I Played A Game: Outer Wilds

 
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Author: Manny C.

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EXPLORE A HAND CRAFTED SOLAR SYSTEM…

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You wake up to a view of the stars and an explosion in space the significance of which you are unaware. A villager sitting by a campfire explains to you that you are a young space explorer to their peoples young space exploration program, and today is the day you get to set off into space for the first time. You are tasked with the exploration and knowledge gathering of the star system and those that came before you. After some initial exploration and training within your village you are ready to venture out to space.

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So you hop into your ship and venture off into the great beyond, or in this case, the Outer Wilds.

Space in Outer Wilds is beautiful and in constant motion. Planets spin around a violent and unstable sun, navigating this ever changing landscape takes some getting used to but with a bit of practice it becomes rather intuitive.

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The first time I pushed passed my home planets atmosphere and into space I felt anxious. I had no idea what to do or what to expect, the only thing I knew for sure was to explore. Where you go and what you find is up to you. As I looked around the sun was daunting. I noticed planets spinning quickly around the sun but I was fearful of getting too close on my first time up, so I went to a large planet just beyond it. As I approached I quickly realized my ship was moving much faster than I had anticipated. I tried to pull away but came crashing into the atmosphere which exposed vast oceans and violent tornadoes. I yelled out loud as I tried to correct myself and crashed into the ocean. Still not used to navigating my ship I managed to make my way to land, in doing so I looked out to sea at those daunting tornadoes making their way towards me. It was odd, beautiful, scary, and managed to really capture the feeling of discovery.

And that right there is what makes this game so special. It doesn’t hold your hand through narratives, but rather it invites you to explore. The universe feels alive and the discoveries feel genuine and rewarding.

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You are given a special translation device which enables you to read messages left from the ancient alien race which came before you, the Nomai.

The star system is littered with fantastic structures and devices left behind by them. The glyphs you decipher are the main device used to deliver Outer Wilds story. As you explore, a narrative begins to piece itself together about who the Nomai were, what were they striving for, and what their motivations were.

Discovery is the major focus of Outer Wilds. The game aids in this process by remembering key pieces of information in your ships data logs and alerting you when their is more to be discovered in a given area. The story, is the puzzle. The discovery process is very organic. Every new discovery feels important and exciting, and the more you discover the more you want to discover.

I wish I could tell you more, but this game is designed to be explored. Mobius Digital and Team Outer Wilds made something truly special with this game. Sure not everyone likes the slower pace of exploration games, but those who decide to give it a go will treat themselves to a truly unique gaming experience. When all is said and done, Outer Wilds is one of my all time favorite games I have ever played. I urge you to give it a play.

 
 
 



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