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.
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.