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I should preface this Peril on Gorgon review with a disclaimer of sorts: Being a huge Obsidian fan, I played and completed The Outer Worlds at launch and loved every minute of it. This first-person RPG with a sci-fi space setting reminded me of Captain ‘Mal’ Reynolds’ escapades on the criminally underrated 2002 TV series Firefly. The game’s semi-open hub world spaces were a boon to me. While in my teens, I loved exploring vast open worlds and dumping hundreds of hours in them. As I grew older and got burdened with (unwelcome) adult responsibilities, I started appreciating games that respected the limited time I could afford for this hobby – games that told their own small story, in which every nook and cranny were handcrafted. In those respects, consider my opinion on the game colored, and probably biased. So consider yourself adequately warned.

Set in an alternate hyper-corpo future, you find yourself in Halcyon, a six planet star system – a wild west frontier where megacorporations have colonized and terraformed certain planets. You ‘assume’ the role of Alex Hawthorne, the captain of a small spaceship, the Unreliable, and are tasked with aiding an eccentric scientist, Phineas Welles. Peril on Gorgon is the first DLC expansion to The Outer Worlds. It steps away from the chosen one tropes from the base game and tasks you with stepping into the shoes of a mercenary detective investigating a dangerous and abandoned research facility on an asteroid for your benefactress. Peril on Gorgon wears its noir influences proudly on its sleeves and brings with them a surprisingly enjoyable main story and a bevy of memorable side missions.

Gourmet Saltuna Fillets, Buncha Nanners, and Lemon Slapp

The story is the king here, so I will respect your still unvoiced choice of not getting spoilers, and stick to the stuff that you can get to know without ruining the enjoyment of the game! The story starts off wondrously low-key – as you are busy whizzing around in space, your ship AI ADA informs you of an urgent message from the Halcyon Parcel Service. They leave behind a ‘hazardous’ package in your cargo bay. I gingerly opened the box, to find a severed grisly arm holding a phonograph. Trust me: once you push down your queasiness regarding dismembered body parts, you will realize that is just the start of Obsidian’s morbid curiosity with them.

The audio logs are a new addition to the game and might remind you of the audio diaries made famous in the Bioshock franchise. The phonograph contains a message from a freelancer Lucky Montoya, a supposed friend of the real Hawthorne. He asks you to find your way to Ambrose Manor, where a risky albeit high-paying job awaits you. When you reach the mysterious mansion, you chance upon Wilhelmina ‘Minnie’ Ambrose – an ambitious heiress keen on employing you to fetch her mother’s notebook. The catch? Well, the notebook is located in an abandoned research station on the dangerous asteroid, Gorgon.

Her mother Olivia Ambrose, now feared dead, was one of the genius scientists heading the creation of the super-drug Adrena-Time for Spacer’s Choice. At some point during its development, there was a catastrophic failure and the company had to evacuate its personnel from the asteroid and abandon the project. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will involve unraveling the hidden secrets of Gorgon, and help its remaining inhabitants in the way you deem fit. You will get to explore the innards of the Office of Creative Incubation, Human Inquiry and Auditing, CHEM Lab, and several more interesting locations on Gorgon that will slowly reveal more of the story. In the course of your investigation, you will also visit the Sprat Shack – a charming Sub-Light drinking hole where smugglers get together to share a drink and regale each other with their boisterous exploits.

Show your boss that you are prime,
because you take Adrena-Time!

Cysty Chops, Boarst’n Baked Beans, and Algae Lager

Along the way, a mysterious adversary will accost you – threatening you to let sleeping dogs lie, and leave the secrets of Gorgon buried. The side quests range from hilarious to tragic – where some might ask you to intervene between a couple’s quarrel, identifying an animal-shaped rock for a team, finding comics, stealing a trophy, there are ones which will tug at your heartstrings by searching for a dead husband’s flask for a widow to remember him by or the distressing stories of the people who were left behind. The stories of Roscoe Clanton, Charles from Accounting, Clarence Mostly, Marion Blakeslee, and Jasper Low will stay with you for a long time to come.

I would advise you to not rush through the campaign and instead take your time, and slowly immerse yourself in the worlds of Halcyon. The avalanche of choices that I was greeted with at every step is one of the prime reasons I found myself save-scumming a lot. Even though some of your decisions might be inconsequential, it is your choice whether to show the middle finger to someone or ignore them to end a conversation – the presence of which I found to be extremely refreshing! A small advice: to fully enjoy the role-playing experience, skip the easy and medium difficulties, and start on hard. Without that, you might find the core elements of the gameplay lacking. With tactical time dilation (strategical slow motion), and some of the overpowered perks, the game might feel absurdly easy even at medium settings. Peril on Gorgon adds new perks and flaws, an increased level cap, a few armor sets, and three new science weapons. I gathered two of them – the melee Pest Extermination Tool and the Employee Benefits handgun by Auntie Cleo. The ending did feel a little rushed and sudden, but the journey was satisfying enough to placate my complaints!

We attest to the zest with our hand on our chest. Be impressed as our guest by what we’ve finessed. You are blessed to ingest what we thoroughly test. You’ve tried the best, now try the rest. Spacer’s Choice!

Focusitol Capsules, Adrena-Time, and Stimu-Lotion

As a dear friend of mine, once said (*nod* *nod* *wink* *wink*), the ones you love are the ones you are harshest on. It is only out of love that I say this – the game and its DLC are not perfect. The Outer Worlds was not envisioned at its inception as a AAA title. Owing to its limited budget, there were a lot of mechanics and technical improvements that we have taken for granted in current-gen AAA RPG titles, that are just not present in it. You can’t romance characters, the animation is not top-tier, inventory management is not streamlined, the music is bland, variety of weapons, armor, and enemies is limited, locations are sometimes quite linear, and god, those loading screens when you try and enter a building! ‘

There are no throwable grenades, and though there are mines strewn across certain places, you can’t pick them up and plant them yourself. Every conversation and mission would make my mind wander – I would be left wondering about the lost opportunities that would have made them even better! The game oozes potential but falls a long deal short of greatness. It reminds me of the times that I have been sad in my life – and I would curl up in a corner with a bucket of ice-cream and rewatch my favorite movies for the umpteenth time. The Outer Worlds and Peril on Gorgon are like comfort food – it will make you feel warm, safe, and happy. But they are not the maddening passionate pangs of first love, that you might be expecting from Obsidian.

You are a brain. The rest of you is a mere appendix.

Real Talk

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon DLC expansion is a much-needed and welcome addition to the base game. While not perfect by any means, the DLC is an enjoyable romp, with unique locations and characters. The noir detective setting is designed well, and the choices and skill-checks provide the game with a decent amount of replayability. Although marred by certain technical limitations because of budget constraints, the bravado that the DLC’s story shows in its limited 10-hour run-time makes me giddy with anticipation for the second expansion Murder on Eridanos, scheduled to release in 2021, and the big-budget AAA sequel that Obsidian will hopefully conjure, thanks to them now being a part of Microsoft Studios.


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