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Outcast - Second Contact (Xbox)

Developed by Appeal, Outcast – Second Contact is available now on PC in the steam store for £29.99, on PS4 for £39.99 and on Xbox One for £35.99.

Outcast – Second Contact is an action adventure game which is a remaster of the popular 1999 game "Outcast".

I’ve played on both my Xbox One S and my Xbox One X and it is amazing how much difference there actually is. The world of Adelpha is so incredibly beautiful, from the luscious lands of Shamazaar to the harsh desert of Talanzaar and beyond, each of the areas you will go to are simply stunning.

When it comes to the characters of Outcast – Second Contact however, you are reminded of the game’s age. The majority of the Talan (the race of Adelpha’s inhabitants) look almost identical and reminded me of the ants in the film “Antz” which was actually released a year prior to Outcast's original release. Every single character also seems to have huge hands which was a little strange as everything else has been designed in proportion.

I also noticed that every character I spoke to (of which there are a LOT) sounded very similar to the previous one I spoke to. The voice acting is definitely not one of the game’s strong points, they all seem to have inconsistent accents with them sounding a touch like Russian one minute and then with a hint of Jamaican the next. Also, the tone of voice that they use more often than not completely conflicts the content that they are talking about. For example, near the beginning of the game I asked one of the Talan if they could tell me a little more about their Father (a friendly question, honest!) and he then essentially shouted his response back at me, seemingly outraged at my audacity.

Another slight bugbear I have is the main character, Cutter Slade and his voice acting, more specifically, his script. There are times when you try to initiate conversation with someone, he will try to get their attention by saying “Yo, shorty”. Every single time I hear this I honestly cringe so much that my insides want to shrivel up and die; it is absolutely awful and it was hard to listen to. Whilst I’m talking about conversations, another issue I’ve noticed is that there is sometimes a really long pause between initiating conversation and the Talan actually responding, who knows, perhaps they are just as flabbergasted as to why they’re being addressed as “shorty” and are hesitant to respond.

Thankfully, the soundtrack of Outcast – Second Coming is absolutely wonderful, my first thoughts upon hearing it was that it was almost too good for the game. I certainly appreciated listening to it as I was wandering around fulfilling quests and in each area you go to the music changes, remaining in keeping with the surrounding environment which I thought was a really nice touch.

So, now we’ll get into a little more of the actual game and how it plays, as always I’ll try to avoid any spoilers!

You are an elite soldier named “Cutter Slade” and you have been sent to a faraway planet named Adelpha where you soon discover that the others who went there with you have gotten lost somewhere and now the fate of both Adelpha and Earth depends on you. No pressure but the Talans also happen to see you as their “Ulukai” (their saviour) who was prophesied many moons ago to be the one who would save them all. 

After being given a fairly brief introduction to the game where you learn what all of the controls do, you are then free to explore how ever you wish to, travelling through portals to other cities whenever you feel like it. I love how free the game allows you to be, you can explore, find materials and ammo, speak to everyone you come across, complete quests and kill enemies in whichever order you prefer. Something I really like is that you are able to spot characters of note via the minimap because they will have a coloured marker which makes finding quests a lot simpler.

There is the overriding main quest obviously being to save Earth and each area you go to will require similar tasks to be completed so you will have a vague idea of what to do next if you ever get stuck. There are also a huge amount of side quests available to you which will give you rewards such as money or special items as well as increase your reputation amongst the Talans. To keep track of what you are supposed to be doing, your notepad will update whenever something new is added to it (usually after speaking with Talans) and is easily accessed with the "B" button, each time you have carried out a task successfully, the note will be greyed out which I quite liked as a way of tracking progress.

The menu system is very easy to navigate through and I like how there is a lexicon tab where you can get a little more information about some of the things you come across as you play through. Controls as I’ve said, are fairly simple to pick up but are, unfortunately, quite slow and cumbersome making combat particularly frustrating. For the remastered edition, the crouch and dodge roll movements have been introduced but to be honest, I barely used them because they just added to unnecessary faff and didn’t work quickly enough when I needed them.

Combat took me a long time to get used to, there is an auto-aim which locks on if the enemy is a good distance away from you but if you try shooting close up it goes a little haywire. Thankfully, you don’t need to wait for the aim to lock on, you can just point and shoot as you please. As I purchased better guns, I found this issue to irritate me less and less because I was doing more damage and killing quicker anyway but it was pretty irritating in the beginning.

Outcast – Second Contact does have an autosave feature which is fairly regular just in case you need to go off, there is also an item given to you called the “Gaamsavv” which is literally an item to use so that you can manually save whenever you want to. Definitely, try to save often just in case the autosave hasn’t kicked in and you end up crashing. I have had the game crash on me once which was when I was going through a portal to another place which was disappointing because even though it has only happened the once, I'll now always have it at the back of my mind that the game could crash again which slightly ruins the experience for me.

Overall, I have enjoyed playing Outcast – Second Contact but it took me a little while to properly get into with regards to the clunky controls and strange voice acting but once I got used to it, it’s a great game. If I had to give it a score it would be 7/10, as much as I liked playing Outcast – Second Contact, I honestly don’t think any remaster is worth £35.99 (my personal opinion) so I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale unless you are a fan of the original game.

Outcast – Second Contact has 39 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. For the most part, the achievements are progression based and will unlock through natural gameplay as long as you aren’t just rushing through each area. There are also a couple of achievements where you will need a little skill involved but there isn't anything which is overly taxing. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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