the single player modes feel like practice for the online experience. Arcade serves as a control tutorial that helps you get used to combat and the Mission mode doesn't really feel like much of a mission at all.
Some of the missions include objectives like 'collect a certain amount of coins' or 'kill a certain number of terrorists' within a specific amount of time, but they all take place on multiplayer style maps. Others missions just have you running around the map trying to rack up as many frags as you can - just like the multiplayer game. There are 45 missions total, but you'll be done with them surprisingly fast. After all, most have a time limit between 2 and 3 minutes.
At least you'll unlock new characters, weapons and arenas, so it isn't a total waste. I wish the single player was more involving, but it is very apparent that AM2 designed Outtrigger with a group of people in mind. The lone gunman won't have much to do here.
Versus mode supports up to four players at a time via the split screen we've all grown to love and/or hate. You'll run, you'll shoot, and you'll do it all with amazing speed. Fragging friends is always fun.
The Online Network Battle runs pretty smoothly, this time supporting up to six players. It also runs at an amazingly fast framerate with only a split second of firing lag. The only bit of annoyance is the pause that interrupts the game if a new player joins.
Control in a first-person shooter is traditionally unwieldy on a console, but AM2 has managed to pull off a satisfactory scheme. For the most part, you won't really need pinpoint accuracy to put the hurt on your opponents due to the generous targeting assistance. Other good news comes in the form of a third-person option. First person is fine, but sometimes the action calls for an out of body experience.
There are also several different controller schemes for you to choose from and on top of that, PC aficionados are able to use the Dreamcast mouse and keyboard for even better control. You'll still encounter the limited range of "looking" (you can't see straight up) as in the controller schemes, but I'm just glad they offer the support.
Graphically, Outtrigger does a decent job and fits nicely into the next generation of video gaming. Nice explosions, detailed characters and clean arenas combine for a visual experience you'll enjoy.
One of Outtrigger's biggest shortcomings, though, is the size of the locations where your battles take place. They're simply too small. I'm not over-exaggerating when I say you can run around an entire map in just a few seconds. Even in a four-player game, the majority of the maps feel way too confining. This is not a game for claustrophobics.
Another glaring problem is the overall lack of depth. Even while playing the multiplayer game, you never feel like there's a strategy or plan of action beyond not getting shot. There's a lot of running and shooting and it just never ends. This is fine for awhile, but it won't take long for you to feel like it's same experience over and over again.
For a quick little frag fix, Outtrigger is not a bad choice. Its fast and furious action is a nice distraction for the itchy trigger finger. But once that itch is scratched, there's not much action left.