Outcast Second Contact is a remake of an open world adventure game in 1999 titled Outcast. Scientists have found a way to open a open a portal to a different dimension. They decide to throw a probe in to see what data they can collect, only to find an inhabitant from this other dimension damaged it, causing a disruption that could end both planets. That is when the government decided to throw three scientists and a soldier into the area to fix the probe. You are that soldier, named Cutter Slade, who must escort the scientists and help fix the probe. The only issues are you are separated from your crew, the parts needed are buried all around the planet, and the inhabitants believe you are their savior and will defeat the repressive regime that controls the land. All in a day’s work I guess.
Before I get into it, I want to say that I haven’t played the original game. I’ve never even heard of Outcast before this game. Because of that, I played this game as a new game and not as a comparison between the two. With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what I like about this game is its music. This soundtrack has got to be one of the best video game soundtracks I have ever heard. It combines an orchestra and a choir, and what comes out imbues a sense of exploration and discovery. This music feels movie-quality good, and it really elevates the experience.
The second thing that comes to mind is how pretty the game can be. I wouldn’t say this game is up-to-snuff with, say, the Crash remakes, but I still think the reworked visuals look a lot better compared to the original game. Something that compliments those reworked visuals are distinct biomes, and this game has those as well. I really like the world I inhabited, because the different areas were different both geographically and culturally. One moment I could be in a desert region filled with slaves tirelessly mining, and the next I can be in a forest full of traps and primitive inhabitants. The world mixed with its improved visuals made the game colorful and vibrant, and it was nice to be in. Overall, I think the game has some interesting things to offer, and at the end of the day, I had a pretty good time.
Unfortunately, for every good thing I had with this game, I had something that wasn’t so great. I think a lot of my gameplay issues ultimately came down to the fact that I don’t think this game aged well. The controls were clunky, the game lacked a sense of direction and I really found myself bumbling around the missions and getting lucky more than anything, the combat was easy to the point where other aspects of the game like stealth were useless, objects in my inventory and locations on the map had no labels, so I had no clue where to go (at first) and even to the end I had no clue what I could do with my items, citizens had a happy meter that didn’t do anything, and more. The crown jewel on gameplay flaws though was the lack of anything to do in the open world. The game offers side quests, but they were hard to find and weren’t that interesting. Because of that, I felt a lot of the running I was doing around the world felt worthless because I felt the open world wasn’t needed. I think some game age like fine wine, but this game certainly didn’t.
As for the remake, I found some issues there as well. The biggest issue I had with the game in terms of the remake was the sound design. It felt like they used the same audio from the game, despite it needing a refresh. Voices sounded like they were recorded in 2007 by a cheap mic, and swimming in water sounds like someone splashing their hand in a bath tub. The audio design scaled between okay and horrible, and it really broke the remake immersion. What also didn’t help were the stiff animations. Cutscenes looked horrible, so mixing that with the terrible sound design made for quite an experience.
I didn’t really know what to do for this last segment, so I decided to make my wildcard be the support I got from the developers.
About halfway through the game, I hit this bug where I couldn’t talk to this certain person that would progress the game forward. I tried skipping him, but as it turns out you have to talk to this guy to move forward. So, I went to the Steam forums with the issue, and it wasn’t long before I was getting help by a developer. Soon after, I was sending them my save data, and soon after that they were sending me a new save file to continue off of. I know this stuff is standard for a lot of companies, but throughout my time with video games I have asked for support from various developers from various studios, and I have gotten various degrees of help. It was nice to see them help out with my issue quickly instead of just constantly going back-and-forth with various answers that wouldn’t fix my problem. So my wildcard choice was the support I got from the developers.
In conclusion, I think Outcast Second Contact is a nice wrapper on moldy cheese. While I think the work done to remake this game is great, with a few issues here-and-there, I think the game itself didn’t age that well. If you are a fan of the original, then I am sure you will find enjoyment out of this game, but I think newcomers like myself won’t find as much of an enjoyment. Because of the issues I had as well as its rather high price point, I think this game is only worth playing at the price of free.
That is going to wrap things up. I decided to link the soundtrack down below. While I think it isn’t as good outside of the game, I still think it is worth a listen. And as always, thank you for reading.