Over the next few days, we will reveal what we believe are the 10 best games of 2019, organized by release date. Then, on December 17, we will reveal which of the nominees gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot’s Best Game of 2019. So be sure to come back then for the big announcement, and in the meantime, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best Games of 2019 hub.
Pavrati. Ellie. Nyoka. Vicar Max. Some of the most memorable moments I had with video games this year were simply spending time with the incredible, fleshed-out companions in The Outer Worlds. Getting to know them, helping them through their highs and lows, and testing their patience. The Outer Worlds is full of great moments with these folks, but they’re only some of the highlights in the game’s landscape of wonderfully written characters and rich setting.
The Outer Worlds doesn’t challenge conventions as much as some of our other nominees this year, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of 2019’s most exceptionally-made games in its own right. The form is recognisable, but the execution is masterful. The game feels focussed–not a single line of dialogue is wasted, despite there being a lot of it; the world feels large and full of things to discover, despite being relatively modest; the combat mechanics are clever, impactful, and allow for creativity, despite seeming straightforward. Your journey through The Outer Worlds will be full of highlights and surprises.
But the quality of the writing and quest design is The Outer Worlds’ crown on its head. This is a game by Obsidian Entertainment, this is what they do best, and their strengths are definitely on show here. The Outer Worlds is not an open-world game, but the web of possibilities feels complex, and the sense of freedom you have in how you approach your situations is liberating.
The form is recognisable, but the execution is masterful.
It’s a high-profile role-playing game wonderfully free of silos and full of greys–the distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong, and what kind of person you are aren’t strictly defined. This is your own adventure, and The Outer Worlds allows you to approach it in so many different ways. Bring a knife to a gunfight, smooth-talk your way into finding an amicable solution, hack a robot boss character and shut it down, sneak around and steal from the wealthy, kill everyone, be a dumb-dumb, or punch the quest-giver with the dumb bowler hat multiple times, just because you can.
While the web of opportunities will eventually siphon off to just a few possible outcomes, there’s no denying how rich the journey there is. There are plenty of familiarities, but they’re of the high-end, top-shelf variety. The Outer Worlds is an intricately-crafted game that’s a joy to play, and the new gold standard for blockbuster RPGs.
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