Outcast: A New Beginning

Posted:  Apr 07, 2024
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Outcast: A New Beginning was provided by THQ Nordic for review. Thank you!

This game was tested with a Steam Deck LCD. OLED testing is coming soon.

I had pretty low expectations for Outcast: A New Beginning when first setting out. Having covered the game and keeping an eye on it pre-release, I wasn't sure how the quality of the game would hold up. It seemed like an arcadey shooter that would fail to hold up to its promises, with weak combat and grating dialogue. Having played the game and giving it a fair shot, I think I was both right and wrong about it.

Outcast: A New Beginning takes place in a fairly large open world, which you mainly traverse with your trusty Jetpack!

Let's cover the basics of the game, movement, and combat. The movement feels quite nice. Your character is maneuverable and gains more maneuverability as you play through the start of the game, gaining a jetpack, which lets you jump higher and dodge, both adding a new dimension to your movement. The jetpack is also upgradable, allowing even more flexibility. While I did find it somewhat difficult to control at times, I think that's more down to how the game runs on the Steam Deck, but more on that later.

There are "gates" scattered throughout the game world, which act as fast travel points. They require you to complete certain objectives to unlock them though!

The combat of the game is more satisfying than I expected. When looking at the trailers for the game, it seemed as though firing a weapon would feel weak and offer little feedback, whereas the opposite is true. Although there's a pretty hefty auto-aim in the game, lining up your shots and ensuring your hit is vital. Headshots do count here, and enemies die in a few shots, provided you've got the right equipment for the job. I am happy that enemies aren't bullet sponges.

The combat in the game is a highlight for me, although it was difficult given the input lag I experienced.

In terms of visuals, the world of Outcast: A New Beginning is quite beautiful, and largely based in forested areas with plenty of foliage and dense tree cover. The game makes use of this to create subtle lighting effects of dappled shade. Other areas in the game are more open, however, such as grassy plains, beaches, and some mountainous areas. Regardless of where you are, there are probably lots of trees or lots of grass. The downside of all this foliage, however, is performance. The trees cast shadows, and a lot of the foliage is interactable, too, moving when the player character gets near; all of this undoubtedly has a toll on the game's performance.

While I don't feel that Outcast breaks any new boundaries in terms of graphical fidelity, I do feel that the choice of location/environment greatly helps Outcast look its best, even on low settings.

When it comes to character visuals and design, there's nothing too much to complain about here. The animations and visuals do the job they have to do, although I will say that at times, the player character's animations do look a little stiff and stilted. Jumping while standing still looks a bit... odd to me.

The game world is quite beautiful, but character animations and details can be a little lacking sometimes.

In addition to satisfying combat and a beautiful game world, Outcast also has an upgrade system in place, where you can use resources found in the game world to upgrade your weapons, equipment, and jetpack. Weapons, for example, can have modules fitted to them, and your jetpack and general combat skills can be upgraded by finding resources/crystals in the game world and collecting them. This helps to keep the game from becoming monotonous. You're always on the lookout for those crafting and upgrading resources so you can better yourself. As it happens, the guns in the game also use certain crystals as ammunition, so it's good to keep scanning so you can find any that are nearby.

In terms of storyline, Outcast: A New Beginning has a reasonable story that punctuates gameplay with cutscenes from time to time. It is technically a sequel to the original Outcast game, but at the same time, a reboot. I wouldn't say you need to be familiar with the original to enjoy this game's story. Long story short, you are resurrected back to life on the planet you originally visited in the first game. However, much has changed, and a robot army is invading Adelpha, a planet of the mostly peaceful Talan race. In the original game, you were hailed as a "Messiah," so you again take up the mantle to protect the Talan race from the robot invaders and find out who is behind this invasion.

You aren't just doing this for the Talans' sake, though, and you are in danger of running into more cliches. You also have amnesia. You get glimpses into your past as you play through the game, which is centered on you and your family relationships. Your main aim is to help the Talans, with the belief that this will help you return to Earth and find out what happened with your family.

The dialogue can be a little grating, and Cutter Slade (the player character) is a little irksome at times. I think the game tries to pass it off as him being dead for a while, so his vocabulary is a little dated, making him an "old-school Navy SEAL," but I could have done without it.

But now we get onto the real killer: performance on the Steam Deck.

Outcast: A New Beginning - Steam Deck Performance

When booting Outcast: A New Beginning, you'll be asked if you want to boot in DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 modes. Make sure you pick DirectX12, as in my testing, DX12 tended to offer about a 3-5 FPS performance improvement depending on where you are in the game.

The game does get some basics right. It supports 16:10 resolutions and has pretty solid controller support, covering both the menus and the gameplay. However, the occasional menu is still controlled via a gamepad-controlled mouse cursor, which is very odd and does actually cause some issues.

Shockingly, the game has no upscaling support, there's no integration of FSR, XeSS, or even DLSS here, very strange for a fairly demanding title in 2024. Because of this, we'll need to use the FSR1 built into the Steam Deck when setting up our Deck for the game.

There's also no support for going below 720p when using the in-game resolution selector, so we'll need to force a lower game resolution in the Steam Game Properties.

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS (Target)

In the Game Properties, force a Game Resolution of 800x500. Please note that forcing this resolution does cause some oddities, such as the cursor not reaching the whole screen. This doesn't matter for most menus, as they use the gamepad for controls, but a couple of menus use a gamepad-controlled cursor, and these menus do not work if we force the resolution this low.

In your SteamOS settings, set a 60 FPS/ 60Hz limit and your TDP limit to 15W or Off. Make sure your scaling filter is set to FSR and the FSR Sharpness is set to 5.

In the in-game graphics settings, you can go ahead and select the "Low" Preset. This sets everything as low as it can go, and that's what we'll need. You'll also want to set the "Max FPS" to "30." We're using the in-game FPS cap rather than the Steam Deck's, as it introduces less input lag, and we need to minimize that as much as possible.

Using these settings, we can hit 30 FPS at points in the game, often in the open plains or when overlooking a vista. Unfortunately, a lot of the game takes place in dense forests or places with lots of close vegetation, and in these places, the game will typically run around the mid-20s in FPS. Any areas with a great deal of NPCs, such as villages, will also tend to run closer to 20 than 30 as the CPU starts to take more power away from the GPU.

As you can see from the screenshots above, the game is both CPU and GPU-bound, which results in the game almost never achieving a fully stable 30 FPS, regardless of where you are. The game heavily leans on single-thread performance, a weak point of the Steam Deck. Often, one of the threads is almost locked to 100% load.

Unfortunately, these low frame rates introduce some input lag, which can make the game's combat a little difficult. The low frame rate can easily cause you to miss shots or overreact to movement, not to mention making combat difficult in the first place.

Outcast maxes out the Steam Deck, even in menus, so battery drain is around 25-26W the entire time, which puts your expected battery life at around 80-90 minutes at best. Temperatures can vary, but generally expect 80-90C, with the CPU being more towards the higher end and GPU towards the lower end of that range. In short, your Deck will get hot.


There isn't too much accessibility in Outcast: A New Beginning. You can have subtitles, although they are a little difficult to read, given the low resolution we need to use on the Steam Deck. You can also change the basics like sensitivity and FoV, as well as the contrast/brightness and re-bindable keys. Sadly, there's no UI scaling, which could have benefitted the Steam Deck or other handhelds. There is, however, a filter for different types of colorblindness. Presumably, this would alter things like blips on the minimap and icons for resources to be different colors.


I think Outcast: A New Beginning is an enjoyable game at its heart, far more enjoyable than I first thought when I was watching the trailers for the game. However, the Steam Deck isn't the place to enjoy this game.

If you have a decent gaming PC, laptop, or maybe even a higher-end handheld running an AMD 7840U or 8840U, I think Outcast: A New Beginning could be a great third-person Shooter with RPG elements. It's not a game to be taken too seriously, but to pick up and play in 30-minute stints, I think the game has the potential to be a good bit of fun. The upgrades keep things fresh, and the game world is large, but there's usually something to do, so it doesn't feel sparse or empty.

All-in-all, I would recommend the game itself, as long as it's played on the right hardware.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Outcast: A New Beginning has a fair amount of fun to offer, unfortunately, it just doesn't run well enough on the Steam Deck.


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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