The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon DLC Review
I’m not the only person who was equally surprised and excited to see the announcement of The Outer Worlds first DLC: Peril on Gorgon. When that cheesy text scrolled up on screen to reveal its name, I was immediately hit with a wage of nostalgia and fond memories from my time in the Halcyon system. Although I was excited to inevitably return, a small amount of dread began to creep up on me; Why had I stopped playing in the first place? Did I not enjoy it as much as I thought? And would this DLC be enough to respark my potential love of this oddball game?
I’m not proud to say it has been quite some time since I took control of my intrepid space captain and the crew of the Unreliable. I was met face to face with one of the most terrifying prospects a gamer can face: I couldn’t remember how to play. It took me several minutes of menu navigation and button pressing to figure out the basics again and get back into my groove, but once that was out of the way we hit the ground running! Peril on Gorgon has an incredibly interesting opening segment and for those like myself who may have forgotten the games subtle humor and exemplary writing, it will all come flooding back. Crew members like Parvati and Felix absolute love their serials so when a new job comes along that promises intrigue, mystery, and murder, they are more than happy to throw themselves in harms way to be a part of one of those classic tales they love to hear. It’s a really fun reaction to see, however much like those beloved serial programs, it begins with a hook and sort of strings you along as you go.
I completed Peril on Gorgon in around 15 hours and there were definitely moments of tension and suspense that kept my trigger finger ready at a moments notice, but the narrative of the expansion beyond its first few hours was sorely predictable. Without offering spoilers, this is nearly a copy and paste plot from a major motion picture and you figure it out fairly early on. It was more than a bit of a let down to have seen such fantastic dialogue and writing and lore in The Outer Worlds only to have the plot of the DLC become a veritable paint by numbers. You do have to make difficult moral choices as the game has established in the past and as I said the dialogue options and writing otherwise are absolutely fantastic, but the story itself left me disappointed. Speaking of dialogue, there were two stand-out characters during Peril on Gorgon that absolutely made it a more interesting experience ADA, your ships AI, and Clarence Mostly.
Deja Vu in Space… (Spaceja Vu?)
ADA has always had some great lines, but her inability to emote mixed with her willingness to be absolutely ruthless is hilarious, with one particularly gruesome option that arises actually being an incredibly effective tool. Clarence Mostly, on the other hand, is one of the most unique NPCs I’ve encountered in the game. While most other characters fit into being either a bureaucrat, a scientist, a worker, or simply prideful, Clarence Mostly feels quite well established and unique and is someone I hope we get to see further developed in future content. He spends little time on screen with you, but even the messages you find at various terminals speak volumes to his character. Clarence is loathed for his position and intelligence. He is brilliant but awkward and knows how smart he is, making himself a pain in everyone’s side. He was refreshing and absolutely fit into the “serial” motif of the expansion.
Despite its lackluster narrative, the moment to moment action, dialogue, and writing is so much fun. Finding out the truth about Project Gorgon, sneaking through labs, uncovering the mystery, and the way your companions react is so engaging. The Outer Worlds truly was overlooked as its gameplay and oddball humor is a delight to experience without taking itself too seriously, let alone the option to play the game any way you want. Guns feel just as good as they always did. Nothing new really comes to the table there, other than the potential to craft and upgrade better gear but this was never a spot that Outer Worlds needed to build on. Obsidian knows how to make a shooter and the mechanics were perfect the first time.
Upon arriving to Gorgon you’ll find the place mostly deserted, filthy, and broken. The visual contrast to the other worlds really pop, but only if you have BEEN to those worlds recently. It all fits once again into that narrative of being a classic serial, and Peril on Gorgon isn’t shy about paying homage to literary references. Not only did I find someones notes of their “Systems and Serfdoms” campaign in progress, but a number of missions were named after literary references including “The Man in High Orbit,” “A Clockwork Mock Apple,” and “The Ones Who Walk Away From Gorgon.” So much effort went into the dialogue, the world, the lore, even these playful names that it feels painful that such an obvious plot was used and, in essence, starts to pull the DLC down. This is not an example of something being greater than the sum of its parts because the parts here are fantastic every step of the way.
The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon is full of just as much wonderful space-western dialogue as the base game. It’s gritty, suspenseful, intense, and dark. New characters like Clarence Mostly and Minnie Ambrose are engaging, the kind of people we want to really dive further into. Gorgon itself is beautiful in its desolation and it really is an absolute joy to come back to the Halcyon system. I love that its designed almost as a satire of serials – the most prevalent entertainment in the game – and you really do feel immersed in the moment to moment content, however, the narrative flopped for me. It was easy to see the major plot and themes early on in this “mystery” because we have seen it before in other media. It’s a shame because it does weigh down what is already an absolutely exemplary experience. Having jumped back into The Outer Worlds once again I’m excited to keep playing with my rag-tag crew and I look forward to the next adventure of the Unreliable.
*PS4 code provided by the publisher*
- Fantastic Dialogue
- Great New Characters
- Same Exemplary Gameplay
- Spooky New Colony To Explore
- Old, Thin Plot
- Unrealized Potential