Outcast Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Outcast Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 99 - 99

Publisher

  • Infogrames

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

An Inside Joke.

I was just thinking that there was a really funny quote I could use to start

off this review. Problem with it was, that although it was hilarious, only myself,

one of my friends, and perhaps the overworked, addled editors would get it.

That is a problem, because you, the “critically huddled masses,” would not end

up laughing. Regardless, the joke was made and you should, simply because it

was there, roll on the floors laughing, squirming around like stuck pigs. Not

laughing, eh?

You’re probably all pretty unsatisfied. I mean, the fact that something is

there does not really mean that you should react as if you encountered it…

right? It’s sort of like knowing that behind all of the crap there is a gem,

sparkling in the sunlight, but… you can’t see it, touch it, or pawn it and buy

yourself a car.

To try and

regain whatever relevance to Game Revolution this article probably already lost

[Too late. ~Ed], it occurs to me that the same quality of “it’s there,

I just can’t really see it” is the Achilles heel of the new adventure game,

Outcast. It’s a game that, for all of its features, should be an absolute

knock-down, drag-out, kick-ass ride. However, it somehow manages to cover up

much of its deserved glory in favor of keeping your attention just a little

bit longer.

To deal with the mundane first (everything you need to know about the game’s

background, which gives a context for my conceited ramblings), Outcast

is a 3rd person/1st person action-adventure set in the mysterious world of Adelpha.

It seems that scientists in the future have found a way to cross dimensional

boundaries into parallel universes. Unfortunately, the first probe sent to the

other-dimensional world of Adelpha was destroyed, and a big black hole has opened

up and will soon swallow the earth and pulverize all of the people, buildings

and teddy bears (naughty scientists, they screw up everything). You, in the

role of special military operative Cutter Slade (yes, you may roll your eyes),

are sent in with a few scientists to repair the probe… or turn the Earth into

a flapjack within a month. Once you get there, there are some complications

and so you must run all over the six continents of Adelpha, find your equipment

and teammates, help free the locals (called the Talons) from a despotic ruler,

and then save the Earth. No problem, huh?

To accomplish these goals, you must run around and swim a lot, talk with hundreds

of locals, engage in plenty of combat and go on numerous adventure game quests.

Sounds good – lots of space, lots of objectives, lots of people to talk to.

As the game begins, the sheer wealth of things to do and places to go may astound

many gamers. It is not until a little later, when you realize how silly most

of the things you have to do are, that the whole thing starts to feel like a

stalling act.

Basically, you

have to enlist the help of the locals in order to accomplish most tasks. Although

they regard you as some sort of Ultima-style avatar sent from the sky, they

still cannot stop asking you to be their little errand boy. You spend most of

your time utilizing Outcast’s great gameplay system and ogling its production

values just to make a few Talon locals happy. The real meat of the game just

can’t make up the game’s 40-50 hours of gameplay time, so all these boring good

deeds are thrown in to keep you playing.

Hey, I like a long game as much as the next guy, but length for its own sake

is just boring. Half-Life wasn’t very

long but we all loved it. Would you have liked it so much if you had to go find

cigars to bring to every security guard and scientist before they would follow

you?

While you are completing these tasks, you are treated to some incredible production

values, with mixed results. The most impressive thing would be that the economic

fall of Russia was apparently a good thing for some people. Appeal, the designer

of Outcast, was able to hire the Moscow Symphony Orchestra (who have

recently, like their country, fallen on hard times) to record the movie-quality

soundtrack, and I mean a very good movie.

It is also apparent that a lot of time was put into the graphics. Outcast

has perhaps the best use of Voxel based 3D graphics ever; even better than Delta

Force
. The environments are stunning at times, the atmosphere is incredible,

the viewing distance is very long, and there is a very cool water-rippling effect.

Good implementation aside, the nature of Voxels excludes 3D acceleration, and

so Outcast requires a monster of a system to run at its highest resolution,

which is only 512×384.

In other areas Outcast shines. The combat, which is best played through

the optional 1st person view (3rd person is preferable for most of the rest

of Outcast), is a more involved affair than your typical shooter. Often,

you’ll find yourself taking Cutter into assaults on enemy compounds, while having

to contend with entire groups of soldiers that are all working in harmony to

bring you down. It is actually very impressive.

It’s just a pity that the designers didn’t spend more time working out a plot

with more substance. Sure, the thousands of lines of well-acted dialogue are cool,

but why waste all of that on going to the supermarket for some butter? Outcast

almost reaches a high point for action-adventures, but falls short thanks to a

lot of wasted time. Still, the ending cues up for an obvious sequel. Drop the

voxels, forget the little pointless quests, make sure to tip those dudes in Moscow

well, and next time we may have one hell of a memorable game. Until then, only

the hardcore need apply.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Massive Game World
Lots to Do
Excelent Production Values
Lots of Pointless Quests
Questionable Technology/Voxels Suck