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Diego

Outer Wilds

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I mentioned this game in a Sotha topic about horror games a few years ago. When I played the demo back then I knew this was going to be something special so I backed its Fig campaign, and now it's finally released.

 

Here's the veredict: It's good, youguys. Like, really, really good. I think it might be my new favorite game of all time. My expectations were high and it still blew my mind. People are always complaining about the games industry but I'll tell you one thing, the frequency I'm getting blown away by new games seems to be increasing lately. After I played Return of the Obra Dinn I was not expecting something like this to come so soon. And before that the games that still linger in my mind are Papers, Please, Portal, and Thief. See the gap between Thief and Portal? I hope I'm entering a yearly cycle of amazing games.

 

Anyway, I thought I'd plug it here seeing how this game isn't getting the attention it deserves. Here's the description from their site:

 

 

Outer Wilds is a first-person space exploration game where you uncover the mysteries of a solar system stuck in an endless time loop. Blast off into a fully physically simulated cosmos and seamlessly journey from one planet to the next as you search for the answers hidden in the unknown.

 

This may seem nothing like Obra Dinn but they have some fundamental similarities. Some people are calling these kinds of games "information games", where the point is to learn stuff. For example, if the objective of a game is to find out the murderer and kill him but you start right next to him, in theory you could finish the game in 10 seconds, but exploring and learning that information is the game. In Outer Wilds you play in 20 minute loops, each iteration keeps nothing from the previous loop. You gain no upgrades, no keys, nothing is persistent, you just accumulate knowledge in your regular brain (ok, the game does save information in a computer terminal inside the game but that's the only compromise it makes). So when you finally beat the game it will be a sequence of things you do within these 20 minutes, which you could have done at any moment if you knew what you were doing.

 

Right now it's available on Epic and Xbox. And you should be playing it.

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I saw this the other day and have it on my wish list for the future. What is your opinion about the controls? I've read that you really need a gamepad for the space ship.

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I saw this the other day and have it on my wish list for the future. What is your opinion about the controls? I've read that you really need a gamepad for the space ship.

 

I was ready to use my mouse and keyboard when a splash screen suggested a controller. I don't like controllers for first person games but I went with it because usually flight simulators are better with analog controls. At the end I was playing both the spaceship and the FPS parts with the controller. I can think of some parts where you really want fine control over thrusters, but I haven't tried mouse and keyboard to tell you how well it works.

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I often like that kind of concept, although the trailer itself was giving me bad vibes. There are a number of open space exploration games that have been misses recently, where it's interesting at first but eventually gets repetitive when you've seen the basic content. I don't know if this game will be like that, but I got those vibes. But I'm open minded. This is the kind of game, like Obra Dinn too, where I'll wait for reviews to come in and once a consensus really starts forming I'll think about if I should get it, wait for a sale, or what...

 

One of my favorite puzzles games with this hook was an interactive fiction called "Rematch", where actually you only have one move before the game ends, but you make that one move 100s of times until you know that world inside out and crack the situation you're put into. I really liked how that unfolded. Afterwards I scripted a few of my own games like that. The one I remember was set in a stadium basketball game with like 2 minutes left (or maybe 10?), and a bomb goes off right when the buzzer goes off. So you can always see the clock and know how much time you have to find the bomb & defuse it. Interestingly, right after I scripted it, the movie Sourcecode came out with the same kind of hook. I like the idea that you can build a lot of storytelling into that mechanic, beyond it being a cool mechanic for a puzzle.


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If you like this kind of stuff you should look into the Russian space simulator called „Space Engine” for free.

http://spaceengine.org/

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Space Engine is amazing. I cruise in that all the time, but I wouldn't really call it a game.

It's just a pure space travel sim.

 

My favorite game in this genre is called Empyrion - Galactic Survival, where you just start on some alien planet and first just have to survive, then start building tech, work your way up to building a ship, and then exploring other planets. It's still wonky, but it's better than No Man's Land & Space Engineers IMO, the other contenders.

 

Well if you like pretty simple gameplay, nice stylized visuals, and don't mind the game getting repetitive, you just jump to a planet, do the thing, then off to the next one, you just like the Zen flow of it or whatever, that's No Man's Land.

If you like designing complicated machinery, basically Minecraft's Buildcraft in space, but there's really no interaction with the universe outside of that, that's Space Engineers.

And if you like an open universe with lots of variety and interaction with the worlds, lots to do over a long and hard-won progression, some cool story, and you still get to build stuff (just not as complicated as SE), that's Empyrion.

 

And now there's this, Outer Wilds. I really don't know where to place it in comparison to those others, so any opinions on that would be interesting to me.


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My favorite game in this genre is called Empyrion...

It's still early access right? I first started following this game on Moddb and it's amazing how much progress they've made since then.

 

The space genre is one genre where I hope more quality games will be produced in the not too far future. I'm still playing Freelancer once in a while and I'm still hoping for a new game. The mix between fighting and trading was just perfect and I like that you can explore a system for shipwrecks for better gear. The two things missing are base building (which the X games offer, but I never could get into them like Freelancer) and free planetary entry.

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Empyrion was early access the last time I played it, but that was probably like 6 months ago.

 

I didn't mention the X series because I don't recall being able to visit planets.

If we're just doing space sandbox, there are a few more to add, like the new Elite and Avorion, and a few others. Void Destroyer 2 is getting great reviews. (And if you only focused on the alien planet side without the space travel, Subnautica is one of my favorite games of the last few years.)

 

I'm a big fan of Avorion because the ship-building is complete sandbox. You make a ship or station like you would make something in Minecraft.

And it's all randomized and kind of rogue-like. It doesn't have a story, but I play that one zen style, so I don't mind.

 

I really like the X series too. It's has both realism and a cartoonish goofy side to it, and is also way more open and sandbox than something like Elite.

X4 has had a buggy & bumpy start. I'm giving it a year or two after a bunch of patches come out, the review have a consensus that it's fixed all the bugs and is a complete game, and it's on a good sale. I think I'll like it after that point.

Ah, so many good space games and only so many blocs of 100s of hours to sink into them. -_-


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When searching for games like Freelancer some people mentioned Rebel Galaxy, so I'm going to give that a try. There's also a second game in development, so if I like it, I won't have to wait too long for a new one. Star Citizen should be good when it's finally released but I think we'll sooner have a new freelancer game than that...

 

The X-games are usually a bug fest when they are released, but most of the time Egosoft gets it right after a few years. X4 probably should have been released as an early access game and with a lower price, as it seems to have less features than the X3 series. A lot of fans seem to be losing faith a little as well, as Egosoft isn't really open for suggestions. Let's see in a few years more if they've improved.

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And now there's this, Outer Wilds. I really don't know where to place it in comparison to those others, so any opinions on that would be interesting to me.

 

It's not similar at all, I think. It looks like a space sim but besides flying a spaceship, there's not much more in common with space sims. The reason I brought up Obra Dinn is because playing it felt much more similar. It's about investigating the history of this system, piecing together a narrative. Since you're stuck in a time loop you don't even care that much about where you land or how much damage the ship takes. Just leave it anywhere, go investigate the planet for 20 minutes and it all restarts. Most of the time, at least.

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20 minutes seems a bit short.

 

epic store is a bit dodgy.

Edited by stumpy

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I know they'll probably improve it as it gets better, but right now epic store is pretty simplistic! The store is a bunch of icons representing games, you click on it and the game page has some screenshots, description and a button to purchase it. No discussions, no reviews, no stats, no favorite feature etc. And no cart either! can't buy two games at the same time yet. BUT it is just a store and works as intended :P

 

About the time loop duration, 22 minutes is rather short in my opinion too. But it was probably hard to find this specific number when developing, because so many things in the game are event based (hope this isn't considered spoiler) that they must have had a good reason to choose it.

 

BTW, I finished the game and it's pretty damn fantastic! I can't stop gushing about it. It's smart, it's cute, it's original..

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