The Outer Worlds’ ruthless anti-corporate satire goes nowhere. It’s there, written in bold and shouted through non-subtle dialog exchanges, like when rebels wish for all corporations to die. The galaxy’s signage sticks to ’40s era, war propaganda aesthetics, but rather than calling on soldiers, they instead promote employment. The worst thing to be in Outer Worlds is unemployed. If there’s bigotry, it’s aimed at those unwilling to earn a pittance and eat corporately produced sardines.
The whole scenario stumbles over itself though, straining to maintain the generic facade of modern RPG shooters. Outer World needs targets and things to shoot. So it finds outsiders who attack anyone nearby. Yet, the themes attempt to turn people who refuse to give their lives to corporate interests as heroes. Those defying society, scraping by, make for a confused conflict.
Pavrati is Outer Worlds brightest spark; she’s a companion, utterly content with life and who she is. Pavrati willingly bends her understanding to comprehend truth other than that gleaned from corporate indoctrination. Instead of making her protagonist, Outer Worlds chooses a silent stump, in place of an actual personality. That’s draining, much as the anti-capitalist stance is grating.
Like Fallout, which Outer Worlds so clearly models itself after (to redundancy), the theme becomes boilerplate: a thing to play and tinker with under the cloak of being socially aware. Outer Worlds does successfully satirize those blinded by profit, yet never engages with those ideas once into the play space where collecting/selling junk is tantamount – which seems an awful lot like using capitalist ideals to succeed.