When it first made its debut on PC in 1999 Outcast represented one of the first large open-world games. Where exploration and progression were left up to the player, and figuring out where to go and what was happening wasn't telegraphed with quest markers and GPS tracking. In a welcome move, Outcast: Second Contact introduces new HD visuals whilst retaining the same core gameplay that made Outcast a cult classic.
Quite unlike anything ever seen before it blended a wide-range of technologies to pull off its grand vision of a go anywhere, see anything, and be violent if you want to, approach. Perhaps best known for utilising voxel technology to give its world the sort of detail that just wasn’t possible using standard polygons, Outcast was also ahead of its time when it came to the potential of using both CPU and 3D hardware.
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But as it was released at a time when 3D hardware was advancing and improving every other day, it wasn’t long before the next big thing came and took the spotlight away.
Fast forward to today, and Outcast: Second Contact offers a HD remake in the purest sense of the term. New visuals that offer a marketable improvement over the original? Check. Improvements to the interface and some of the more challenging aspects of the design? Yep. But, outside of the new visual presentation and some minor adjustment this is still Outcast. A title that may have aged as gracefully as any number of early 3D titles from its era, mechanically speaking, but also one that still displays an impressive sense of world building, scope, and character some 18 years later.