‘Worldslayer’ Improves ‘Outriders’ but Doesn’t Expand Its Horizons
Almost four months later, the Worldslayer expansion for Outriders has kept already existing players busy but done very little to entice new warriors.
I’m arriving a bit late to this party, so this isn’t a review, but rather a commentary on where Outriders is at following this summer’s release of Worldslayer, a chonky DLC continuation that promised a bigger and better Outriders experience. And that was certainly delivered. After blasting through its breezy campaign — which is pretty much a sequel — and delving deep into its intense endgame, I walked out feeling pretty good about the game but worried about the IP’s future (if there’s any).
Earlier this year, I wished for an expansion that doubled down on the old-school formula that developer People Can Fly had going on here, so I’m a happy camper. However, Worldslayer plays things so safe that it’s hard to see Outriders making a comeback at this point. Of course, we can blame the rocky launch on technical issues and a poor marketing campaign, but the reality was that Outriders had failed to capture as many players as it needed to properly survive past one game. As a result, quite a lot of weight rested on Worldslayer‘s shoulders — we’ve seen big updates or expansions basically relaunching video games that fell short at first, but Worldslayer once again flew under the radar with a meager marketing push by publisher Square Enix, so most people enjoying Enoch’s new riches are diehard fans who were already there.
Worldslayer doesn’t reinvent the wheel either with its campaign: Enoch is getting (even more) unhospitable thanks to a massive Anomaly storm that threatens to cover the entire planet, and the conflict between the two major human factions is only getting bloodier. To make matters worse, the fearsome and mysterious Commander Ereshkigal rises as the new leader of the Insurgents. She believes the Altered are the future of the human species, and is willing to let most people on Enoch die so those who are lucky can absorb the Anomaly’s power — it’s a suicide plan driven by the classic yearning for god-like powers. Past a striking introduction, Ereshkigal sadly feels a bit disconnected from the overall plot (which is far more intriguing), and merely serves as the big bad boss that you must take down to get the actually important stuff done. It’s a shame, because she’s teased to be the First Altered, and with so many questions surrounding her and the Altered humans, her role in Worldslayer feels like a huge missed opportunity.
Perhaps more effective is how the expansion goes deeper into the huge mystery at the center of the present, past, and future of Enoch. Outriders‘ main story was as open-ended as you’d expect from a looter-shooter, and Worldslayer builds upon the loose story threads, eventually leading to surprisingly ominous places. The baffling part about its narrative is how it refuses to cleanly close up the game’s story arc with a somewhat happy conclusion, and instead throws not one, but two cliffhangers — one after the campaign, another after the first Tarya Gratar run — at players. Mind you, that’s okay in most video games, but as I mentioned before, neither Outriders nor Worldslayer have performed very well, so the story could be left hanging forever if another expansion or a full-blown sequel aren’t happening.
The big new addition to Outriders‘ endgame loop is the aforementioned Tarya Gratar, a journey through Beksiński-inspired ancient ruins that harbor Enoch’s strongest foes and unseen horrors. It’s essentially a big multi-level dungeon that makes loot rain and spits out better rewards the further you advance. Yes, it’s a good alternative to Expeditions for players who want longer uninterrupted sessions of shootin’ and grindin’ (solo or online). Inexplicably, Tarya Gratar lacks roguelike elements that could’ve gone a long way towards making it far more interesting and long-lived. It’s certainly great having another big endgame activity besides Expeditions, especially when the possible legendary loot is good, and the new Apocalypse difficulty tiers provide tons of challenge for everyone, but this also feels like another missed shot that could’ve attracted more outsiders.
Needless to say, Worldslayer ups the number of sick-looking legendary sets of armor to enhance Altered capabilities and lethal weapons to melt down enemies, something which Outriders was already pretty good at. So there’s definitely a reason for diehards to grind the whole thing over and over again with different classes — keeping the World/Apocalypse tiers down makes clearing the pre-endgame a breeze if needed. And thankfully, the game remains alive enough thanks to cross-play; I feared the worst a few months after the expansion’s launch, but had no problems teaming up with other heroes all the time.
After our two-piece coverage of Outriders, you should know whether it’s the right game for your or not. I personally dig what People Can Fly have done with it, evading a microtransaction-filled model and overdone MMO-like systems, instead delivering a clear-cut looter-shooter with no BS nor grand ambitions. The downside to this traditional philosophy, coupled with seriously lacking marketing efforts, is that the saga may be short-lived. Let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of Enoch.
Outriders is currently available on PC (Steam and Epic), PS4/5, Xbox consoles, and Xbox/PC Game Pass (Worldslayer not included).
Thanks to Square Enix and fortyseven communications for the PS5 code.
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