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Star Wars: Outlaws Opinions

Opinions 10 June 2024, 13:01

author: Mike Manka

Star Wars Outlaws Is a Decent Game, but It's Missing Something

I had the opportunity to spend an hour with Ubisoft's first open-world Star Wars game. While I can't say that it's a bad game, I get the impression that it has too little for such a prominent franchise.

In January 2021, it was announced that Ubisoft would create an open-world game for Lucasfilm set in Star Wars. Not much more was known, but the mood among fans of George Lucas's universe was so skeptical after the EA era that this news was received with quite a bit of enthusiasm. The game was to be developed by Swedish Massive Entertainment, which was quite successful in creating The Division.

Last year, we got the first gameplay presentation, although we could only watch it during a stream. However, we are now just over two months away from the release of this game, so Ubisoft decided to let us play Outlaws in Los Angeles in the form of 3 diverse missions. My first impressions? Solid game, everything seems to be in its place, but at the same time I can't shake the feeling that something is missing here. The sum of all elements present in the game doesn't go beyond. And to paraphrase Han Solo - I have a (slightly) bad feeling about this.

A long time ago

The game's action is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Our heroine, Kay Vess, is a young highwaywoman from Canto Bight, which was introduced to us in The Last Jedi. However, she did not bask in the luxury of rich casinos, but was an ordinary street thief. Kay tries to survive in the dangerous world of Syndicates, which we associate with the Hutts or the Crimson Dawn, but there will also be new groups. The ultimate goal is the grandiose sounding achievement of making the biggest heist in the history of the galaxy, but to accomplish this, it will be necessary to ally with various characters - and not always willingly.

Star Wars: Outlaws, Ubisoft, 2024

The Star Wars atmosphere is here. The location design and general art style perfectly represent the world we know from the cinemas. The characters we meet along the way also fit into the universe. The young thief can be likable, her unawareness of life and lack of experience in the criminal world can even be charming, and throughout the whole story we get to see her climbing in the criminal ranks, which also ties in well with the reputation system, which I will mention in a moment.

An inseparable companion of our heroine is Nix, a creature that clearly looks like an axolotl, but is not it. After spending an hour with the game, I confirm my doubts from a year ago that the main purpose of its existence is to create a cute little animal that can be turned into toys. Theoretically, Nix has its uses during gameplay - it can bring items scattered around the levels, fetch us a weapon from a fallen enemy, or distract the opponent's attention to make it easier for us to sneak around. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that the game would have done just as well without this solution, because I didn't feel the need to use Nix's capabilities at all, and I only did it to check how these systems work.

In a fairly familiar galaxy

Outlaws is a Ubisoft open-world game, so it probably follows similar rules to most Ubisoft games of this type. However, I am not able to evaluate this, because we got 3 fragments of the game, which were single, unconnected missions. Although one of them had us escaping from a Star Destroyer aboard our own ship and then landing on the planet's surface in a much more impressive way than in Starfield, the missions provided to us were rather linear experiences, probably from the main story. However, I had the opportunity to explore the ruins of a crashed ship in search of parts to repair my own Trailblazer, as well as steal an ancient artifact from the base of one of the Syndicates.

The main gameplay consists of several elements - vertical exploration, stealth, and fighting using our heroine's blaster. The level exploration itself is quite good and immediately brings to mind Uncharted or Respawn's Jedi series. However, I have the impression that both these examples did this better, because, when I was climbing and jumping from edge to edge, I noticed that the animations are sometimes a little bit sluggish. It seems like nothing, but I couldn't get it out of the back of my head while I was playing the game.

Star Wars: Outlaws, Ubisoft, 2024

Sneaking mainly involves crouching behind enemies and using Nix to interact with enemies or, for example, to open doors. There is absolutely nothing extraordinary here, just solutions like in many other games.

The combat itself is rather specific - we basically only get one weapon at our disposal. Kay's personal blaster initially has only two modes: plasma to deal base damage, and ion, which will destroy shields and deals better damage to droids. Over time, we will also unlock an immobilizing module, which can knock down an opponent with one shot. However, this mode has a cooldown, so we won't be using it all the time.

However, Kay's basic blaster is not a very powerful weapon and you have to shoot a lot at enemies before they die. I wasn't alone with the impression of shooting at bullet sponges. Fortunately, we can pick up weapons dropped by enemies or scattered around the levels (e.g. the iconic E-11 blaster), which have much bigger damage and are simply more interesting to use. However, we cannot keep them, because each of these weapons has a limited number of shots, after which it becomes useless. I hope that our heroine's blaster will be able to continue to develop, also in terms of damage dealt, because I really wouldn't want to struggle with basic enemies throughout the entire game.

Star Wars: Outlaws, Ubisoft, 2024

An interesting system, however, is the reputation that we gain through our interaction with the world. However, it is not possible to live in harmony with everyone, because often when performing tasks for one of the Syndicates, we do it at the expense of the other, so our reputation is reflected by these actions. While the creators did not want to go into too many details at this stage about the impact of reputation on gameplay, they emphasized that being on good terms with one side can provide access to more interesting missions with valuable rewards, and getting on someone's bad side can result in bounty hunters being sent after us. In these isolated missions, the entire reputation system relied solely on showing me with whom my relationships have improved and worsened, so for now I just have to take the devs' word for it that this system has much more depth to it.

A funny subtitle should be written here, because laugh everyone has to

While the above complaints can be somewhat attributed to personal preferences, it cannot be denied that objectively speaking, the lipsync is at an absolutely mediocre level. The heroine speaks in a cool way, but the movement of the character's lips does something completely different, and people have already noticed this in the previously published trailers. Nothing has improved in this regard.

Driving is also forgettable - both a land speeder and a spaceship. Everything floats strangely in some way, there is no sense of dynamic at all, and the space combat is far behind even the one in Battlefront. At first, I had the impression that even the space missions in The Old Republic where better, but then I decided that there was no need to exaggerate, especially since these are two different approaches to space.

Star Wars: Outlaws, Ubisoft, 2024

And finally, there is still the matter of graphics. We were playing on PCs with connected controllers, so I expect that the machines at such events are rather powerful, capable of running the game at the highest possible settings. However, I couldn't help but feel that the textures are slightly blurred, and the overall visual quality, if it's OK, doesn't have as much of a wow effect as The Division did in its time compared to its competitors, and recently even Avatar - a game from the same studio. Of course, it doesn't look bad, it's hard to call the game ugly, but it doesn't stand out against the competition.

*Insert the Imperial March here*

Yes, I know, I complain a lot about this game. Maybe even too much. However, if this is the case, it is primarily due to the fact that the Star Wars brand carries certain quality expectations. EA was not always able to fulfill it, although fortunately the series with Kal Cestis rectified this not necessarily favorable image. What I am evaluating, I evaluate solely based on the three missions that I had the opportunity to play, which, I have the impression, were not well chosen as representative elements of this game. I did not see the real impacts of my choices on my reputation and what it will give me. I also didn't really experience the gameplay in an open world and casual exploration - and yet, this will be a key element that will decide whether players will spend 10 hours or 100 hours in this game.

Star Wars: Outlaws, Ubisoft, 2024

I had doubts a year ago and I still have them. However, I will not make a final judgment about the state of the game until I have the opportunity to check it without Mr. Demoist breathing down my neck, urging me to finish within the allotted time and free up the position for the next journalist. There are just over two months left until the release, so there is no time for major changes in the game without delaying it. Time will tell whether Massive Entertainment's efforts will be enough to satisfy demanding Star Wars fans.

Mike Manka

Mike Manka

He started his adventure with GRYOnline.pl in April 2015 by responding to emails and preparing reports in Excel. Later, he worked on the Gameplay.pl service, the Editorials at Gamepressure.com and its YouTube channel, in the meantime developing his skills at tvgry.pl. Since 2019, he has been responsible for creating and developing the tvfilmy channel, and since 2022 he has been the editor in charge of the video department, which currently includes tvgry, tvgry+, tvfilmy and tvtech. He owes his employment at GRYOnline.pl partially thanks to English philology. Even though he is currently working on many things, gaming still remains closest to his heart. In his free time, he reads books, watches series, and plays several instruments. He has been dreaming of owning a Mustang for years.


Star Wars: Outlaws

Star Wars: Outlaws

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