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Outer Wilds


Alex W.
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To echo the last post, I've gone from being wildly enthusiastic about this game to having very mixed feelings.

 

I've just turned it off for the last time and I'm leaving it uncompleted which is rare for me. I know what I need to do to finish the game, but it's so tedious that after three attempts at the final run I can't be bothered.

 

When you start out, there's so much to see and learn that you're bombarded with information, lore and places to explore. Even when you die, you're learning something new about the solar system and how it works. It's an incredible rush.

 

But then the discoveries get few and far between and the time loop mechanic becomes a constant burden. There's traversal puzzles where if you make a mistake, it can be a 5-10 minute trip back to where you were, which might as well be a 5 minute loading screen. And then even if you know what you're doing second time round you could easily slip, or be undone by a quirk of the physics engine. It's an incredibly hostile game in terms of respecting your time. The puzzle solving has echoes of games like Myst or The Dig, but with long stretches of manual spaceflight between locations instead of just clicking between screens, making experimentation and trying ideas a huge slog. And then the time loop resets at the worst possible moment...

 

But it's also one of those vanishingly rare game that gets detective work right, in that you actually do have to be a detective, and it gives you a really cool caseboard that fills up and let's you review the big picture and see easily what leads you need to explore and threads to follow.

 

And it has some incredible puzzles. Things that I've never seen another game attempt and that fill me with admiration for the developers. There's one sequence specifically... 

 

Spoiler

Researching, landing on and exploring the Quantum Moon. 

 

...that's become my new favourite set of puzzles in games.

 

And it uses 3D space in a way very few games do these days. It reminds me of games like Quake or Ocarina of Time, back when 3D was a feature to be explored and experimented with and not just par for the course.

 

I don't know how I feel about it to be honest. Other than it would probably have gained more than it would have lost by having manual saves.

 

I will say that I hope there's another game from the same team that builds on this one and is less of a ball ache to play, and I really hope this goes on to have a lasting influence on other developers. 

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If the anglerfish in the dimension before you reach 

Spoiler

The Vessel

 are an issue, I found that all you need to do is 

Spoiler

drift past them without touching the controls at all until youre past the third fish - and then boost carefully to the next node.

 

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Yeah, but

 

sometimes it puts you into that area at an angle so you're headed right at the fish and have to move in some way, or it fucks up your momentum as you transition to the point where you don't have enough speed even if you blast through the other side as fast as you can. A couple of times I had a fish alerted to me from my boost through the portal on the other side of that area as well, which was annoying. It just feels a bit shonky considering the stakes.

 

10 hours ago, matt0 said:

I've just turned it off for the last time and I'm leaving it uncompleted which is rare for me. I know what I need to do to finish the game, but it's so tedious that after three attempts at the final run I can't be bothered.

 

Some tips in case they help and you want to get it done with (some obvious, no doubt):

 

 

Pretty much as soon as the sand clears on the Ash Twin Project warp you can get there, the other planet comes around straight away at that point. In the first anglerfish area try to go through the branches at the start since you seem to be able to move reasonably freely there. As above, try to line up the portal to the next one then boost into it fast, cross your fingers it works OK and don't press anything until you're about 1.4k from the target. Once at the Vessel you need to put the coordinates in then use the switch on top of the coordinates - this is where I went wrong at first as I thought that switch was another way of bringing up the coordinates and that you needed to go through the portal on the opposite side of the room. I feel like that wasn't designed very well considering the tight time limit you're under at that point but could well just be blaming the developers for my own stupidity.

 

It's worth seeing through but yeah, I do fully sympathise.

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Thanks for the advice, but most my gaming time comes at the expense of sleep these days and I realised last night being asleep is more appealing than actually trying again!

 

I think I got my big moments from the game from getting to know the galaxy, doing all the early detective work and solving some of the more inventive story strands.

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The point about the game not respecting your time is an interesting one and I'd been pondering that throughout the game. I sort of agree in the sense that it's very easy to lose big chunks of time achieving nothing but at the same time, I very rarely felt like it was a problem in practice and I'm really sensitive to that feeling these days, artificial bloat is probably the main reason I've started dropping games in recent years when I used to be very bloody-minded about finishing things.

 

I think it might get away with it because it didn't feel artificial here and it's balanced out by the fact that the game totally respects your intelligence, which is increasingly rare these days. I don't mind slogging through a bit of nonsense if I feel rewarded at the end of it and I generally did with this, quite emphatically, even when the information it gained me wasn't useful anymore. Not rewarded in the usual modern videogame bullshit way of being given some XP or a new weapon that does fractionally more damage or something, just the satisfaction of a goal achieved and a job well done. I guess it reminds me most of Morrowind in that sense, where there was enjoyment to be had just from finding the place you were looking for, even if you spend ages wandering lost along the way, rather than just following the quest marker.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is, mind boggling. I have so much information and so many questions. It's amazing.

 

How on earth you would design sometime like this scares me.

 

Onward to more discovery. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

For anyone wanting to take a little extra time to digest any new information when out exploring, you can tinker with the options menu to have the time loop paused during conversations, reading any Nomai text and also when checking the ship's computer to plan your next misadventure :hat:

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One of the most emotional moments I've had in gaming this year.

 

(Put in spoiler-tags in case you haven't journeyed to the sun yet)

 

Spoiler

 

 

Spoiler

Check out that percentage! Ouch.

 

IMG_5686.thumb.jpg.81c952a720875e42669abfbbc354ad10.jpg

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

This is one of those games I’m glad of Game Pass for. Been playing it on and off for a few days, and after reams of deciphering, I have literally no idea what’s going on, and no real desire to learn. It’s absolutely a very clever feat of construction, but (not unlike my attempts to land on the Interloper) I’m bouncing off it hard.

 

Seeing the “There’s more to do here” note has just become dispiriting. The 20 minute loop is also killing it for me tbh. 40 minutes I could get with, but it’s just too short a time for the leisurely exploration these places demand. Shame.

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@jonamokI finished this a couple of days ago and it's now up there with the best games I've ever played. It's well worth sticking with if you're not completely done with it already.

 

Regarding the 22 minute loop, I think it's just about right on balance and so much is built around it being exactly that long. I'll use spoiler tags below but I'm only going to talk about concepts rather than specifics:

 

You can get to most places pretty quickly, and it does the Dark Souls thing where tricky routes sometimes lead you to discover clever shortcuts to save time in the future. There's also stuff that requires you to be in a certain place at a certain point in the loop, and having to wait fourty minutes would be a bit rubbish.

 

I only saw a few instances of "there's more to do here", but it's worth noting that that doesn't necessarily mean you've missed anything vital. It can sometimes just be flavour text or stuff like that, so while everything is almost always worthwhile, you're never forced to dig up absolutely everything. From the moment you get the launch codes at the start you will have the ability to do everything you need to do to reach the end of the game.

 

I also think the story is really well done, and piecing everything together was a real joy. It may seem inscrutable to start with but everything starts to become clear eventually. 

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1 hour ago, jonamok said:

This is one of those games I’m glad of Game Pass for. Been playing it on and off for a few days, and after reams of deciphering, I have literally no idea what’s going on, and no real desire to learn. It’s absolutely a very clever feat of construction, but (not unlike my attempts to land on the Interloper) I’m bouncing off it hard.

 

Seeing the “There’s more to do here” note has just become dispiriting. The 20 minute loop is also killing it for me tbh. 40 minutes I could get with, but it’s just too short a time for the leisurely exploration these places demand. Shame.


The latest Game Maker’s Playlist (a monthly vid for Game Maker’s Toolkit backers on Patreon) featured Outer Wilds. It sounds like he felt much the same way about it as you did, but tried it again and made sure to focus on one thing/quest/whatever at a time and found it much better. I haven’t played it yet myself.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 18/06/2019 at 11:18, matt0 said:

Thanks for the advice, but most my gaming time comes at the expense of sleep these days and I realised last night being asleep is more appealing than actually trying again!

 

I think I got my big moments from the game from getting to know the galaxy, doing all the early detective work and solving some of the more inventive story strands.

 

You absolutely need to finish it, the ending is wonderful and it sounds like you're right there. I know the bit you're frustrated with, just push the stick a tiny bit so a single bar of thrust can be seen every now and again and sail through. You can practically put the pad down to do that bit. I don't know how you'd do that bit without a pad and analogue controls though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm thoroughly confused by the fact that two games coming out this month on PS4 are Outer Wilds and Outer Worlds. I saw a review for Outer Wilds which described it as a "non-violent adventure" and then saw on YouTube a video of what I thought was Outer Wilds (but was Outer Worlds) and found myself thinking: "Hmmm, this is about as non-violent as Mario is non-jumpy".

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So that deluge of PS4 players may not have come to fruition, which is a crying shame: I’ve been keen on this since Splitscreen and the Bomb/Beastcasts were so not on it — and, although I’ve only played an hour or two, I can see why. 
 

I’ve played some decent stuff this year, but it’s been a long time since something pushed this specific button of curiosity. 

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On 14/10/2019 at 16:57, murray said:

It is a tragedy that this thread only has three pages.

 

It's by far and away my Game of the Year, just hope tomorrow's PS4 release brings in a ton of new coverage and people talking about it.


Just thinking the same thing. I need to get back to this game.

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Put about five hours into this today (PS4) and it's... fine. Quite lovely in places, but also incredibly frustrating in others. As a result the story hasn't really grabbed me yet.

 

The central mechanic, the time loop, feels as much hindrance as it is intriguing, thanks largely to the cumbersome exploration controls and little-to-no reward in terms of streamlining when it comes to retracing steps (at least not that I've found to this point). I caved and looked up a puzzle just because I was nearing the end of a loop and really couldn't face the same repetitive trek just to get to the same point again.

 

Fairly underwhelmed so far, but let's see what travelling elsewhere in the solar system brings.

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31 minutes ago, Len said:

Not sure if you're using it but the map in your ship shows you what you've done so far and if anything is left to be discovered in any given areas you've been to. If that makes sense?

 

Been using the map but doesn't mitigate the repetition when there's still stuff to be found in areas I've already spent several loops in. Finally finishing with an area feels like a relief rather than exciting at the minute.

 

Will let it breath for a few days then have another crack; maybe it will click better with me next session.

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Most of the time I found the time limit was enough to explore most small areas. Some places require repeat visits, but there’s sometimes quicker routes to be discovered on the way.

 

I’d be surprised if this didn’t end up being my game of the year, or game of many years for that matter, but it took a couple of hours to get its hooks into me. I found it a little aimless to start with, and it took me a bit of time to get into the swing of things. After that though something just clicked, and I found myself constantly discovering new things and unravelling the mystery. It’s probably the best example of exploration in a game I’ve ever experienced, and the story is a genuinely good little bit of sci-fi.

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Put another three or so hours in but found the repetition increasingly tiresome, and have now deleted the game. It’s not bad, just not for me. Nothing I’ve discovered so far feels compelling enough to keep butting heads with the game’s frustrations.
 

Would have preferred just being able to pootle around the solar system at leisure trying to discover things rather than keep retracing steps, and by the sounds of it later moments heighten that, which I haven’t really got the patience for at the minute. I’ve still got Firewatch to play so hope that will scratch my itch for some low-key, gentle exploration. I’ll just pretend I’m on an alien planet as I go.

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The time loop is integral to the game, but there isn't really that much repetition. Each world is very different from the others, and the ship's computer more or less tells you what to investigate. 

 

There was one location I went to where I found myself having to retrace my steps a few times, but then I found a shortcut after a few loops and felt very silly.

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It IS frequently repetitive though. Every time you painstakingly navigate somewhere, and then a quirk of the physics engine sees you careen down a black hole, or ping off in to space, you have to make the whole trek again. And then if you get there but don't get everything done in time, well you have to do the whole thing again.

 

When I said I was done with it everyone gave me advice about getting past the angler fish, but really I just couldn't face waiting for the sand level to go down on the ash twin at the start of the final run - it was like an extra 5 minute load time, except a load time I could potentially fuck up if I wasn't paying attention because I was bored and looking at my phone. Just a really shitty thing to expect a player to have to put up with.

 

It needed a quick save.

 

Or the ability to make your own mini time loops inside the main loop, which could've been part of the statue lore and would have made perfect sense thematically.

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