I’ve been playing Outriders, aka “Skip the cutscenes, SKIP THE CUTSCENES!”. Genuinely it’s a better game if you skip most of them, like, they drag it down with their idiocy. It’s very Gears of War-type bullshit just with people being less excessively macho, and more excessively assholes. It’s the old mistake of making virtually every NPC in a game an unlikeable wanker (hello Larian), and just mildly grim situation after mildly grim situation. Characters are introduced like they’ll be important and are dead like one scene later, and it’s like, what was even the point? It’s actively antithetical to caring about the game’s story.
On the flip-side, the third-person shooter w/powers combat is easily the best of it’s kind that isn’t ME3 MP or MEA* - it’s better than Gears of War, imho, wildly better than the Division 2, better than Warframe (albeit very different) and whilst Destiny 2 has better gunplay (and isn’t a direct comparison because it’s an FPS), I’m pretty sure this is more accessible and it definitely uses its powers vastly better than D2 does, and is more tactical. It’s also clearly better at being a looter-shooter than virtually all looter-shooters. Yeah, including Borderlands.
It’s the sort of game, where choosing and using your powers (you can respec at any time, Diablo 3 style) can absolutely turn a situation that seems unwinnable into one that works out really well. Like, go back and change from ice turret and proximity grenade to poison ammo and rocket barrage, and use them right and you can go from faceplanting to winning. Or decide to hold back your secret rocket launcher/minigun (it’s a power) until the right moment in a fight instead of blowing it when it seems like you first need it and suddenly something is doable.
I’m just like extremely impressed with the gameplay and systems. There are four classes and they all play completely differently - Technomancer (which I’m play atm), which is summoning turrets and heavy weapons and grenades and using buffs/debuffs. Pyromancer who just kills everything with FIRE, so much fire. Trickster, which is basically most like a Mass Effect 2/3-style Vanguard, teleporting around and killing people at close range or in melee. And Devastator, which is hard-as-nails tank-type with armour powers and stomps and leaps and stuff.
The graphics are fine, neither stellar nor at all bad, and whilst they’re derivative, they don’t have the excessive attitude and poor styling that, say, Destiny 2 has, which makes me want to literally punch an artist in the face. Destiny 2 is some Tommy Hilfiger shit man. I’d much rather have The Gap or whatever this is equivalent to, visually, because at least it isn’t angering (I mean, better still would be actually-good like Mass Effect but whatever).
It’s very weird to be in this situation. Normally if you have a bad story you have bad gameplay, it’s pretty reliable actually. You can have a good story and bad gameplay (rarely though), but a bad story and good gameplay? Not often. And this is actually great gameplay, like, 9/10 gameplay. But it’s a 4/10 story. But the story doesn’t really matter or get in the way. And the graphics are like 7/10 and at least run really well and have a ton of options. So it all sort of combines into what is basically a 7/10 game with unreasonably good gameplay - which I guess is the best thing for a 7/10 game to have…
* = It’s also better than ME3 MP or MEA, but like, only because it has vastly superior level-design and AI for the enemies. The power/weapon design in ME3 MP or MEA is, I think, a little bit better. I mean god, if MEA had been level-based instead of fucking open world trash, and had this quality of level/AI design? Christ we’d still be talking about how great it was, instead of it being half-forgotten. The AI isn’t even very smart - it just is actually trying to kill you, which is extremely rare in shooters of any kind. So melees actually run at you whilst zigging and zagging, riflemen actually try to (and often succeed at) flanking you, snipers stay at range, and so on. Halo on a good day is probably the best comparison, but enemies are a bit more aggressive than any Halo I’ve played.