A little over a year ago, Polish developer People Can Fly, the team behind Gears of War: Judgment and Fortnite: Save the World, released the third-person shooter/RPG Outriders. A loot-driven third-person shooter game that provided a gory campaign with a pinch of endgame, and was great fun when played with friends, became one of 2021’s earliest big releases.
Positive critic reviews and the amazing claim by publisher Square Enix that over 3.5 million unique players were registered in just the first month, made the game seem like the sky was the limit. Then to follow that amazing feat, Square Enix also promised that the game would be expanded, and Outriders Worldslayer is the first paid expansion for this release.
The campaign mode is playable as a single-player or with up to two friends and despite its clear inspirations from the likes of Gears of War, it is still a surprisingly kinetic game. Players are always moving, with each of the four classes rewarding aggressive play with healing, often by closing the gap between your opponent and your Outrider. Sadly, there are no new classes included with Worldslayer, but each of the four is more customizable thanks to the new Pax Trees, which add two new skill branches to each class. Players can re-spec these at will, allowing for more flexibility, but each helps you fine-tune your play style.
Outriders Worldslayer adds an additional campaign for the game, however, it does more than just that. It also adds a lot of progression-focused tweaks made to the base game. Worldslayer continues exactly where the base game left off. When the last cargo pod lands on Enoch from the orbiting colony ship Flores, scientist Zahedi finally has enough data to determine that the Anomaly storm will soon engulf the whole planet, rendering it inhabitable for good. Luckily, Zahedi tells the player character about a fellow scientist on the Insurgent side who might have found something capable of sheltering the colonists against the encroaching Anomaly. And so begins the very brief campaign.
I state that this is a brief campaign because the developers said it would be between four and ten hours long. I however beat it in just a little over 3 hours. I didn’t feel like I was rushing either. I just followed the campaign and before I knew it, it was over. I think there could have been a few more quest lines brought in the campaign mode, but overall I was not disappointed with what I got. Of course, the campaign is only part of the expansion. Outriders Worldslayer also includes a brand new endgame activity called the Trial of Tarya Gratar. This is unlocked after you beat the campaign. The Trial of Tarya Gratar differs from the base game expeditions in so many ways.
To begin with, it’s a single, large location that players have a set number of attempts to complete before it resets (which automatically happens if the players quit, too). The old city that once belonged to the natives of Enoch, the Pax, is divided into Crossroads (where players can take different paths that bring them to different encounters), Troves (dangerous areas that can reward great loot), and Arenas (where players face off against bosses to move to the next stage of the Trial of Tarya Gratar). The Troves are particularly notable because they introduce targeted loot farming, since they always drop the same type of loot, such as chest gear. This is unlike any other part of Outriders, where drops are entirely randomized.
The Trial of Tarya Gratar is also balanced in a different way compared to the rest of the game. That is to say, it is designed to be tackled by groups of three players, rather than going solo or as a duo. You can still try playing it solo, but only up to a certain level of difficulty. On that note, People Can Fly completely overhauled difficulty tiers in Outriders Worldslayer, replacing both World Tiers and Challenge Tiers with the Apocalypse Tiers. This also applies if you don’t have the expansion, albeit with some limitations; while the difficulty cap for Worldslayer is Apocalypse Tier 40 (max gear level 75), base Outriders players will only be able to get to Apocalypse Tier 15 (max gear level 50).
For me, the biggest pleasure of this game without a doubt is the amount of loot. Not only will you earn it from blasting through mobs of enemies, of course, but you’ll also find yourself needing to explore side paths to find additional rewards. Thankfully, there’s no time limit, meaning you can spend as long as you’d like in the new activity, and each of these “Troves” will offer a specific item type so you can farm gear more easily.
The flip side of the coin is that this can simply be done by farming the original campaign and Expeditions. Playing the former with Apocalypse Tiers was touted by the developers as a sort of New Game Plus experience featuring stronger foes and new loot. Similarly, Expeditions remain a viable endgame activity since they scale with Apocalypse Tiers and feature new loot. Now when it comes to the loot, it is stated that it includes almost a hundred new Legendary items between armor and weapons, coming with unique and exciting mods altering the character’s abilities. Each new class is getting two dedicated Legendary armor sets, while some new three-piece Legendary sets will be usable by any class.
Besides loot then there is the new Ascension system, which was designed as a way to reward the most regular players. Each Ascension level awards a corresponding Ascension point that can go towards improving your character’s passive strength under categories like Brutality, Endurance, Prowess, or Anomaly. Each category has five options, such as Endurance improving your armor, health, damage mitigation against elites, et cetera.
There are 200 Ascension Points to be earned throughout Outriders Worldslayer, which should take a long time to unlock. Then there’s the Pax tree, which is more akin to the regular class trees. There are two branching options that could be described as subclasses, further increasing the depth of build configurations in the game. Unlike Ascension points, Pax points are unlocked by completing specific milestones in the expansion, like finishing the story or progressing in the Trial of Tarya Gratar.
With all the new things for the character, I must state that the gameplay fundamentals have not changed in any way. This is still an extremely fun-to-play game with combat that hinges far more on being intense than strategic, which works against it when you’re in an epic boss fight. There’s still not much in the way of teamwork, putting Outriders Worldslayer at a disadvantage in this area compared to other online shooter/action RPGs. The maps and levels are still mostly linear, just like in the base game, and seem at odds with what most players expect in a 2022 title. Nonetheless, Outriders Worldslayer is a great time if you’ve enjoyed the base game.
Between the new content and the unlimited fun of grouping up for loot pinatas, this game was a blast. I enjoyed it just as much as the original and already have invested hours of play time in this new expansion. I am now working on my 3rd piece of legendary gear set for my Pyromancer and I am having a great time doing so. Outriders Worldslayer is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Steam for $39.99.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Outriders Worldslayer for PC provided by People Can Fly and Square Enix.