This past year there were two games I had hoped would succeed. The first was Godfall, the previously next-generation loot-driven melee experience, with the other being Outriders. The reason for this is rather simple. Even if I enjoy Destiny at varying levels over the years, competition would improve gaming as a whole. We’ve seen the benefits with Microsoft and Sony pushing each other to vary highs, to the point where we have some legitimately nice systems. Unfortunately, Outriders never became that game for a myriad of reasons, but Endgame 2.0 promises to fix some of these issues. With this being a free upgrade, is it a worthwhile revision or does it still fall short?
Before discussing the changes, it’s important to touch on People Can Fly and Square Enix taking some of the criticism to heart and attempting to make a better game. In previous years we would’ve seen a sequel with these changes or possibly a new expansion that adds them passively through various things, except they’re free and largely player-friendly.
In the grand scheme not much has changed. One of the most welcome was removing timers from the ill-fated endgame mode, expeditions. Previously players would have time limits to earn rewards, many of which were very demanding. This wasn’t in the sense that you were given 30 minutes to do a 10-minute task and more like a great team with a strong build could do a 15-minute task in 13 minutes. It also made specific stages more lucrative, only to be nerfed to the point where they were almost impossible, leaving the community rather frustrated. With them being gone, it’s less of a question of what you’ll get and more can you win or not.
Out of all the bad choices Outriders made, costumes had to be the biggest. With gear having specific perks and only one perk can be changed, endgame armor quickly became obtaining the perks you need and collecting the right combo on epic (purple) rarity gear or chase after legendary (gold) tier items. The downside was always clear though.
Certain weapons, such as Rarog’s Gaze, weren’t advantageous to use. It required a specific playstyle, one many players did not care for, which also fell short of other rifles’ potential combos. This is just one example, though there are countless costume and weapon skins that look amazing, even if they’re impractical to use. Transmog not only corrects this, but it also does so in a way with only one negative.
Any item collected will instantly unlock that design. No need to find a vendor, exchange it for resources, just pick it up and you can use that design. It also counts any currently held item, though it does not include items previously obtained but any longer held. This can be annoying, especially if you previously had legendary items. However, it does make collecting low-tier loot if you want to collect every design.
Depending on your luck, obtaining gear is a little easier thanks to the changes in Tiago’s Store. Previously he offered a specific set of legendary gear and it either was or was not useful to you. Now his shop can be rerolled for new gear or trade drop pods for a random legendary. It makes doing a mission far more worthwhile since you’re guaranteed something after a specific point.
As for the new expeditions, they check a lot of boxes, though the value will vary. Two of them are fairly generic stages, though they have cutscenes and voice acting, a massive touch for a free addition. Molten Depths exist largely to correct another massive oversight, the Acari boss. While one of the coolest parts of the campaign, there wasn’t much room for the Acari (it’s a giant spider boss like you might see in Lost Planet) outside of its one stage. Now players can fight it and waves of spiders in a thrilling new expedition. Finally, there is The Wellspring.
Easily the hardest event added and quite possibly the hardest expedition overall, it makes some team-destroying choices. Tight passageways, strong enemies, and a Shaman mini-boss make it a chore. Even with stronger people it can break your team and feel unrelenting. Absolutely meant for the more skilled teams or players who want to really test their skills.
Beyond the superficial stuff, the core loop remains relatively unchanged. I returned, spent a few matches remembering how to play, and then proceeded to still out damage most randoms I was assigned. Loot remained relatively underwhelming, I don’t think there was a single new item I was excited to have, with even the legendary gear I got being duplicates of things I already had. Even playing the new expeditions for trophies/achievements was short-lived fun.
For existing players, this update is more of a taste of things to come. The upcoming paid expansion will likely do a lot more, possibly even change things up completely, though it’s impossible to say. Newcomers will likely have a lot of fun with Outriders. It still has some of the biggest flaws, such as certain playstyles being far more advantageous than others, though the core package is so much more complete. Not to mention there are a good number of people willing to help, making it a nice time to fight the storm.