The Outer Worlds: Spacer's Choice Edition (PS5)

The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition Fixes the Original’s Biggest Problem

The Outer Worlds had a wonderfully well-realized world with a modest scope that allowed developer Obsidian Entertainment to focus on quality over quantity. Its dystopian worlds ruined by the latest stages of capitalism were rife with clever jokes and all sorts of nooks and crannies for players to pilfer through. But its console versions were severely diminished by frequent, lengthy load times that artificially elongated that process and dragged it down. The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition, an improved version of the original, thankfully addresses that one annoying shortcoming, even if it isn’t the most substantial remaster otherwise.

The Outer Worlds has open areas, but it’s not an open-world game. This delineation means that it isn’t one contiguous space since it takes place on many different planets with many different hubs. Planet hopping and moving between sections gives The Outer Worlds a lot of visual variety, but also means that the game is seemingly always loading something.

These transitions were simply intrusive, long, and far too prevalent. Loading a new area on the last generation of consoles almost always took upwards of 30 seconds and this made travel painful since it consistently took away from its immersive world. Obsidian crammed this new universe with so much life, yet that immersion was constantly being broken with static loading screens that lingered for too long. Not even the intricately detailed art that adorned them made them tolerable. 

Spacer’s Choice Edition dramatically cuts down on those screens, leading to a more evenly paced experience with significantly fewer jarring interruptions. Many sections that previously took 30 seconds or more to load now only take around four or five seconds to boot; there’s not even enough time to get bored enough to glance at a second screen. Loads rarely go for more than five seconds and almost never more than 10 in the most extreme situations, making even the lengthiest loads here a far cry from the fastest boot times in the 2019 release. There are still loading screens and it would be better if traversal in a single planet was seamless, but this is such a remarkable step up.

Spacer’s Choice Edition contains other technical enhancements, too, but they don’t have quite the same impact. Many of the new visual changes only become more noticeable if the two versions are compared side-by-side, as the new particle physics and updated weather models are a little more understated.

Lighting, however, is more vibrant, as demonstrated by its many neon signs and sun-soaked vistas that more dramatically light the surrounding areas. The level of detail has also been dialed up, as many objects look better when farther away, leading to richer environments. The Outer Worlds was never a technical showpiece and still isn’t even with these advancements, but they do make the game look sharper and a little more modern.

The tweaks to the frame rate are probably the weakest part of the package, as it looks a bit choppy on both new graphical modes. Strangely, the last-gen version running in backward compatibility mode seems to run more smoothly since Obsidian released a patch in March 2021 that boosted its performance on Xbox Series X and PS5. The team also claims that there are some non-cosmetic upgrades like improved A.I. and better animations, but the most obvious change is the Spacer’s Choice mascot guy on The Groundbreaker now flaps his robotic lips when he talks, which is clearly a monumental shift.

The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition‘s bevy of updates that subtly augment the experience still don’t collectively stack up to how important the faster load times are. Not having to wait around nearly as much streamlines the game and puts way fewer interruptions between the player and Obsidian’s elaborately layered worldbuilding, witty dialogue, and flexible combat. The snappier load times and other enhancements ensure that the original is not the best choice; it’s Spacer’s Choice.

Disclosure: The publisher provided a PlayStation 5 copy for our The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition feature. Played on version 1.002.000.


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