The massively multiplayer role-playing game “Outside” was released 5.453 billion years ago and has been making some headlines recently, so we thought we would take a look at the oldest game known to man and give it a fresh review, even though it has been reported to take an entire lifetime to finish one playthrough.

To start out, players will find that they are forced into a character creation that is really very limiting. While I found that most players in the world had a variety of customization options, I was stuck with the customizations that were chosen at character creation, which is completely unfair. I thought that when I made my character, I would be able to reassign my stats later in the game, but the process of assigning stats can take far too long. When I chose Average Joe as my strength stat, I thought that it would increase naturally over time, but to increase your strength stat efficiently, you have to spend money on in-game memberships and spend time at one of the in game gyms. Additionally, increasing your intelligence stat requires a ludicrous amount of time and in game currency, on some crappy money sink called a “tuition.”

Further, the game also has a massive perk selection of little attributes that affect stats, and while you can choose some of them, others will be randomly assigned. For example, my parents who played the game told me that I shouldn’t pick the four-eyes perk, and I thought I didn’t, but eighteen years into my playthrough I found that the perk had been randomly, and albeit gradually, assigned for me. Additionally there was another perk that showed up randomly all at once that was a major hindrance to the playthrough. I had previously contracted the cold sore medical perk, but it randomly evolved and turned into the eye-herpes perk. This perk forced me to drive my character to the doctor with one eye closed and take hundreds of dollars out of my account.

Then there’s the main gameplay, which is really the biggest letdown of the game. You spend  roughly your first 20 years grinding stats so you can get the career assignment that you’re stuck in for three times as much as it was to get to that point. You can get lucky and meet another character that you can make a family with, and you get to customize the new characters that you can make, but only if you have money. Additionally, you don’t get to control those characters after you make them, and for the first roughly four years of playtime with these character, their AI is terrible and bumps into everything, and are a constant drain on your money statistic. The only benefit that you get from this mechanic is that they may take care of you when your stats start falling toward the end of your playthrough, but that’s only if they like you.

This was only the start and base outline of the mechanics, but it doesn’t scratch the surface of the player interactions. For example, I increased my stats in politics working for one player to get a turn in charge, but that did nothing when it turned out that a small number of players got to be in charge of the choice because they had maxxed out their money stat. Thankfully they payed for it in a lowered money stat and the unforeseen drop in their “Public Reputation” stat, so I did get some schadenfreude from that.

All in all, I think players should avoid playing this game, if not for the unfairness in stats assigned at character creation, then for the pointless amount of grinding you have to do to play the game in comfort.

Outside: 1/7


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