Outcast 2: A New Beginning Impressions – Old Dog, New Tricks

One of the positive things about Embracer's mass acquisition of anything that hasn't been nailed, riveted, tied and glued to the ground is that they now have such a massive catalogue of IPs that almost anything could return from the depths. Companies like Activision Blizzard will sit on an IP and refuse to permit people to use it, even though they have no and will never have any intentions of utilising it. Embracer, they do something. I'm starting to wonder if they have some internal nostalgic-based Kickstarter going. The winner within Embracer a little while back was Outcast because recently, at Gamescom, I saw a presentation for Outcast 2.

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Outcast 2 feels strange to say and write. Following the HD remaster five years ago, we got the announcement last year that Outcast 2 was indeed coming. Now twenty years have gone by, can the series that arguably inspired every 3D open-world game since its release stand tall again? Besides that, can a game with the support of a tireless fanbase appeal to both old and new players? These are some of the questions that the presentation I was shown tried to answer.

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Alone in the Dark Impressions – Back to Basics

Developed by Appeal Studios, developers of the original that went bankrupt in 2002, later revived in 2014 by the three founders of the original studio. In addition to having some original crew within the studio, Appeal has also involved the fans in the game's development, including hiring one of the more prominent modders. The aim is to make the game a true successor to the original and keep it favourable to fans, but at the same time, they want newcomers to be able to jump in.

Set 20 years after the original makes for an excellent way to do this. Slade Cutter, the protagonist from the original, is still here. His attempted return home has failed, and now he's back on Adelpha. The problem, the world has a new threat; an invasion from humans and their far superior technology. The Talan, the people of Adelpha, are a tribe-living people and have no means of resisting such an overwhelming force. That's where you come in.

You'll take the fight to the invading forces using various tools and abilities and combine them with your two weapons. Only two weapons, you may think, but these are said to be very customisable - forty modules to slot into weapons and a variety of ammo types. The combinations are, apparently, into the hundreds. In addition, I mentioned that you'd have abilities you will be able to use; these can be anything from an anti-gravity ability that sends your enemies - and other items - floating up, letting you pick them off with ease. The curious thing is how you'll come by these abilities.

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As one should expect from the sequel of a game that arguably inspired all open-world games since then, Outcast 2 will also be open-world. The difference is how Appeal looks to develop this world and your impact upon it. Spread throughout Adelpha are several tribal villages, each with its quests and stories. As you support these villages, finalising everything, they will each give you a unique ability to use in your fight against the invaders.

In addition to the ability, they'll also offer other aspects that impact the world. Each action and decision you take within the game claims to impact the rest of the world and change its development. I can't profess as to how accurate this claim is, but there is something from the presentation that highlights your impact: A giant flying whale. It starts as an egg, eventually hatching into a small, baby flying whale. However, as you do things for the villages, you'll be given access to things Flying Willy needs, such as food. The more of the stuff you get, the bigger it grows. Appeal told me that it would eventually be helpful in battle and traversal.

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Jagged Alliance 3 Impressions – Returning to the Past

This takes place in an aesthetically pleasing world, like many games I've seen this year. It's open, with various types of areas and biomes to explore and a considerable focus on verticality - which should be all the more fun using a jetpack and wing glider. You'll be able to see a little more of what I mean in the trailer at the bottom of this piece.

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If I'm to hazard a guess, when Outcast 2 is released sometime next year, it will likely be reasonably well received based on what I've seen. Only time will tell if this is the case, of course, but visually the promise is there, but since I've not had hands-on, I can't say for sure exactly how it plays. I'm imagining yet another eurojank style game, where the attention to detail and charm makes up for what may end up being imperfect controls. That, or I could be well wide of the mark.

Only time will tell, but I, for one, will be playing it.

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