Content of the article: "Lateviews: Outer Wilds (One of the best games ever created)"
Outer Wilds deserves every award it's ever won. This game is a masterpiece of game design. From the music, to the gameplay, to the story, the characters, the music, the locations, the premise. All of it. The flaws that exist pale in comparison to the achievements that are made here. If video games were used as educational materials like “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Pride and Prejudice”, then this would be a game played by generations in schools across the world. It's an astounding experience that deserves your attention.
I'll stop gushing now and try to remain professional. This is an exploration puzzle game set in a fictional solar system. You are the latest member of the “Hearthian” tribe ready to explore the solar system, as your elders have done before you. The entire first village is delicately fabricated to perfectly educate you about the world and your place in it, the game and it's controls, your motives and your goals and it does so in one of the most natural tutorial sequences you've ever seen. You won't even realise you're being taught. Soon you'll have explored the village and you're given the code to allow you access to your spaceship but before you go the game asks you what you're about to do, immediately setting the tone for this adventure. You're going out there because you want to explore. There's so much that's unknown about the solar system and so many places to go that it's a question you may not have an answer for immediately. But before you get there you'll get a hint for one of the core game mechanics. Time travel.
Well it's a little more complicated than that but the gist of it is that anytime your character dies you are transported back in time to before you set off to recover the code to your spaceship. This is an interesting twist on games as a whole. Outer Wilds isn't about achieving anything. For a reason I won't spoil, you can only explore the world for a maximum of 22 minutes before you'll find yourself waking up again at the start and any physical progress you made will be reset. But that's okay because you're not trying to do anything, you're trying to learn. Your spaceship will also retain knowledge you pickup around the solar system so thankfully this isn't an exercise in memory. The game is immediate in showing you why this is okay. Since you already know the code for your spaceship, there's no need to go all the way to the top of the village to the guy who will tell it to you.
Every planet in the system will hold a different story of the mysterious Nomai civilization and their efforts in the solar system that your race now inhabits. Very quickly you will start finding singular (metaphorical) puzzle pieces that begin more questions than they answer with just enough clues for you to find the next, and the previous breadcrumbs. In fitting with the cyclical mechanics of the game, opening doors is not as important as discovering how to open doors.
I am not usually one for 'interactive story' type of games. Games such as “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” or “Gone Home”. For those who feel similar, fret not; Outer Wilds has gameplay beyond reading and investigating. Navigating the environment with your jetpack is enjoyable, especially where the game makes creative use of gravity. While the game does challenge you to discover the full story of the universe, it will also challenge to accomplish more tangible tasks. Tasks like navigating a maze of water spouts, or through icy caves full of a deadly gas. The game does feature a heavy amount of reading, but this is not a glorified book.
I've always felt that the best games are the ones to elicit emotional reactions and this game will play your heart like a fiddle. You will feel that burgeoning sense of exploration as the game starts. You will feel in awe of the island-lifting tornadoes of Giant's Deep. You will feel afraid at the corruptive powers of the Dark Bramble. You will feel the trepidation as chunks of Brittle Hollow fall into it's black hole core. As you play Outer Wilds you will visit all of these astronomical wonders and if you care to let the game tell you a story, it will pull at your heart in many many ways.
I cannot sing the praises of this game high enough. I put off writing this review for so long just because I was afraid of not doing the game justice. I don't feel it's hyperbolic to call this game a masterpiece. And I will definitely stand by my association of the game to any of the great works of art that you may have been forced to study in school. Not everyone likes reading Shakespeare but you'd still appreciate it for what it meant. Outer Wilds is one of the best video games to ever be made.
- The Outer Wilds
- Are there any games out there like Outer Wilds?
- Is there any games out there like Outer Wilds?
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