January 18, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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Outriders wins the I Don’t Remember This Game at All Award for 2021


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With so many games that came out in 2021, it’s natural that some won’t be as memorable as others. But this year, one game has the dubious honor of being the most unmemorable game I’ve played in 2021. That game is Outriders.

In case you’ve forgotten, Outriders was released earlier this year — in April to be specific. I put several hours into Outriders when it first launched — for equal parts professional and personal reasons. I had to review the game for Android Central, for which I wrote at the time. And I was looking forward to it. It seemed like it had the capacity to be something interesting, and its Mass Effect Andromeda-meets-Destiny story hook caught me, I admit. I even thought the gameplay sounded cool.

A couple dozen hours later, I put the controller down, wrote the review, and went on with my life. Then, about a week ago, I put together a list of my games that I played/enjoyed this year. I scrolled down the list of 2021 releases, came across Outriders, and immediately had to stop to confront the massive blank spot in my memory. Honestly, I felt like I was missing time trying to recall this game. I can’t remember anything about Outriders, either in terms of gameplay or in terms of feelings it evoked in me. It’s bizarre.

I think that’s interesting in and of itself. How does a game manage the feat of being so unremarkable that no part of it stuck in my head? Even games that I hated were games that I remembered — I wouldn’t spit on 12 Minutes were it on fire in front of me, but I at least remembered why I disliked it. Reading my own review of Outriders is a surreal experience — in part because I feel like I’m reading about someone else’s gameplay experience, and in part because I called the game unmemorable in the review.

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Looking around the internet, it seems the game still has a decently sized following. I hold no ill will towards the game or its developers. I genuinely hope the players are enjoying it, and that they get more out of the game than I did. Maybe, just for fun, I’ll go back and give the game a second look, just to see how I feel about it given time and distance.

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