I was talking about my search for an RPG I could get into, and my spouse mentioned watching a Let’s Play video of The Outer Worlds which she thought might amuse me. And she was right.
I was going to wait for a discount, but then I found out XBox Game Pass for PC (is that an awkward name or what?) includes it, and that there’s a $1 for 3 months promotion going on right now. After that, it’s $15 for each block of 3 months. Um, yes.
Without taking too much space explaining the story, it’s a space colony as the ultimate company town, a capitalist dystopia taken to extremes. It’s presented as dark humor with occasional more serious streaks, and there are a few earnest and caring people among both the downtrodden and the oppressor class. The overall style is very Fallout and Borderlands — goofy mascots, ironically retrofuturistic ranging from the Flash Gordon era through 50s and 80s styles — with more than a touch of Firefly.
As far as gameplay goes, it is primarily a shooting RPG, with melee as an option (if not a wise one in more open areas or against some enemies). In some situations you can smooth-talk or sneak your way around violence, but killer robots and alien monsters and marauders tend not to listen to reason. Dialogue choices, and choice of who to help against whom, seem to be meaningful and it’s designed to not break the main storyline even if you kill or betray key NPCs. (So they say… I’m trying to stick with my conscience here.) Overall, while it might not be the exact thing I was looking for — whatever that is — I’m enjoying it.
I am also getting a kick out of Lonely Mountains: Downhill, a game about extreme mountain biking. It’s somewhere between a racing game and a physics game, which I guess given that I like rally racing games, is just about where I like things. The graphics are cute and minimalist, there are shortcuts everywhere (many with increased risk or skill/luck required) as well as places that look like shortcuts and turn out not to be and it’s just a fun little thing.
I was less pleased by Forza Horizon 4. It’s a favorite for many, but to me it’s too arcadey and over-the-top, as well as buggy. I couldn’t get my controller working with it and it’s definitely the sort of game where playing with a keyboard is the last resort. You can drive at top speed through stone walls without damaging your car, as if they’re merely piles of balloons — pretty much the opposite of the experience in Dirt Rally 2.0 and WRC 7 and the like.
I think, aside from rally games, what I want in a racing game is a sim like Project CARS, with all the weird exotic stuff like the Ariel Atom and BAC Mono like it has… but where the AI has to use the same physics the player does, instead of having perfect grip during a rainstorm with racing slicks. And no getting stuck with no way to abort a super annoying racing series with a wonky car that it turns out you hate. I’d still be playing it if not for those two things.
My Particle pedal sold, and I’ve got two things incoming:
- Mosky MP-51 Spring Reverb Mini: it’s a tiny pink pedal with a barcode — a blatant copy of the Malekko Omicron Spring — for basically lunch money. Someone posted a photo of one with an MXR Carbon Copy delay captioned “instant vibe,” and I had to look into it. I do like spring reverb, particularly in a feedback loop. Anything this tiny isn’t using a real spring tank but a “Belton brick”, but those sound pretty great honestly.
- Catalinbread Adineko: an emulation of an “oil can” delay. The original Tel-Ray echo used weird science to electrostatically store a charge for a brief period, picking it up with rotating magnetic heads vaguely similar to tape heads, giving a more warbly and murky character that sounds very musical. This one uses clever DSP instead but still gives a nice range of echo, vibrato, and reverb-ish sounds.