Outer Wilds is a great sci-fi game. DLC Echoes of the Eye proved it

Wake up, take a deep breath. Rub all four eyes.

This time it almost worked out.

Explosion overhead again. First, try to remember in which direction the probe will fly, and then wave your hand – now another riddle is important.

Run into the elevator without saying goodbye. There will be many more attempts, but he still won’t remember. Almost nobody remembers.

From the summer, jump into the ship, put on a spacesuit, start the engines. There is not a second to waste! The course is set. It may seem to my comrades from Kamleika that I have lost my mind: I am flying somewhere into the void of space. The flight eats up half a minute, but even during this time I manage to notice a couple of extinguished stars. Everything dies, even the stars. Our star will soon die.

At the end of September, Echoes of the Eye was released, a story expansion for the Outer Wilds video game. At one time, the “World of Fantasy” did not devote a separate review to the game (shame!). Why, the game did not find a place in the top 20 for the year (shame!), Although, in my opinion, it could easily have competed for the first place. The release of the expected DLC is a great reason to restore justice. Frankly, this desire has been boiling in me since the spring, when I first passed the Outer Wilds – it struck me like no other game.

Perhaps this is a long enough time to talk about the game and the add-on already with spoilers. In the main text, the spoilers will be moderate, but in the final part, where I think about the ending, they are downright critical.

The original Outer Wilds

You probably can’t wait to accuse me of a flashy headline and a graphomaniac introduction (the second claim is fairer). Take your time, I’ll explain everything. But first, let me say a few words about the Outer Wilds itself, which many often confuse with the role-playing game The Outer Worlds from Obsidian.

Wilds is an adventure simulation set in a small open world. Rather, in an open planetary system. The player takes on the role of a Camelina space traveler. In this system, several bizarre planets revolve around the local sun, on which traces of an ancient civilization of aliens that call themselves Noma can be found. Study – do not re-study! The problem is that in 22 minutes the said sun will explode, turning into dust the Tamilians and their native system. But there is good news too! At the very beginning, the hero falls into a time loop, and now he has a lot of time to figure everything out – but every 22 minutes you have to start over.

Flying, exploring, riddles, looping – that’s all well and good, but we’ve seen these elements in other games as well. Why do I call Outer Wilds the greatest SF game? Let’s go in order.

Authors created a working model at scale

We are used to the fact that space is an incredibly huge space. In science fiction, this problem is usually solved with the help of super technologies like special engines or superluminal jumps (when it comes to travel to different planetary systems). Even in Space, travel through the system takes weeks, although there ships are equipped with advanced engines.

In Outer Wilds, the authors simply zoomed out. The local planets seem to have come out of the “Little Prince” – you can fly from one to the other in a minute, and in a couple of minutes you can actually walk around the planet along the equator (with the help of a jetpack, you can even faster).

It would seem that this approach should completely break our ideas about space. But everything is subordinated to this scale! The planets revolve around the axis and in their orbits at given periods, gravity works exactly as expected (besides, it is different on different planets).

The ship of the protagonist also fits into the model, which obeys the completely understandable laws of celestial mechanics with all its accelerations, decelerations and other elements, such as the ratio of the speeds of two objects in space. The game mechanics turned out to be quite simple at the same time (there are no complex subsystems in it, there is no need to take into account a ton of nuances as in the Karbala Space Program), but at the same time, you can do amazing things within its framework – for example, try to land on the fast and deadly Solar Station (seems impracticable? – ha, for this they give a separate achievement!). Where’s the docking in Interstellar!

The model honestly, in its scale, also calculates all sorts of little things that are not visible at first glance. For example, a jetpack that obeys all the same rules of celestial mechanics. Or a comet, the ice on which melts as it approaches the star (and grows when the comet flies away from the star). Or huge tornadoes capable of throwing any object that falls into them into orbit.