A New Beginning Review: “Feels Quite Archaic For 2024”
6 mins read

A New Beginning Review: “Feels Quite Archaic For 2024”

There’s something very warming about seeing a cult classic game finally get a revival. Whether it’s the third part of Shenmue or Nightdive Studios’ perseverance to get classic FPS games back on the map, it’s nice to see game get a second wind, providing the end result works for fans. Enter Outcast – A New Beginning from developer Appeal Studios and publisher THQ Nordic.



Outcast – A New Beginning is the follow up to 1999’s Outcast, a game that claims to be the first proper 3D open world game, and was released a full two years before GTA 3 would popularise that format. After a middling remake in 2017, Outcast – A New Beginning takes the form of a fully fledged sequel, returning the players to the role of Cutter Slade, a wise-mouthed former Navy SEAL transported to the alien world of Adelpha. However, the potential of this new beginning is hampered by design choices that make it feel rather old-fashioned.

An Alien World Worth Exploring

Open World Design Shines

One element that succeeds about Outcast – A New Beginning is the design of the world itself. Although relatively small in scope, with an open world of seven towns, there’s a vibrancy that makes up for it. Adelpha and the culture of the Talan people who inhabit the planet are enjoyable to explore, with biomes of everything from jungles to sandy coasts through to icy mountains, all created effectively.

In particular, the vertical design of Outcast – A New Beginning is very impressive. All too often open world environments are quite flat and lacking in the peaks and troughs that real spaces provide, but Adelpha excels here, with the player climbing up to villages at the top of rock pillars or clambering around treetops. It’s very different from the lifelessness of Starfield, for instance.

Players will see the benefit of upgrading their jump pack early, both for additional boosts but also for new abilities, to really emphasise the qualities of exploring the game world.

When it comes to overall design, those looking for a direct comparison to another piece of media would be best placed to think of Avatar – although of course Avatar would arrive a full decade after the original Outcast. This is not only because of Outcast’s vibrant color scheme and varied alien species, but also because of the game’s thematic focus, of a primary species more at one with the natural world, the threat of human interference, and a clumsily-written messianic human hero coming to save the day.

A Sequel Straight Out Of The 2000s

Dated Content Hinders Outcast

Outcast - A New Beginning Combat

Although the original Outcast may have been revolutionary for the time, unfortunately this doesn’t translate to the sequel. The structure of the game and the content of exactly what the player will spend their time doing feels quite archaic for 2024. Cutter must unite the seven villages and weaken the threat of a human invading force, but does so through ways that players will find from any open world game of the last fifteen years.

Missions generally fall into two camps, with the player either supporting the Talan with personal errands or defeating human bases filled with robotic enemies. The Talan missions are often escort missions, collecting crafting material, delivering items, and other banal activities, while the base conquering generally means activating some terminals around the compound and then blowing something up or freeing a prisoner. It’s all quite repetitive, and players will likely tire of it quickly.

Outcast – A New Beginning
unfortunately lacks many aspects needed to revitalize this cult classic for the modern day.

Perhaps the best comparison is to the planet exploration of the original Mass Effect, where those side missions were also quite arbitrary in nature and instead the emphasis was placed on exploration and collection. However, Outcast – A New Beginning doesn’t have the impactful main plot of Mass Effect to fall back on, as in spite of the relative depth of the game’s lore it seems underutilized in the final story.

Not Quite Robust Enough

A Lack of Variety Hurts

Outcast - A New Beginning Inside House

Something else that stops Outcast – A New Beginning from achieving the heights it needs to reach is the level of technical limitation found. There are some optimization issues that Appeal Studios has confirmed will be resolved by launch via patch, such as occasional framerate issues and poor enemy AI. Hopefully this will also extend to some other problems spotted during this playthrough, such as enemies clipping through floors and scenery.

More than this, though, are the limitations found within its core gameplay. Much of Outcast – A New Beginning is based around combat, but this is perfunctory at best, with no weight behind ranged weapons, a stilted melee combat system, and overall going through combat feels like a bit of a chore. As such, players may find themselves just scooting past combat encounters most of the time rather than engaging.

Things are a little better when it comes to exploration and platforming, with Cutter’s jump pack easy to use and the more complex controls of flying and boosting more intuitive to players, and equally for the basic vehicles / mounts as those get introduced. However, it’s still not perfect, feeling too weightless at some points and too stilted for stops and starts at others. Outcast – A New Beginning maintains some level of joy when the player can effortlessly move around the map and see the diversity of the game world, even if it’s not perfect.

Our Review Score & Final Thoughts


Outcast - A New Beginning Drill Battle

Outcast – A New Beginning unfortunately lacks many aspects needed to revitalize this cult classic for the modern day. With an archaic gameplay loop and middling action, it’s not quite the follow-up to a revolutionary experience that fans may way. Although some may enjoy a return to Adelpha, and there’s quality to be found in exploration, this is an open world game that fails to hit the mark.

Screen Rant was provided with a PS5 download code for the purposes of this review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *