‘Outriders’ Is Hiding an Action Game Behind Chest High Walls

People Can Fly’s new third person cover based loot shooter doesn’t actually want you to use cover.
April 7, 2021, 1:00pm
Screenshot from Outriders, two player characters shoot rifles from behind a chest high wall made of wood and sandbags.
Image courtesy of Square Enix

Most video game fans understand what we mean when we say “Cover Based Shooter,” but for those who are unsure: it’s a type of game, most likely with a third person camera, where you are constantly moving between pieces of chest high walls to avoid enemy fire, while popping up to take shots at opportune moments. Not invented but popularized by the Gears of War series, when a cover mechanic appears in a third person shooter you expect that you will be spending a fair amount of time behind that cover.

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Outriders, the new, definitely-not-a-games-as-service, third person, loot based shooter from People Can Fly has a cover mechanic, but the game isn’t really a cover shooter. Enemy attacks will constantly push you out of cover and deal massive damage as you try to run to the next available cover spot. It turns out that the game actually wants you to fight from open space in addition to the cover, giving each class a different way to heal by dealing damage under specific circumstances.

But the game shoots itself in the foot by introducing cover in a way that is familiar to many people who are checking this game out for the first time, making it seem like the overly-familiar cover shooter that it’s very much not. We discuss this choice, the story after the credits of Monster Hunter Rise, and the unfortunate resolution problems of the otherwise beautiful Fantasian on this episode of Waypoint Radio.


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