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Outriders: Hands-on with the Technomancer class

Square Enix and People Can Fly have revealed Outriders' fourth class and Shacknews had a chance to go hands-on with the Technomancer.

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Earlier this year, back in the "Before Times" before the world went to Hell in a handbasket, Shacknews got to check out the latest project from Square Enix and the folks at People Can Fly. It's the first major project from the Painkiller creators since branching off from Epic Games. Shacknews was impressed by the three-person co-op RPG shooting action, where we got to explore the world, put breathtaking abilities to work, and take on powerful bosses. We got to see three of the game's classes that day, but the fourth was shrouded in mystery. That fourth class has now been revealed as the Technomancer.

Revealed during Tuesday's Outriders Broadcast 3, the Technomancer marks the game's fourth and final class. While the Trickster works with temporal-based powers, the Pyromancer dabbles in fire, and the Devastator acts as the tank, the Technomancer is focused more on crowd control. That crowd control comes through heavy weapons and munitions that can be manifest out of thin air.

Shacknews had an opportunity to try out the Technomancer, as we were given a Level 30 character with an Epic loadout of gear and weapons. While we were primarily working with an assault rifle to try and control the growing number of enemies, the main draw for us was the Technomancer's various class powers. It should be noted that the Technomancer is the only class in Outriders who can heal allies with class powers, which makes it an invaluable asset in battle. The Technomancer's other main trait is the ability to wear down enemies over time. For our playthrough, we focused on the deployable (and in our case, very much throwable) Blighted Turret, which fires off poison rounds at approaching foes. Any hostiles caught by the turret rounds would be poisoned over time, severely cutting into their health. It was a significantly different style from what we played of the other Outriders classes and it'll be interesting to see how they all work together.

Here are the Technomancer's class skills:

  • Scrapnel: Throw a promixity mine, while deals heavy damage and Interrupts enemy skills when it explodes.
  • Cryo Turret: This is an automated turret that will deal out damage and also Freeze targets. While the turret's health will deplete over time, you can knock the cooldown on this to a point that you can deploy new turrets frequently.
  • Pain Launcher: Deploy a missile launcher and fire on a targeted area. This will heavily damage any target, as well as Interrupt any enemy skills.
  • Blighted Rounds: Your current weapon will fire off Toxic rounds. Enemies within a short range will be poisoned.
  • Tool of Destruction: This equips a rocket launcher that inflicts heavy damage and also Interrupts enemy skills. You can hold the skill button down and switch this to a minigun.
  • Fixing Wave: This is an instantaneous healing skill. It will heal yourself, any nearby allies, and also any of your turrets, regardless of distance.
  • Cold Snap: This will drop a gadget that Freezes all enemies around you for a short period.
  • Blighted Turret: This is an automated turret that will deal out damage and also inflict Toxic. While the turret's health will deplete over the time, you can knock the cooldown on this to a point that you can deploy new turrets frequently.

Enoch remains a world that begs to be explored, just as it was during our last hands-on preview. While we didn't get to explore in our customized vehicle this time around, we did get to check out new landscapes like The Wreckage Zone, Deadrock Pass, and Trench Town. There were also several side missions we could access, but we honestly had our hands full with the main quest line. That's because the enemy AI in Outriders is downright fearsome. While it's possible to try and fight foes from a distance using class abilities or sniper rifles, the different enemy types will eventually get wise to your presence. Berserkers will quickly arrive and try to overwhelm you by simply rushing your face, while dozens of reinforcements will come in and try to overwhelm your team with sheer numbers. If that's not enough, the enemies will eventually learn to fight smarter and will even attempt to flank your squad from behind.

Last time we tried out Outriders, our three-person team got crushed by an extremely powerful boss. We shouldn't have expected the bosses to get any easier, because the next boss was just as relentless. This one was a brutal tank, able to withstand ridiculous amounts of punishment. It eventually forced us to fall back, but the boss was ready for this, too. It teleported behind us and quickly cut us all down in short order. Bosses in Outriders are no joke and it will take a lot of teamwork to take them out.

One item revealed during today's Broadcast 3 event that we didn't get to play with during our time with Outriders was the new crafting system. Yes, we probably could have reduced the hurt inflicted on us if we had improved our weaponry a tad. Zahedi can assist players with boosting up their weapon's stats, as well as increasing the rarity of their gear. So yes, it's possible to upgrade a piece of gear to Rare, Epic, or beyond.

Our impression of Outriders is that, on the surface, it does look to be another otherwordly co-op shooter in the vein of Destiny. But remember from our preview, that's not what People Can Fly is making. They have repeatedly insisted that this is a full self-contained story and that the full experience is in the box, meaning no loot boxes or pay-to-win items. So right now, this is feeling a lot like Destiny without the "games as a service" elements that make it... well... Destiny.

With all four classes unveiled, Outriders is ready to venture into the busy holiday season. It's still in line to release in Holiday 2020 on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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