My experience with Outward essentially unfolded in two distinct acts. In the first, I spent the majority of my time in this open-world fantasy RPG getting killed by nearly every enemy I encountered, running between the only two cities I knew the way to (after getting locked out of a third) to find gear and salvage crafting materials and baubles so I could sell them. I was also contending with bugs and design failures that first caused my co-op partners to abandon me and, at their apex, left me broke, nude, and alone in a snowbank, dying of exposure. Determined to not let Outward beat me, I used the debug menu to break the obnoxious autosave feature to retrieve my stolen gear and money (a last resort when reviewing a game) and set out on the second act, eventually upgrading enough to grind through the aggravating combat and complete the story. It still wasn’t much fun, but after I’d gotten my hands on the kind of material wealth that turned the tide for me, I got a clearer idea of what Outward is supposed to be.