Outcast – A New Beginning Review – Old Turf, New Chores

One of many stealthy gems that came out in 1999 – arguably the best year for PC gaming in history – was Outcast. This open-world action-adventure trailblazed many new ideas and concepts, such as freedom of exploration in a content-rich 3D sandbox we nowadays take for granted. Its thought-provoking Sci-Fi story rode on the success of Stargate SG-1, asking profound questions about the perils of screwing with indigenous cultures. It resisted the temptation of Hollywood’s happy end, offering an almost tormenting, bittersweet conclusion many still fondly remember.

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Some of the novelties it brought to the table, like its software-based ray-casting engine, turned out to be an evolutionary dead end. The game scaled badly with rapidly improving PC tech, and its proliferation among new generations of gamers suffered from it. The problem was mostly remedied with the HD remaster from 2014 and eliminated in 2017 when the fully-bloded remake came out. Outcast: Second Contact was a definitive Outcast for both its core base and curious newcomers. It sold well enough to motivate the current trademark holders to consider a proper sequel.

The Starbuck treatment

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Seven years later we have Outcast – A New Beginning. It’s not clear how many people from the original team worked on it, but I would guess not many. The tone is different, and distinct sensibilities and subtleties of the first game are but a whiff now. For better or worse, A New Beginning represents a true new beginning. We’ll elaborate on that with more detail a bit later.

The sequel expands upon the poignant ending of the original game, positing that Cutter Slade, the Ex-Navy seal that saved the Earth, was court-martialed and executed by a military tribunal. Apparently, he failed to completely prevent the destruction, which resulted in mass casualties. The New Beginning deals heavily with the concept of parallel dimensions; Many revelations in that regard would be pure spoilers, so we’ll try to tip-toe around that as best as we can. Suffice it to say that, for the fans of the first Outcast, confusion will persist for many hours here.

That being said, we once again encounter our hero materializing on the surface of planet Adelpha. The Yods, the deities of the indigenous Talan people aren’t done with him. Pesky Earthlings returned – Avatar style – and began to plunder the resources and riches. So Cutter was Starbucked and sent to play Lisan-al-Gaib once again. He suffers from amnesia, his arsenal is non-existent, and the memory of Ulukai, the great savior of Talans, means little to the new generation of aliens.

Fetch quests galore

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We previously mentioned that Outcast – A New Beginning has a different tone compared to the original game. That mostly relates to the depiction of Talans and their culture, both of which are very heavily anthropomorphized. In other words, their civilization, lingo, and just about everything else resembles a typical shamanistic society on Earth, but with a strange modern twist. In conversations, they will often bring up terms like marketing, metaverse, and engineering, and talk about gender equality or other advanced concepts. You’ll encounter many weird, out-of-place Talan NPCs who will further break the immersion. One dude speaks and acts like “Dude” from Big Lebowski, being a substance-abusing alchemist. The Adelpha thus never feels truly alien. Instead, it has a vibe of an unholy crossover between medieval Bulgaria and contemporary California.

The key aspect of New Beginning gameplay is solving the problems of those faux-aliens, mostly by completing a ridiculous amount of fetch quests. To trigger the Talan unity ceremony, you’ll need to buy the goodwill of several villages, which will in turn supply you with a symbolic token. So you’ll travel (or rather, teleport), between villages, collecting this and delivering that. You will take care of livestock breeding, alcohol production, pest cleaning, and other domestic duties. It becomes mind-numbing after a while. Talking in length with concerned Talans will further drain you. Everyone seems to have a ton of pressing personal issues they will hit you with as soon as they meet you.

Modular weaponry for the win

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Fortunately, doing chores is not all there is. The second requirement for triggering the unity is the destruction of the robot-infested bases scattered around Adelpha. Although it’s slightly overused, meaning that you’ll perform the same sequence of events more than a dozen times over, the dynamic combat compensates for repetition strain. You only have two weapons this time, but their modular nature enables endless combinations. Many different modules affect weapon behavior – multi-shot, cooling booster, ammo saver, optical sight, rapid-fire module, etc. Mixing and matching, you can make a machine gun, sniper rifle, or shotgun out of a default rifle or pistol.

Using your creations in the field is pretty straightforward. Weapons have great synergy with energy shields and jetpacks, essential gadgets you’ll use for defense and traversal. For example, shielding yourself while your weapons cool down for a second or two is a fundamental combat mechanic in New Beginning. Jetpack enables you to dance around foes and easily negate their cover by engaging them from high ground (It’s over, Anakin). Weapon modules, shield, and jetpack are upgradable with the resources you get from completing quests and destroying occupier robots, so there’s a close-knit incentive to do everything by the book. There are no shortcuts, improvisations, or alternative strategies here – you must play as the devs intended from start to finish.

Few ups and more downs

Outcast A New Beginning review Dude

Outcast – A New Beginning is a competent game from a technical standpoint but lags massively in the narrative and pacing departments. It looks beautiful, and the combat is OK, but the overabundance of fetching quests and weird world-building drags the whole thing down. Also worth mentioning are the strange production imbalances. On the one hand, there’s a spectacular-looking world with diverse and rich biomes full of detail and verticality. On the other, every Talan has the same mouth and a limited set of facial expressions, with surprise being predominant. It’s pretty banal and you’ll never stop noticing it.

Should you play Outcast – A New Beginning? Long-time fans of the unforgettable original game won’t be easily persuaded to ignore this sequel. But all potential newcomers would be much better off with good old Second Contact, obtainable for a fraction of the price. If you fall in love with Adelpha, you’ll easily pick up the sequel when its price inevitably drops.



  • Combat is pretty solid.
  • Gorgeous visuals, diverse biomes, and a lot of verticality.


  • Tons of nebulous fetch quests and repeating base assaults drag down the experience.
  • The reimagined Talan culture is ridiculous and too-antropomrfized.
  • Weird production disbalances.
Review platform: PC
Developed by: Appeal Studios
Published by: THQ Nordic
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