Xbox Series X

Published on March 17th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Outcast: A New Beginning Review

Outcast: A New Beginning Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: A campy open world adventure with old school sensibilities and buckets of charm.


By the Yods

I can still remember playing Outcast back in 1999, and it absolutely blew my tiny teenage brain away. With some seriously clever tricks, it created a convincing open world at a time when open-world games as we know them today didn’t really exist. It was astounding.

Fast-forward to 2024, and after a fairly decent 2017 remake, we have Outcast: A New Beginning, a direct sequel to a long-in-the-tooth cult classic with some seriously old-school sensibilities that you could mistake for an Avatar rip-off if Outcast didn’t predate the James Cameron movie by a decade.


Appeal Studio has cleverly made A New Beginning the kind of sequel that doesn’t need you to have played either the remake or original to be able to grasp. Though it takes players back to the lush and thoroughly alien world Adelpha, returning protagonist Cutter Slade has a convenient case of amnesia and has returned presumably hundreds or even thousands of years since he was last there, and is now seen as some weird messianic figure sent by the Yods (Gods) to save the planets two fingered inhabitants the Talans from a group of human invaders (think Avatar but without the white guilt and you’re pretty much there)

Slade is a sarcastic old sod who wants to get home to his daughter. A former Navy SEAL who finds himself back in Adelpha, slowly regaining his memories and realising that he may have unintentionally brought the human invaders to the peaceful planet.

Over the course of the 30-plus-hour campaign, you slowly learn more about Slade and the complicated reasons the humans are there, but on the whole, the story is relatively light unless you decide to dig in and exhaust every dialogue option available from the dozens of NPCs you can converse with.

The Talans love to talk too. Conversing in a steady string of convoluted sci-fi speak that’s half English, half nonsense words used to pointlessly describe things in the world like the Yods (gods), Ulukai (Space Jesus aka you) Ba-Bars (alien sheep), and all other manner of flora and fauna with strange names even though they describe them using English.

Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s all nonsense, but it’s still entertaining because although they have their own words for things, the Talans also have absolutely no understanding of Slade’s sarcastic idioms. This leads to all kinds of weird misunderstandings, which make conversations both fun and weirdly accurate to how alien-human relations would probably play out if we could communicate verbally at all.

The best part of Outcast, though, is the way you can nimbly move across the map. Initially, with a small amount of jetpack fuel, you can launch yourself upwards or dodge attacks with your thrusters.

However, after you’ve unlocked a few upgrades for your jetpack, you can easily boost and glide from one area to the next, hover in the sky and rain fire down on the pesky invaders, and infiltrate enemy bases from above.

That’s before you get yourself a flying mount best described as a cross between an anteater and a pterodactyl.

Alternatively, you can just fast-travel to one of the 20 or so warp gates dotted across the environment, but where’s the fun in that?

There’s a fairly large map that covers all the main biomes you would expect from your average Mario game, from icy tundra and dense forests to vast deserts and raging volcanoes. It’s all absolutely gorgeous, and the environments are so lush you’ll want to explore every inch of them.

As you glide around the incredible scenery, the music swells with a superb John Williams-esque score, and it fits the action, pace, and sense of scale of a world like Adelpha wonderfully.

Each Talan settlement is as varied as the environment that surrounds it. It has unique architecture, and residents wear different costumes, have different customs, and trade different crops, from fruit to livestock to booze. Each has its own local problems for you to solve in your quest to unite the populace against the invading human race.

Although there is often times a lot of back and forth before the bloodshed as you go and talk to one villager who then points you to his superior or the guy in charge of fruit distribution, who sends it up the ladder to the chief, who then tells you to go back and talk to the original quest giver that then tells you he needs the guts from snakes and a half dozen blankets. But it’s ok; he knows a guy in the neighboring village, two hundred miles away.

However, what it all really boils down to after the lengthy negotiations and prattling about, is that you’ll eventually be tasked with either collecting something, killing something and collecting its remains, or blowing something up.

Thankfully, combat is a lot of fun. There is a wide variety of creatures to kill, from alien birds and wolves to all manner of killer bots the invaders employ to do their invading for them. Though the AI does sometimes glitch out, and they’ll just stand stock still, at one point, I entered a weirdly empty enemy base only to find half the enemies had fallen through the floor.

Though you only have two weapons frames for a pistol and a rifle, there’s a massive toybox of collectible modifiers you can add to your weapons to collect that lets you customise how they behave in a ton of different ways.

For example, you could have your pistol split fire in five different directions and then have your bullets explode on impact. Or you could turn your Rifle into a machine gun that heals you every time it kills something. As you progress, you can expand the number of mods each weapon can have, resulting in some absolutely wild combos that can clear a room in a couple of shots and then explode.

The knock-on effect of this is that eventually, every fight becomes incredibly easy, with even A New Beginning’s few boss battles against angry fire-breathing drilling rigs and huge kill bots more of a bump in the road than the test of skill you hope they would be.

Final Thoughts

Outcast: A New Beginning is an entertaining open-world romp that reveals in its campy charm with fun traversal mechanics, fun customisation options, and plenty to see and do. It may be a little rough around the edges, but if you can overlook its foibles, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

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