More fun than perilous.
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4
Genre: DLC to last year’s spacetime adventure
Last year’s The Outer Worlds is a grand sci-fi time whether you love solving problems through diplomacy and lies, or using the barrel of the gun(s) you are allowed to carry. True to developer Obsidian’s past open world works -specifically their crown jewel Fallout: New Vegas and its DLC- The Outer Worlds follows suit with a couple of additional story missions that take place during the crew’s time on the Unreliable.
Their first effort, Peril On Gorgon, will make you want to go back to the Halcyon, if you don’t mind your DLC quests lasting as long as 6 hours or so. For better or worst, it’s what you would expect from a US$15 add-on. Just a heads up: this DLC activates right after you’re done with the main Monarch mission, when that random spaceship crashes and you have to figure out which faction on the planet is getting a piece of that.
A Rock & A Hard Space
The DLC starts out with a “50s pulp detective” intro where you are given a parcel with a recording device and a severed hand attached to it. It tells you about the planet Gorgon and following a lead to the Ambrose mansion, where your contact Minnie asks you to get a journal from the remnants of a former Spacer’s Choice factory. As you delve through the wasteland and check out the pad of the severed hand’s owner in the local space inn, you get to partake in a few sidequests that will deter you from your main one.
Yes, there’s a lot of intrigue and mystery in the main questline, and if you’re a fan of a good story involving the buried past and repairing a family legacy, you’ll find a lovely and dark-humoured tale here full of twists & turns. Expect the usual Outer Worlds weirdness involving a Canid talent show, the origins of the drugged-up marauders roaming Gorgon, disgruntled tossball players, and a receptionist robot who can be programmed as a temporary partner if you have a high-enough Engineering points. I am a fan of the latter robot, by the by.
I won’t say more than that, but Peril On Gorgon will reward you with nice story payoffs and good loot depending on your character specs. Prefer to talk a lot via your high Persuade and Lie skills? You can get by most situations without killing anyone here. Want to just blow up whatever is in front of you? Just fight specific marauder groups on Gorgon’s hostile bits, and you can score yourself new Science weapons like a heat-seeking rocket launcher.
Just like with the base game, your options are plentiful depending on your playstyle. This DLC emphasizes on the series’ flexibility to a tee, and that’s appreciative in this CRPG day and age.
Peril On Gorgon introduces new mechanics that are sure to make players respec whenever they can. For one, Virtuoso buffs open up top-tier benefits if you bring a particular skill to 150 points. Your companions also get extra level 4 and 5 character-specific perks. The Virtuoso benefits are pretty game-breaking, ranging from terrifying enemies by hitting them with crits if you have 150 points in Intimidate, to getting back a previous mod you slotted into your equipment if you have 150 points in Engineering.
Companion boons include Felix’s 50% damage increase if he uses Tossball Weapons, or Ellie’s Super ricocheting after striking the first target. They’re all great additions in spicing up the action and also making you tailor your current build carefully, especially if you’re tackling this at Level 20.
Having said that, you won’t find combat much of a challenge if you enter this DLC at level 30 or so, at least if you’re on default difficulty. Even with the scaling and the level cap increase, the combat will not go beyond what it was in the later bits of the base title. You can get away with pretty subpar gun and melee skills as long as you have Tactical Time Dilation, decent level 30 gear with tweaks aplenty, and your companion special attacks handy. The new high-level weapons you find in Gorgon also contribute to how easy you can manage these situations.
The real challenge is determining where you should allocate your points. Personally, I only came across a few hurdles at the end where you need max points in the non-violent skills like Engineering, Hacking, Science, Persuasion, and so forth. If there’s a particular ending you want out of your Gorgon escapade, you’ll still get it if you work hard at it. Protip: the respec machine in The Unreliable is still there for you to fudge around with.
While Peril on Gorgon isn’t as revelatory & as grand as Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas DLC offerings (like the challenge-inducing Dead Money to the epic finale Lonesome Road), it’s still pretty darn good. With just about 6 hours or so worth of quests and stories to unravel and be entertained by, alongside welcome additions to stats and arsenals, this should hopefully inspire the devs to go for broke and higher heights for their next few expansions and DLCs in the always-full-of-potential space of the Halcyon.
- Fun & story-packed DLC-sized mission with surprises.
- Lovely science weapons, perks, and Virtuoso buffs to toy with.
- Caters to all playstyles.
- Combat gets pretty easy.
- Doesn’t shake up The Outer Worlds canon like Obsidian’s previous RPG & DLC efforts.