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PSN Review – Go Outside and Live Your Life

April 24, 2011 Written by Heath Hindman

As you’ve surely read by now, the PSN is down and no one knows how long the outages will last. Fortunately, the PS3 and PSP do feature some games that can be played offline with surprising amounts of fun. One that I have been taking advantage of has been Go Outside and Live Your Life.

Developed by Maybe-God-Maybe-Not Software, GOaLYL is brilliantly put together from start to finish. It’s brutally challenging at times, but the payoff can also be really huge, and the level of detail and customization that went into this make sure that hardly any two playthroughs will be exactly the same, despite some similarities. The game is region free, but it will be heavily localized from region to region, featuring edits to obvious things like the main language, but also details such as the architecture, climate, as even laws of the land. For example, one must wait 19 years in order to consume certain beverages in some countries, but 21 in others, and characters in other countries still can use that same item only 12 years into the game.

Graphics in Go Outside are brilliant and lifelike, and feature full 3D in the highest resolution I’ve ever seen. The world is full of bright colors as well as nice earth tones, in amazing balance. However, your ability to enjoy these graphics depends on the quality of one piece of the character’s equipment, of which you’re just dealt at the start. These “eyes” degrade at random rates, which almost seems unfair. I did not like having to walk around with a cumbersome, expensive accessory for a decade, and then pay thousand of gold for an operation to fix mine while most people I knew could enjoy the visuals with no help. The music in GoaLYL varies from grating to pure bliss. As time goes on, you can eventually pick up a variety of devices that can replay the game’s best tracks at will, which is pretty great; more games need this. A lot of instances do not have pre-programmed music, so these devices are must-haves for long term players.

The towns and cities are full of life, with NPCs moving about, all of them having something different to say, though most won’t talk to you at all if they don’t have reason to. My character in GOaLYL ended up being a male in a country that apparently has some sort of epic war to break off from some other country centuries ago. You don’t start out by seeing this info first-hand, just hear about it. Those really into the game’s lore can read about it though, as the game includes an extensive library and even video reenactments and descriptions of their county’s history. Players in the most popular regions will even have to pass tests about their home country. Fortunately, they only matter in the early stages of the game.

Go Outside has a realistic day/night cycle that I find very cool. On average, about 50% of a given “day” will be lit up by a giant ball in the sky, and the other half will be pretty dark, requiring the player to use an equipped item to see properly. Vehicles are available and most of them come with such illuminating items built in, but they’re mighty expensive and you’ll need to earn a license before you can use one — this could take anywhere from 15 to 20 in-game years from starting a New Game, which I found frustrating, despite the advice of NPCs telling me it was for my own safety. I saw no evidence of that at the time.

Perhaps a delight to visual novel fans and JRPG lovers will be the social interaction required in GOaLYL. You’ll need to say the right things to certain people in order for them to like your character, and sometimes making friends won’t be easy. What I didn’t was that sometimes people didn’t like my character for no good reason at all, and just gave him hell all the time even though he never did anything to them. This happened a lot in the first 18 or 19 game years, and fortunately it decreased later. Many NPCs in this game are just asses. I’m not sure if it was programmed that way intentionally or if it just needed more time in beta, but it got pretty frustrating at times. I found myself wishing I could just delete certain people.

Unable to do so, I got an in-game item called a “hammer” and tried to remove one character from the game myself, but I didn’t realize how much stealth was valued in this game. In my haste, I apparently startled a group of blue-suited chaps who took great pride in stopping me, then locking me in a type of cage for several years. But that’s when I discovered that the game has a fantastic story, because my guy “woke up” and it turned out that resting periods have “dreams” that can appear realistic, even though they’re not happening at all.

Back on track, I found my character was well-liked by girl from another country — a fortunate circumstance, because my own character would act stupidly happy around her, too. I definitely knew this was worth pursuing and if I could work out some sort of alliance with this character, I knew it’d be a blast. After reading about the game’s “wedding system,” I decided to ask the other character if she’d be interested in trying it, and was really relieved when she agreed. My character got a pretty big boost from that, and a lot of times, having that partner around really helps with any number of things. It does have its downsides though, as having another character occupy the same housing space and having at your consumables can lead to occasional frustration.

You’ll also have to find “jobs” in order to keep things moving in Live Your Life. These provide your character with money, exchanged for practically anything in the way of goods and services. Most characters have an innate skill or two, so if you can find a “job” that takes advantage of it, you’ll probably have more fun as well as bring in some more money. So far, I’ve been able to get people to give me money for handing out newspapers, driving pizzas to NPC’s houses within a certain time limit, painting doors in a factory, and making sandwiches. After a six year period in which I became a “Master,” I was able to make money training NPCs in the language of my own, which has overall been the best in terms of both money and fun.

Once you get some experience, you can actually start passing on advice and skills to NPCs and noobs. There’s even a “reproduction” system in place, which lets you team with another player and create a new character that’s a hybrid of the both of you. Usually, it will look like one or both of the”parent” characters and inherit many of their tastes and talents as well. This isn’t always the case though, and it should be noted that you do not have direct control over these new characters, despite being their caretakers and having been responsible for their ability to even play the game. Perhaps in a future patch or DLC?

In the end, Go Outside and Live Your Life is a fantastic game. I could really write about a 55 page review here about all the great systems in place and how much detail there is in here. The explorable world is huge, and most players probably won’t even see the whole thing before the game’s over. Perhaps the most beautiful thing is that every playthrough is different, as mentioned above. Every character begins somewhat differently and never knows exactly when or how their play will end. The best approach, I’ve found, is to just get out there and enjoy it for what it is.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ High amount of detail with no-glasses 3D that avoids headaches.

+ Truly unlike any other game in terms of concept, scale, and variety.

- Frustrating, unbalanced difficulty bordering on not even being fair. Too hard to earn “Pro” rank in sports minigames. NO save points!?

9 out of 10

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