Outriders, a new class-based looter shooter developed by People Can Fly (Gears of War Judgment, Bulletstorm) and published by Square Enix, launched a free demo last week on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The full game will be out on April 1st.
The demo contains roughly three hours of questing content from the very start of the game. After creating an Outrider in a somewhat-limited character creator, the story begins with an interstellar voyage to find the next home for humanity after society’s collapse and Earth’s destruction. The planet Enoch is deemed a worthy candidate, and an expedition is launched in the attempt to colonize the planet for human habitation. However, not all goes according to plan, “Anomaly storms” devastate the campaign and “alter” the protagonist, giving them superhuman abilities — but it’s not before they’re locked away in cryostasis for 30 years.
Upon release, the Outrider discovers that humanity has settled on Enoch, but the vicious environmental hazards make resources incredibly scarce and various factions, including those altered by anomaly storms, war against each other for control. It seems the problems that plagued Earth in it’s final moments have only been transposed to Enoch. It’s here where the game fully begins, in a settlement besieged on all sides. It’s the game’s first major hub, where you can take on various missions.
Combat is in third-person and you’ll be using a variety of weapons as well as special class-based abilities set on cooldown timers. I chose the Vanguard class, geared towards tanking, and unlocked abilities where I could soak damage by encasing my body in stone, and reflecting damage back at enemies. There’s a skill tree for each class that provides three different play styles with various passive abilities and traits. Rare weapons also have unique effects in gameplay and are worth collecting and discerning between. Boss encounters will have you contend with atypical mechanics, and will need you to scrutinize your loadout. Outriders also rewards more aggressive gameplay styles, where there isn’t passive health regeneration behind cover, but health rewarded for kills and damage dealt. With low health, the best strategy is often to go all out rather than duck out of the way.
In the video below, we play through the demo campaign, which is around three or so hours: