So, I tried out...Outward (Epic Game Store version).
Here's some thoughts on this RPG/survival-game hybrid.
Outward is basically a Frankenstein monster of these titles and game styles: Gothic series, Dark Souls series, and survival games.
Starting From Scratch.
Outward is notoriously difficult. You start the game, as a scrub/ordinary guy...who wakes up on a shore after a shipwreck. You try to survive after this mess, eventually wake up, and then have 5 days to pay off a debt (of 150 coins). If you don't do so, you could lose the lighthouse/house/place to store my stuff and sleep. And given that this game is also a survival game - yeah, you might not want to lose the lighthouse.
But chances are...well, at least on your first play-through - yeah, you probably will...lose the lighthouse. Hell, I know I did. The game doesn't by any means teach you much, hold your hand, or anything of that sort in-game. (Side note: There is a separate tutorial, but I didn't take it on). You will learn...by playing & getting knocked-out (i.e. the way game deals with "death", before you "resurrect" somewhere).
And when you get knocked-out - you lose sleep, time, and then wind-up awakening...somewhere. Could depend on who (or what) knocks you out, robs you, attacks you, finds you, what locations you're near, random, and/or whatever. You could wind-up back at an Inn; you could wind-up as a prisoner in a prison and need to escape; you could be saved by someone in the wilderness at a camp or campfire. You might have your belongings. You might not. Who knows, though...as you can shrug your shoulders.
Combat & Questing.
Combat's fine, control-wise. It's similar to Gothic games, Risen series & ELEX in how it actually handles - locking onto enemies, attacking them, that you don't waste attacks b/c you can tire yourself out, and/or things of that sort. While it does feel looser than Piranha Bytes' games and not as good as Dark Souls' games - it's still solid. Combat really matters here, though - as it can lead to you being knocked-out...for a bit.
If this all isn't enough, you have to deal w/ taking quests on. You can take on quests & make decisions - you know, the typical RPG stuff. But what makes this interesting is the extra survival elements and difficulty of the game. Adventuring into the game-world and the wilds of this world - where there are bandits, robbers, monsters, and anything else you can think of - isn't for the faint. There are plenty of things to do and a good amount of places to see - caves, dungeons, towns/cities, hubs, etc. But, you not only have deal w/ the world, but the also the survival aspects of the game.
Survival Of The Fittest.
You will have to get food, cook it, not let any bags you carry get damaged (or its contents of what you put in there get damaged), get water, drink water, sleep, rest - or do anything necessary to survive. Your weight (for what you wear & carry) actually matters, as...well, you could move, attack and/or even roll slower, if you more in your Inventory. Have less in your Inventory...and you'll be faster when moving around. You do not want to run all the time, or you'll tire yourself out. You will need to eat...or you could get a penalty and lose health. You can get sick, if you don't cook food...or do that even right.
You get one save-slot per a character play-through. The game will auto-save will over-write its own save-slot, after something happens to your character. You are going to have to live with your decisions, wins, failures, progress, and/or whatever...whether you like it or not.
Performance & Graphics.
Just like the game being brutal, so is performance...which certainly isn't ideal. On my SC15 laptop (i7 7700HQ; 16 GB RAM; 6GB GTX 1060), at 1080p with High settings and a FPS cap of 50 (to keep it to stop from bouncing around framerates) - it just isn't the best looking game. While there's lots of details, items, and textures - this still looks like a game from the Gothic 2 era of games...but with much better lighting technology that can be used. If that isn't enough, it's eating VRAM for breakfast (easily over 3.5 GB of VRAM) at Medium or higher settings. On my desktop (i7 950; 16 GB RAM; GTX 970), I had to cap it to 40fps at 1080p with Medium settings just to keep its framerate actually a bit more stable.
If this sounds like the deck of cards is stacked way against you in this game called Outward...well, you're right. If you want a really difficult & challenging RPG/survival hybrid of a game - well, then there's plenty of reason to pick this very difficult title. If you thought Dark Souls was brutal - well, if this opening hour is any indication and it stays as difficult & as brutal as this from start-to-finish, the very brutal Dark Souls might be tame next to this game (Outward).
Given what I've said about Outward: this game might not be for everyone.
But, even still as terrible as I am at games like Dark Souls and Outward...there's just something about this brutally difficult game. This all makes me want to play Outward...MORE.
Well...at least for now, anyways.