Outland (video game)
April 27, 2011
June 14, 2011
Outland is a platform video game developed by Housemarque and published by Ubisoft. The game was first demonstrated at Penny Arcade Expo 2010. It combines two-dimensional platforming with a polarity system similar to Treasure's Ikaruga and Silhouette Mirage. Outland was released in April 27, 2011 for Xbox Live Arcade. The PlayStation 3 version was delayed because of the PlayStation Network outage then later released on June 14, 2011.
In the present day, one man had started to experience dreams and visions of the past. He attempted to take medicine to stop it, thinking that this was a medical problem, but the medicine was ineffective; something larger was at play here. The man decided to find a shaman to find out what the problem was, what these dreams and visions meant, and to cure him of them. However, the shaman told the man of the ancient stories of a battle 30,000 years ago between a great hero and the two Sisters of Chaos - one who controls Light from the Sun, and one who controls Darkness from the Moon. The Sisters were imprisoned after the battle, but the hero had perished in the process. The shaman informed the man that he was the hero's reincarnation, and that the Sisters of Chaos have apparently escaped their imprisonment. This man was now the only one who could stop them, and so he went forth on the journey.
First, the man runs into the Crossroads of the World, which connects to multiple areas. When he arrives, however, he experiences yet another, and the last, vision of the past in the middle of a large shrine. This is perhaps the most vivid of the visions, because even the player gets a chance to control the hero from 30,000 years ago as he makes his way through the destruction of the world to defeat the Sisters. However, the fight itself is not shown, as the vision is terminated at the very moment the fight began, while the narrator tells the result.
Back in the present day, the man makes his way throughout four areas: the Jungle, the Underworld, the City, and the Sky. There are four protectors in the world, one per area, but they have been corrupted by Chaos and are now her minions. Due to this, the man must defeat these protectors as well. There are also many different species of creatures throughout the world, born from Light, Dark, or neutral energies, attempting to block the man's path, assisting the protectors and Chaos.
After the defeat of one protector, a rune, depicting the defeated protector, is activated in the large shrine in the Crossroads of the World, which triggers a short speech from the narrator about that protector and their corruption, as well as the opening of the next area of the world (e.g. defeating the Jungle protector will open the Underworld for exploration). When all four protectors are defeated and four of the five runes activated, the shrine teleports the man to the Temple of Eternity.
The Temple of Eternity is where the Sisters were imprisoned in the battle 30,000 years ago, waiting all this time for their chance to escape and "uncreate" the world. The man must travel throughout the Temple of Eternity, finally ending his journey at one section named the Trail of Tears. Just past the Trail of Tears is a giant ladder, identical to the one the ancient hero had used to fight the Sisters. So the man climbs up the ladder and fights the Sisters in one last battle to save the world.
After winning the battle, the man is ready to deal the final blow and end the Sisters' lives, when suddenly, the Temple of Eternity collapses. The Sisters have never actually seen the world, only that they wanted to destroy it and make it their own. But now, after they see the beauty and tranquility that both time and mankind had created, the Sisters humbly surrendered to the man and retreated back to where they belonged; one Sister to the Sun, one to the Moon. The spirit of the ancient hero from all those years ago then escaped from the man's body, as both the spirit's and the man's work were complete.
Outland is a 2D platformer with action game elements. Gameplay mainly revolves around using Light (blue) and Dark (red) energies, which allows the player to pass through their respective barriers, and attack monsters born of the opposite alignment (e.g. use Light to attack Dark monsters). The game uses an open world structure similar to Super Metroid.
Along the way, players learn special powers from large shrines, from simple melee attacks to the harnessing of Light and Dark energy. Players can also collect hidden objects called "Masks of the Gods" in order to unlock extras such as concept art or enhanced in-game abilities.
Players also have an option to experience the entire storyline online with a friend in co-operative mode. There are also co-op challenges scattered throughout the world that can be unlocked and played when in co-op mode.
In addition to the main storyline, there is an Arcade Mode that puts the player to the test by putting a set time for the player to traverse throughout an entire region and defeat its protector. For example, in the Jungle's Arcade Mode, the player has 15 minutes to travel throughout the entire Jungle and defeat the Golem in the end. The highest scores are posted online on a leaderboard. Flipping a switch, pausing the game, and dying halt the timer. Arcade scores increase with multipliers that drop from enemies, and a bonus is given depending on how much time is left after the protector is defeated. An Arcade chapter for one area is unlocked as soon as the area itself is unlocked.
The game has received positive reviews. Tom Mc Shea of GameSpot awarded the game a 9.0/10 and called it an "expertly crafted platformer." The reviewer praised the game's visual style, music, and co-op." IGN also awarded the game a 9.0 and called it "a hell of a game, and you should play it posthaste." Review aggregator Metacritic currently gives Outland an 83/100 rating for the PS3 and an 84/100 rating for the Xbox 360.
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