The Outer Worlds is a darkly hilarious RPG in space, but it more importantly tells a unique and engaging story that’s routinely surprisingly. It also lets you approach everything however you want to, meaning your second run through the game can be wildly different from your first. This may come as a relief to those whose save files are in the final stages of the game, as the game’s first expansion, Peril on Gorgon is woven into the plot of the main game, and the final level just ends the game without allowing you to continue playing.
For those players (such as myself), Peril on Gorgon will require replaying the main game until they have finished the Radio Free Monarch quest, which is closer to the end of the game than the beginning. Whilst playing through again is hardly a hardship, it wouldn’t have hurt to have the option to access the DLC directly from the menu and maybe import your character. Better yet, they could just let players keep playing after the main story is finished – there’s plenty of side quests people might want to complete.
Once you finish the Radio Free Monarch quest, you’ll get a request to dock with your ship from the Halcyon Parcel Service to deliver a parcel for Alex Hawthorne (whom you my have been masquerading as depending on your earlier choices). It contains a message from gravel-voiced expositioner Lucky Montana… with his disembodied arm still holding onto it. It’s time to grab your detective hat, because Peril on Gorgon is a noir mystery full of metaphors and melodrama as you investigate the abandoned Spacer’s Choice facility on Gorgon.
It’s quite a ride with some serious implications for the colony at large, tapping into the same themes of bureaucracy gone mad from the rest of the game. It is a comment on how corporations function (soullessly), which is basically a given considering the corporate nature of the game’s setting. The basic mismanagement feels a little predictable at this point.
Gorgon itself is a little awkward to explore initially. It’s quite a big map, but it’s split between three different levels with specific entrances and exits to transition between them. The Outer Worlds doesn’t let you hop your way up mountains and over scenery like similar games, but once you’ve found the lifts and unlocked a few fast travel points it’ll get less awkward to get around. There’s plenty of stuff to find whilst exploring, but basically all the bigger locations are locked until you reach them in the DLC’s story.
There’s handful of side missions that manage to push a little extra comic relief between the main missions’ incredibly grim revelations and fill in details about how the area has developed. One conversation with a captain and his first and second mates, who were looking for either a llama-shaped rock, actually had me laughing aloud. Then again, one of them is just collecting five datapads.
There aren’t many new enemies to tangle with unfortunately, and most of the new ones are variations of the older ones, like bigger marauders, primals, or mantiqueens. The same goes for weapons and armour, where outside of a few science weapons that I haven’t really found much use for, they’re just variations on the ones in the main game. There’s still a good amount of named, unique weapons knocking around, but they’re still just modified, sometimes reskinned versions of already existing ones.
There are a few changes to the base game as well. The level cap has increased by three levels, giving you 30 new skill points to assign once you’ve levelled. Meanwhile, the maximum skills can be increased to is now up to 150, an increase of 50. If you have a fully levelled character who can access the DLC, you will need to respec (which is available on the Unreliable) to reach the new maximum for your most used skills. You’ll need to anyway, because there have been a few retroactive changes, such as some locks that needed 100 in lockpicking to unlock now need 150, possibly adding an extra five levels to the process of accessing them. It seems Obsidian want players to heavily specialise when developing their character, though giving players only thirty new points to invest whilst requiring fifty more per maxed-out skill is an odd choice.
Of course, throughout Peril on Gorgon, you’ll find the same issues the main game has, namely that combat is still a little too easy – you should really play on Hard – and item/enemy variation is still a little lacking. There a few reports of people finishing the DLC in five hours, though I can only imagine that was rushing through as it must’ve taken me at least double that with my usual “search every nook and cranny” approach.