by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Feeling of nostalgia
For many gamers who have played RPGs, the early Paper Mario games on the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube hold a special place in their hearts. With a paper aesthetic, charming party members, and attacks that can have boosted power depending on proper timing, this reviewer fondly recalls these games. The Outbound Ghost is a game that brings these memories rushing back- ironic since the game centres quite a bit around your character’s amnesia!
The Outbound Ghost is an appropriate name, as the story centres on the town of Outbound, where all of the inhabitants have become ghosts thanks to what is described by one resident as a serial killer. Many members of the village have passed on already, with no lingering regrets keeping them on the mortal plane, but your nameable protagonist - as well as some others - are left with their regrets. As one character puts it, your character is in a very unfortunate situation since they can't even remember what their regrets might be due to their amnesia. Fittingly, this amnesia actually ties into the battle mechanics of Outbound Ghost.
Figments of Imagination
When encountering enemy spirits that most other characters cannot see, our avatar calls forth Figments of self. Starting only with their loose concept of Regret, as the story progresses they acquire more and more Figments related to emotions and memories. Some are unlocked like Camaraderie after witnessing such a feeling in others, while some Hidden Figments need to be unlocked by interacting with out-of-the-way gravestones and defeating them in an optional boss fight. These Figments all acquire EXP from battles even if they aren't in the main battle party of four, and gamers are encouraged to go all out in battles thanks to several factors. For one, HP and SP are restored at the end of every battle so there's no need to conserve abilities for later fights, and for another if you lose a battle you're given an opportunity to either retry the fight or reload your last save.
Outbound Ghost also has customizable difficulty, effecting enemy encounter rates, EXP gain, and even providing the chance for players to customize and randomize the order that they receive Figments, encouraging replayability and challenge runs in a way that many RPGs do not - thanks to their often linear nature. There are also Aspects that can be equipped- crystals that can be assigned to Figments after being forged that provide them with special effects. Whenever players find recipes for Aspects they are given a choice between two sets of recipes, with the one not selected vanishing. This lends even more to the replayable concept of Outbound Ghost, since gamers may want to try out several different 'loadouts' of Aspects to find those that best suit their preferred playstyle.
The characters in Outbound Ghost are rather charming individuals, even if interactions with them are somewhat limited since they don't participate in battles (stating that most characters can't even see Figments or enemy ghosts), meaning chances for commentary don't come up quite as often as some might like.
Tragically, The Outbound Ghost is not a flawless game. There are notable load times throughout, and frames can drop pretty heavily when entering or exiting areas and battles. Along with the load times, there are occasional difficulty spikes as you explore Outbound where a wandering MOB will do a devastating amount of damage or fight with surprising intellect, causing players to need awareness of their strategies even in field battles that aren't bosses. However, The Outbound Ghost is a game that does its best to capture the charming artistic style of Paper Mario, telling a surprisingly compelling tale of regrets and having very fun combat along the way that lends itself to a lot of replayability to try out new strategies or challenge yourself as a player! This reviewer certainly plans on spending a lot of time in Outbound, and recommends that any RPG lovers give this one a look!
As always, follow us on Instagram for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.
Engaging Combat, Replayability, Charming Art Style
Long Loadtimes, Dropping Frames, Difficulty Spikes