Outpost: Infinity Siege Review – Towering Dread

Team Ranger's tower defense/shooter hybrid dilutes its potential with unnecessary elements, a terrible plot and other issues.

Posted By | On 01st, Apr. 2024

Outpost: Infinity Siege Review – Towering Dread

When you talk about genres that haven’t seen much love or notable releases over the past decade or two, the tower defense meets first-person/third-person genre is certainly up there. It’s a genre popularized by Orcs Must Die! and the Sanctum series, each franchise offering a stellar fusion of action with boots-on-the-ground tower-building and wave clearing. Outpost: Infinity Siege from Team Ranger portends to that, somewhat, but throws in a bunch of other mechanics, ending up as somewhat of a mess overall.

There’s some tower defense comfort. However, it’s sandwiched between layers of uninspired story-telling and extraction shooter-like resource gathering. Throw in some rogue-like elements and base-building, just because, coupled with lots of crashes.

"The spectacle is hard to deny, as you activate turrets, pour bullet after bullet into the swarm and even hop into a mech to dish out punishment. Unfortunately, it’s even further downhill from here."

Set in the future where machines called the Mechanos have gained sentience under a singular AI and declared war against humanity, you play as a fairly forgettable rote protagonist. You’re part of the Starfall Project, chatting it up with your Commanding Officer, Levi Lau when suddenly, the base is attacked by the Mechanos. After taking down waves of enemies, you’re overrun by a drone swarm dubbed Crius before the Anti-Earthbound Tyrranos Orbital System, or AETOS, brings its full might down.

It’s a heroic last-stand mission which feels completely unearned since you know none of these characters or had time to sympathize with them. Nevertheless, the spectacle is hard to deny, as you activate turrets, pour bullet after bullet into the swarm (clearly “inspired” by the Matrix Revolutions) and even hop into a mech to dish out punishment. Unfortunately, it’s even further downhill from here.

Several months later, you’re now in control of Fae, a recently promoted Commander who gets his own Outpost, touted as fully modular. The player can add walls and other defensive structures on the fly, including turrets and ammo crafters. At some point, a mysterious AI – later dubbed Juliette – joins forces with Fae, allowing him to commandeer some nearby mortars before never doing much of anything until the plot calls for it. And when the plot does, it suffers in an embarrassing fashion.

However, you’re not playing tower defense all of the time. When embarking on tours, you have a tactical map of branching paths. Each has different power requirements and resources to gather – some allow for exploring freely while others task you with finding specific items and extracting them via the Outpost’s core tower.

outpost infinity siege

"However, you’re not playing tower defense all of the time. When embarking on tours, you have a tactical map of branching paths."

The result is you’re tossed into these generic, barren-looking stages to hunt for materials, difficult to distinguish without an area scan (which only lasts for a short time). A few Mechanos are roaming around, and their AI is horrendous to the point that it feels like shooting fish in a barrel, except even the other fish would react to the gunshots.

As you explore different buildings, some of which are recycled, like the tower with the massive gun turrets you can control despite the lack of many threats, there are consumables, materials, and what not to collect. Some are empty or feel unrewarding, making those lockpicks you spent feel like a waste. Others require finding keycards or power banks to open doors, which gets boring on the second run-through.

Along with attachments like scopes, stocks and whatnot, you get an XEN mod to modify your singular gun. On the surface, this is cool since it fits the whole “modular construction” theme, but the perks aren’t all that interesting, even with the addition of Pyro ammo later on. While changing your gun to fire explosive projectiles instead of bullets sounds cool, each shot has its own cooldown. Also, you can’t remove mods once they’re installed, so if that sounds terrible and completely contradicts that one ability to fire bullets endlessly for a brief period, tough luck.

Once you’ve spent enough time gathering resources, it’s time to extract. I mean, extract from the entire map, separate from all the extraction done thus far. You have about 100 seconds to set up your defenses and turrets – with no option to skip the preparation phase – as the Mechanos will try to assault you in waves. Depending on the exploration and missions completed in earlier map nodes, you gain benefits like more materials, damage, free turrets and guardian buddies, and more for the final mission. While skipping over all these is an option, you might get overwhelmed with the final extraction mission.

outpost infinity siege

"One of the bigger issues revolves around ammo management since your ammo crafters can only create one box at a time before going on cooldown for several seconds."

There are some free towers on the field, and thankfully, the Mechanos pose somewhat of a threat when given direction i.e. towards your base. It can be a little easy on Difficulty 1 and 2 in the starting tours, but Difficulty 3 kicks things up and poses a challenge, especially when armored tanks with mortars and hulking melee Mechanos jump into the fray. One of the bigger issues revolves around ammo management since your ammo crafters can only create one box at a time before going on cooldown for several seconds.

Since you need to reload turrets manually, it gets annoying to manage even if you have a few boxes on standby beforehand. Your own shots consume about six ammo, which drains them quickly. It’s probably meant to encourage relying on your turrets, but feels ridiculous all the same, especially when the shooting is tight and on-point throughout.

Once you successfully extract everything, you earn Tech Points to spend on research and Gold to buy materials and other consumables. The progression feels slow – you’ll be rocking the same piddly turrets a few hours in and only have enough materials to craft a few to attach to your Outpost when it lands. Tech Points feel like they’re hard to come by, making the slog to higher research tiers much more annoying.

It also doesn’t help that failing an extraction means losing everything, including all those resources you spent time gathering. Maybe this is meant to feel more realistic, like Escape from Tarkov, but while it’s in keeping with tower defense titles where you start from scratch, also losing your weapons, armor and backpack items feels lame.

outpost infinity siege

"If you want to experience tower defense/action goodness, Sanctum 2 and Orcs Must Die! 2 are still the way to go."

The pace of the campaign also doesn’t help, as you revisit the same areas again and again in Tour Mode or embark on more linear story-driven missions with uninspired objectives. The former wouldn’t be so bad if the tactical map didn’t crash continuously. Simply opening it or choosing a node would prompt a crash. Have fun watching the unskippable intro again as you load back in, with the game mercifully saving your progress so you can resume from the same spot (and probably crash again).

The aesthetic isn’t necessarily inspired, but it’s not terrible, even if it can look unattractive with odd shimmering on lower-end rigs. At least, it’s better than the voice acting or the repetitive music. I didn’t venture into co-op, but based on complaints that progression and items aren’t shared among all players, it doesn’t sound worth it.

Outpost: Infinity Siege could have been an enjoyable title if it streamlined the tower defense aspect instead of needlessly tacking on extraction shooter mechanics or the tactical map, lightened up on the ammo economy and allowed players quicker access to its cooler toys. Creating killboxes and piloting mechs sounds enticing – it just needs a better overall structure, a lot less of its cheesy story-telling and much more technical polish. If you want to experience tower defense/action goodness, Sanctum 2 and Orcs Must Die! 2 are still the way to go. Even if the $24.99 price looks attractive, Outpost needs a lot more time and polish.

This game was reviewed on PC.


THE GOOD

Solid gunplay with some interesting customization. Gorgeous visuals.

THE BAD

The aesthetic feels bland and uninspired, and the storytelling is horrendous, to say nothing of the terrible voice acting and forgettable characters. Tower defense and shooting hampered by rogue-like Tours and tedious extraction elements. Terrible AI and lackluster map designs. Slow progression that does nothing but gate-keep from some of the cooler toys.

Final Verdict:
BAD
Despite its laughable plot, Outpost: Infinity Siege starts with some potential. Unfortunately, the tedious rogue-like elements, extraction shooter resource gathering and other questionable design choices dilute the experience.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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