The Outer Worlds Taught Me Patience

The Outer Worlds Taught Me Patience

How long does it take you to give up on a game? Is 15 hours too far? 6 hours? Finding time to game as an adult is near impossible. Between an endless list of everyday tasks, working a full-time job, going to the gym and even feeding yourself, it’s no wonder that many of us struggle to find the time. And finding time to play a good game is even harder.

As an adult, you have to be far more discerning than you ever used to be. 120 hours didn’t seem as daunting when you were young — but now, you need that time for household chores, cooking dinners, seeing friends … the list goes on. As responsibilities grow, the time you have for gaming plummets. That’s why every time I see rave reviews for a brand new RPG, my heart drops a little.

Sometimes, you just have to accept that you won’t get time to play a certain game. Whether it be because you’re too tired, or because life gets in the way, there are so many obstacles to gaming as an adult.

I learned a hard lesson when I picked up The Outer Worlds. And while it’s hard to admit it, I need to be more patient with games.

The Outer Worlds wasn’t a game that I immediately warmed to. 6 hours in, I was ready to drop it and walk away. That’s not at all because it was bad — it’s definitely not — but because I guard my time like a dragon hoards gold. I hadn’t found characters to relate to, weapons to love or companions to cherish.

Sure, the game had asked some interesting questions about colonialism, the ethics of electricity supply and the complications of space travel, but after 6 hours I was looking for something more to keep me hooked.

Tips For Playing The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds is out now, and while it’s easy to be wowed by Halcyon, you might need a couple tips to make the most of your time there.

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What that “more” was I didn’t discover until around the 12 hour mark, when I finally stumbled upon the perfect companion combination of Felix and Nyoka. When you’re travelling the vast interplanetary wastes of The Outer Worlds, companionship is essential. Along your journey, you meet several survivors for your crew. At first, I thought I’d be happy with Vicar Max and Parvati (the first two companions that become eligible to join you), but I quickly tired of Parvati’s bright personality and optimism, and Vicar Max turned out to be a little bit on the boring side.

But then I found Felix, the dorky and overeager wannabe, who asked constant questions and persisted in annoying my entire team. And then, Nyoka, the drunkard hunter whose sarcasm-laced dialogue and biting commentary balanced Felix’s cluelessness perfectly. It was this strange friendship that finally involved me in The Outer Worlds‘ main story and kept me forging ahead.

In the end, the best part of The Outer Worlds is that you don’t have to go it alone. In fact, companions are integral to your journey. If you did decide to fly solo, you’d miss out on some of the best banter that the game has to offer. The way that your companions interact with you throughout the game is a true delight, and also the most helpful that companions have been in any game I’ve played.

At the 15 hour mark, I was trekking my way up to Devil’s Peak to find an information broker. Each step of the way, Nyoka would chime in with advice and to let me know if I was on the right path or not. At the halfway mark, I was very lost, so this advice was definitely welcome. It made what would’ve been a frustrating and long journey that much smoother.

And here’s the thing — if I’d let my first impressions win over and only played the first 6 hours before giving up, I would’ve missed out on the power of this mechanic. The Outer Worlds is a slow burner, or at least it was for me. I wasn’t immediately grabbed by the story, and that’s fine. Sometimes, games just aren’t for you and I was prepared to recognise that. You don’t have to love everything, but the more I journeyed, the more I realised — you do have to give them time.

My first 6 hours in The Outer Worlds was a slog. I was satisfied enough to mindlessly wander through the plains of Halcyon, but it wasn’t until I was well in the thick of it and chewing through chunks of the main story with Felix and Nyoka that I was emotionally involved.

Some games require a greater time investment, and that’s fine. Video game storytelling is wildly different to traditional storytelling, and you shouldn’t expect to be immediately grabbed by every game you play. What is important is giving a game time to breathe. Patience is a virtue, and as an adult gamer, I’m relearning that.


  • Felix is this game’s Carth and therefore I will never allow him in my party unless I am required to have him with me.

  • Six hours? Fuck me. I gave up after 2.

    Look, there’s nothing wrong with The Outer Worlds in itself. It’s fine. It’s OK.
    It does what a lot of other games do, and does it a little better?
    It’s just really, really fucking difficult to push through the boredom barrier, ‘learn patience’ with precious, rare gaming hours when there’s an indie RPG sitting over on the side… lavishly rewarding my investment of time… immediately.

    I’d been playing Disco Elysium for a couple days before trying The Outer Worlds, and every minute I played TOW it was with a nagging awareness of what DE was doing better. More complicated characters, more facets of their personalities explored, more options to explore and more acknowledgement of your choices.

    It started with disappointment when I went back to the hapless space cadet to give his gun and sword back (roleplaying the ‘good guy’) and let him know that the area was safe and clear to return to his superior officer, waiting by ‘my’ ship.
    Nothing. No acknowledgement. Still hiding. I expected too much… But I only expected that because DE does that. Like… all the time. My disappointment only got worse, the further I went on in TOW.

    …The game pass $1 trial ends in a month. I’ve got that long to finish Disco Elysium and then the less-nuanced, less-complex, less-challenging, less-clever, less-Disco game. I’m gonna try, but it’s really hard to read an argument about having patience to get to the good bits when an indie RPG can forcefully prove that you really don’t need to.

    • Sameish. I got through the intro and just so many systems, so much talking, so much… bleck.

      I just don’t have the time anymore. It’s a miracle I got through the Witcher 3 but that had an immediate atmosphere and story pay off.

      So glad I could try it for $1 but my KOTOR’ing days are over. I’ve become a casual. And that’s ok. To be honest I enjoy it this way more. I don’t want to grind on a game anymore unless it’s a fighting game. Cos I’d be fighting. Which is dope.

    • Remember he didn’t need 6 hours, he needed 12 hours to get to the good stuff.

      Disco Elysium sounds brilliant. I must look it up.

      • I hope you like text! If you do, yes, it is BRILLIANT. It remembers everything you do and regularly refers to that when both introducing new characters or re-interacting with old. And you will do much of both.

        It’s a very, very meticulously-designed game, from a dialogue and character stand-point.

    • I am absolutely loving it but i can understand why you didn’t like it. It’s HEAVILY dialogue based, you’re supposed to talk to as many people as possible and actually pull conversation out of them (using perks/ character build etc.) and try and find the path you want to take with your character. I find it brilliant but can easily see how it would not suit some people.

      I hated red dead 2 for similar reasons, it was BORING. Who the heck wants to ride on horse for 10 real life minutes to get to the next quest only to be killed because of the worlds worst controller mechanics.

      • Oh, I’m sure the dialogue options are a revelatory experience compared to something like Fallout 4… but unfortunately, I’ve been playing Disco Elysium, and TOW just… cannot compete against that.

    • ALSO! I wonder if expectations play a part…. I honestly thought this game would be hot trash. I only purchased it because i was bored. When I dont expect much I always seem to be much more easily pleased haha

    • Even though I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of Outer Worlds, I can’t help but find a lot of it feels quite… old.

      The shooter mechanics are really nothing special by any stretch… I’d argue games like Fallout 4/76 actually have much better feeling gunplay, though having id Software in the house during FO4’s development helped I guess. And the genuinely great quests in Outer Worlds are overshadowed by the number of very average fetch quests that people always give shit about to the likes of Bethesda especially.

      All in all, to me it’s definitely not this grand masterwork that a lot of people seem to be going on about.

      Thanks to your comment I will be looking into Disco Elysium now though.

  • Hmm, thought I was the only one who was finding it hard to engage with the game. Like said above, it is not a bad game but it did not grab me like I expected. It took me a while to put a finger on it but I think it is a combination of boring characters, small worlds that actually don’t feel lived in and a lack of sense of exploration. While Fallout 4 had a lot of problems, I still enjoyed wandering off to find some random location to stuff about in. The few that are The Outer Worlds just don’t have a sense of place or wonder.

    I hope they do more games and can expand on their idea but I do admit to finding this one a little souless. I do hope to finish it still, to at least give it a real shot, but I am not hanging for it each day at work as I thought I would.

    • After a few hours, I really wanted to go get my money back for this game, but it seems that JB HiFi don’t allow returns just because you didn’t enjoy the game. Now I am left trying to enjoy it as much as I can, but I am struggling big time to find any enjoyment. Being a massive Fallout fan, I thought this game would be exactly what I wanted to sink my time into, but it just lacks that feeling of wanting to explore your surroundings and feeling engrossed in the world of the game.

      • EB used to do that, no idea if they do anymore. It was a 7 day no questions asked return. They’ll also price match other places too.

  • Phew, I thought I was the only one having a problem getting into this game. I’m glad to hear that it gets better but it feels a bit flat and boring to me so far (I’m about 3-4 hours in). It may be another one of those times where I feel like I’m playing a different game to the reviewers, another being Red Dead Redemption 2 which I found to be a sluggish, repetitive bore. I only play games in short doses at a time now, so I need a game to be pretty immediately engaging and enjoyable.

  • really interesting forum. I totally get people’s complaints – I particularly hate how they didn’t do the huge open world that fallout did where you just walk and discover secrets and side quests. the lack of multiple quest tracking is just a pain , but I think the world is beautiful and some of the writing is very amusing so I’ll push through for sure

  • I’m assuming this is aimed at early 20-somethings? Cos I really don’t see what’s hard about finding time for gaming. Even with a 65 hour work and study load, social stuff and domestic chores, you should still be able to find 10-15 hours per week. So how much did you game per week as a non-adult?

    • I think you’ve forgotten about the 30+yr olds who make the largest gaming demographic, many of whom have spouses and children, which are notorious for soaking up every scrap of time that anyone else would consider ‘free time’. 🙂

  • If you hate the game after 6 hours, and forced to play until 12, it sounds more like you capitulated and wasted time playing a cruddy game if you ask me.

    6 hours on a bore fest, you’re absolutely right, if this open world rpg is that slow, no way i’m wasting my time on it.

    If fallout 4 is better… well that’s about enough said…

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