The Outer Worlds - Peril on Gorgon Review
When The Outer Worlds released last year, I enjoyed it well enough. It was a tapered down RPG experience similar in vein to Fallout: New Vegas from the same developer. The scope seemed a bit limited and some of the story/quest design was somewhat narrow, but it was otherwise a decent compact package filling a gap for a certain flavor of RPG not seen for a while. Obsidian isn't quite done with the game yet though, as they've today launched The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon, the first of two DLC expansions.
Peril on Gorgon slots in after the Monarch storyline in the main campaign, which is roughly in the moments just before the major 'point of no return' choice nearing the endgame. This means that Gorgon's difficulty balance is a little bit higher than most of the rest of The Outer Worlds, with higher-level enemies and loot.
In getting to access the DLC, it took me a moment to find my latest savefile that hadn't progressed too far in the main game. It took me a bit longer to remember what my character build was, what type of weapons I was using, which party members I had prepped properly, and really how to play the game again. You know, the usual coming-back-to-a-game-later sort of troubles.
Peril on Gorgon opens up when a mysterious package lands on The Unreliable, which points your crew to a mansion near the Gorgon Asteroid. Here you meet Minnie Ambrose. She is the daughter of the lead scientist who worked on the Gorgon research project before it went catastrophically awry years ago. She wants you to clear her mother's name by heading to the abandoned campus to seek Mom's research notes. Of course, there's a little bit more to it than that. Once you land on Gorgon, you'll slowly start to unravel the mystery behind the Gorgon research facility, what it was developing, and how it all fell apart.
When I first set foot on Gorgon, after meeting a few NPCs, I started exploring the new zone and quickly ran into some marauders. These guys were admittedly somewhat tough at first, taking several shots to take down while I was drowning myself in Adreno stimpacks. After picking up a few new weapons with higher stats than what can be found in the base game, I eventually acclimated to these dangerous foes. Otherwise, the flow of this DLC chapter is quite similar to what you've experienced in the base game. You'll romp around the zone map and find a few buildings that work as dungeon areas.
One characteristic of Peril on Gorgon is that the zone is, by design, largely abandoned. There are a few NPCs that act as shopkeepers or offer small amounts of history for the asteroid when you first land, but most of the time you'll find yourself wandering around abandoned buildings while taking on a handful of marauders and aggressive wildlife. It feels a bit lonely, but I am quite glad that your party members do have plenty of new things say regarding the Gorgon area and storyline as you explore, so it's not as isolating as it could be.
However, there is not so much in terms of optional quests or dialogue on Gorgon. I did run into 3 or 4 side quests, but these were all very basic fetch-quest sort of ordeals - nothing too intricate or interesting. One quest asked me to fetch a flask. Another quest asked me to fetch a package. I did both, returned both, and that was effectively it. One of those quests offered a very slight hint about the larger storyline in Gorgon, which maybe was the primary intent, but it still came across as a bit shallow. Perhaps this simple quest design is a result of a modest budget given to the DLC's development, but it results in just a quick task performed for a small reward.
The main storyline you'll follow on Gorgon will have you reading computer logs and finding audiotapes that'll gradually lift the curtain of the enigma of the Gorgon research facility. This component is probably the most interesting part of this DLC offering, resulting in a generally satisfying mystery plot that feels like a long sidequest from the main game. It tackles the same sorts of themes as you'd expect from The Outer Worlds, how a corporation's value for commercialization and profits trump human rights.
While most of the DLC takes place on Gorgon, the storyline will take you off-world for a few tasks in the main questline. You'll have to either talk or fight your way through an area on the Groundbreaker, meet an NPC at Byzantium, and explore a new facility around Olympus. After a little bit of running around the galaxy, you'll eventually be able to complete the task you set out to do on the Gorgon asteroid.
Peril on Gorgon took me about 7 hours to complete, generally going slow and exhausting the new zone map. Sadly I found the conclusion of the DLC storyline to be a bit lackluster. Without getting to specifics, it ultimately comes down to an 'A or B' choice, although I got an option for a compromise between the two outcomes. This decision wasn't much of an interesting predicament to begin with, but I found a way to appease both sides regardless. After reaching that compromise and getting my measly 5000-bit reward (I had more than 100,000 bits already) as well a quick thank you from the NPCs, the quest ended. It was ultimately a happy ending but it left with a bit of a whimper.
Peril on Gorgon is largely more of the same as what's found in the original game, with a bit more of a focus on exploration than questing. It's a fine addition for those who just can't get enough, but I feel it is not enticing enough on its own to spend $15 to revisit the game if you already completed The Outer Worlds months ago.