Exile on game street: Outcas't

If you believe a tenth of the hype, 25 June will be a landmark date in the history of computer games. Decades from now you'll be bobbing your grandson on your knee, telling him of the glorious day that the great lnfogrames bestowed their blessed gift upon the waiting public. It was called Outcast and, yea, it was good.

At first glance there would seem to be nothing spectacular about Outcast: another third-person action adventure with a lone hero wandering some fantastical landscape in search of that essential item allowing access to the next, even more challenging, ordeal. In this case you assume the role of Cutter Slade, an ex-Navy Seal, who travels through a black hole to a parallel world called Adelphi. This planet and the Earth are on a collision course, and it‘s your job to save the day.

However, scratch the surface and Outcast does indeed appear to be a break from the norm. To start with, the entire ecosystems of Adelphi‘s six continents are run by GAIA, a frighteningly clever Artificial Intelligence system with every action Cutter takes affecting the world as a whole. The planet's society and ecology must be studied to find the best solutions to your problems and, with over 70 sub-quests to puzzle through, learning how to interact with Adelphi's inhabitants will be paramount. If this works successfully it will add an interesting role playing element to the game.

The graphics of Outcast have also caused a bit of a stir. They utilise voxels rather than polygons and if you are wondering what they are, form a queue. What matters is that the game will run easily on lower end machines, 30 graphics cards being rendered useless, and if the rolling demo is anything to go by, Adelphi has been beautifully realised.

Voted ’Best Game of the Show' at industry trade fair E3 two years running, Outcast could well be something a bit special. However, whether it becomes 'a benchmark in video-game history’ we shall have to wait and see. (Iain Davidson)

Outtast rs released on lnfr'ogrames on F1725 Jun, {39 99


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