Game Reviews

The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon DLC Review

Discover a vast conspiracy in this noir-flavored expansion.

by Brandon Adams

The Outer Worlds was a fun dose of role-playing goodness when it launched last year. It didn’t entirely live up to the “From the Creators of Fallout” hype, and those who pined after the halcyon days of New Vegas were disappointed by The Outer World’s comparative brevity and narrower scope. That ultimately didn’t stop Obsidian’s latest RPG from being a damn fine game. Peril On Gorgon is the first DLC to release for The Outer Worlds, and for what it’s worth the expansion is a solid addition to the base game, albeit with most of the same strengths and weaknesses.

Peril On Gorgon: lead an investigation into Spacer’s Choice’s most infamous project.

After completing Radio Free Monarch a mysterious package with a dismembered hand attached to it is delivered to the Unreliable. Once you’ve consulted with your crew over the morbid parcel you’ll be asked to meet up with a Ms. “Minnie” Ambrose at her manor situated on a smaller rock that orbits the titular asteroid of Gorgon. You’ll show up, she’ll give you a basic rundown of the failed Spacer’s Choice project that’s left the asteroid mostly abandoned, before requesting you retrieve her late mother’s journal. Oh, and she’ll tell you not to trust anyone. Can’t have a noir story without those words of caution.

From there you’ll jet-set down to Gorgon proper and begin to unravel what the Law happened there. Project Gorgon was serious business, and you’ll slowly peel away what happened at the Spacer’s Choice research facility on the asteroid as you search for Minnie’s mother’s journal. From there you’ll find yourself embroiled in a tale of gross corporate mismanagement, with a secret capable of bringing the entire colony to its knees. There are many ways to skin a cat here, though like the base game the ways in which your choices affect the story are all rather shallow in the grand scheme of things upon closer inspection. It’s a fun six hours of extra story, yet it doesn’t deviate too far from the formula Obsidian established last year.

There are a couple of side quests, but the vast majority of added content is centered around the Gorgon narrative. You’ll quickly settle an argument in a bar, be asked to hunt down some phonographs and a flask, and that’s really about it for side content (minus one other thing I don’t want to spoil). The enigma shrouding the collapse of Project Gorgon is obviously the star of the show here, though I wouldn’t have objected to a few more side quests for some of that sweet, sweet world building.

Granted, the DLC does that well enough with lore practically pouring out of the various terminals and notes scattered across Gorgon. Seriously, terminals are everywhere within Peril On Gorgon. None of the additional lore is required to parse what’s happening in the main narrative, but if you like your world building on the meticulous side you won’t be disappointed. Even the new phonographs (I.E. audiologs) do a great job at further fleshing out the various nuances within the plot. That said, I didn’t find any that weren’t a part of the previously mentioned side quest, which was a touch disappointing.

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As for Gorgon itself, well, it’s not the most visually arresting biome we’ve seen in The Outer Worlds. It’s a desolate gray asteroid with patches of blue bioluminescent grass, populated by abandoned Spacer’s Choice settlements that project an eerie green glow. Look, I get it – it’s a freaking asteroid – so I didn’t expect much in the way of flora or fauna, but Gorgon’s design is a touch monotonous. The extra verticality does freshen up navigation as you wind through the narrow canyons below and more expansive settlements above, yet that doesn’t completely stop the new locale from being a wee bit boring.

Gorgon isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, but it gets the job done; kind of like Spacer’s Choice’s wares, come to think of it. The labs and buildings you’ll explore within the DLC are far better, each with a somewhat unique look to them. You’ll visit a giant aerial platform within the gaseous atmosphere of Olympus, explore an abandoned testing facility where the “volunteers” were disposed of in a less than ethical manner, and poke about the ruins of a research lab where questionable experiments were clearly performed. The surface of Gorgon itself may fail to impress, yet the locations within are leagues better.

If you were disappointed by the weapon and enemy variety in The Outer Worlds then Peril On Gorgon won’t do much to alter your attitude. By and large the enemies are reskins of existing foes, and the few new weapons on offer don’t deviate too far from the established aesthetic. It’s Spacer’s Choice all the way through, and while that makes sense from a lore and design perspective, it would have been nice to see some more creativity on this front. We’re exploring a super-secret research project, so why not freshen things up a bit? There are three new Science weapons to acquire in Peril On Gorgon and some additional named items, so it’s not a complete wash. Gorgon is also littered with ammo, so if the abundance of bullets in the base game annoyed you a year ago it’ll continue to peeve you here.

What’s more appreciable are the added skills, perks, and flaws – all supported by the increased level cap of 33. Every skill has an additional “Virtuoso” tier to unlock, though it’ll cost you an incredible 150 skill points to access. There are six new perks as well (two in each tier), and a selection of extra flaws to take. I wasn’t able to find the total number of flaws that have been added (thanks to how the game handles them), but from what I’ve gathered the cap on the number of flaws you can accept has been increased. It’s clear Obsidian wants players to specialize their builds moreso now than they did in the base game, which isn’t a terrible change on paper. Yet, as someone accustomed to The Outer Worlds’s original balance, the end results felt a bit . . . off.

Not only are some of the new skill checks within Peril On Gorgon set to 100 or higher, but a healthy selection of the options from the base game have been bumped up as well. These include checks made during the final mission of The Outer Worlds; checks formerly set to 100 that are now at 150. Hacking terminals and Lockpicking safes were also adjusted around the new 150 skill cap, so you’ll need to genuinely specialize in those two skills now rather than settle around 50 in each and expect access to damn near every locked door and container. I understand the concept – make player choice more impactful by locking certain options behind stricter requirements – yet it still took me a while to embrace the altered paradigm.

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The overall philosophy hasn’t changed – a maxed-out skill check at 100 is conceptually the same as a maxed-out skill check boosted to 150, but the 50-point spread means you’ll need to pull points away from other skills to once again clear that bar. Yes, the extra 30 points from the raised level cap do help, but they don’t entirely make up for the increase. In rebalancing the game around this new “Virtuoso” skill tier Obsidian have cut the feet out from under “Jack-of-all-Trades” builds. It’s not the end of the solar system, but it was annoying to revisit a more “balanced” character only to find vast swathes of options once available to me now locked off entirely.

The new perks also encourage finer specialization, though they arguably fair better. Each was clearly crafted to plug a hole in one of The Outer Worlds’s various playstyles, from the Assassin perk that makes Quiet Weapon punchier (and in effect stealth more viable), to Nietzsche’s Reward and its damage boost per flaw taken. While the altered skill checks across the entire game took some acclimation, the six new perks at least made the adjustment more palatable. The new skill cap, added perks, and rebalanced skill checks are Obsidian’s way of addressing a large complaint The Outer Worlds’s suffered from at launch: specialization was pointless because most checks could be surmounted with a balanced build. I appreciated the shift in hindsight, but it definitely took me some time to adjust.

Mechanical quibbles aside, the writing within Peril On Gorgon is perhaps some of The Outer Worlds’s best. The game’s reliance on dark humor remains present, The game’s reliance on dark humor remains present, though the satirical approach to Capitalistic greed run rampant does hit differently here in 2020. To put it plainly, if you liked the writing and humor of The Outer Worlds you’ll enjoy what’s on offer in Peril On Gorgon. The DLC is a touch grimmer than the base game, but the flavor is much the same.

It was nice to see the companions – Parvati, Max, Felix, Ellie, and Nyoka – all had a wealth of new dialogue and interactions within the DLC, making Peril On Gorgon feel like a more holistic addition to The Outer Worlds than not. The mystery resting at the heart of Gorgon fits neatly within the existing narrative, even if it doesn’t contribute directly to your efforts to assist Dr. Phineas Wells. The Outer Worlds’s ending also has a full segment devoted to Peril On Gorgon based on whichever of the multiple conclusions you arrived at during the final quest within the DLC, which I thought was a nice touch. This does pull the solar wind out of the quest’s conclusion a bit, but I did ultimately like how Peril on Gorgon was treated as a part of the larger overall narrative.

Yet, that does make it hard for me to recommend Peril On Gorgon to new players who haven’t picked up The Outer Worlds yet. It’s a great DLC for existing fans eager to jump back into the Halcyon colony; it’s more of The Outer Worlds for better and worse. But, assuming the next DLC – Murder on Eridanos – is also tucked neatly within the main narrative and not after it then I’d recommend waiting on the inevitable “Game of the Year” or “Complete Edition” to drop before jumping in. The inclusion of both stories will make The Outer Worlds a far more robust and lengthier experience than it was at launch, and I doubt Obsidian’s efforts to rebalance the game will end with Peril On Gorgon.

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The Verdict.

If you enjoyed The Outer Worlds then Peril On Gorgon is more of what you loved, though the rebalanced skill checks will require some acclimation. It tells a worthwhile tale of intrigue and corporate negligence, and at roughly six hours in length with multiple endings to unlock it justifies the $15 asking price. If you are new to The Outer Worlds, however, I’d advise you to wait: you’ll get a more complete, finalized version of Obsidian’s vision when they likely bundle both DLCs in with the base game next year.

The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon is story DLC done right. It builds and expands on the existing world while providing a fun, meaty new narrative for fans to dig into. It doesn’t address all of the issues players had with The Outer Worlds at launch, but that doesn’t stop Peril On Gorgon from being a worthy addition to Obsidian’s spacefaring RPG.

- This article was updated on:September 9th, 2020

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The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon

  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Published By: Private Division
  • Developed By: Obsidian Entertainment
  • Genre: Role-Playing Game
  • US Release Date: September 9th, 2020
  • Reviewed On: PC
  • Quote: "The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon is story DLC done right. It builds and expands on the existing world while providing a fun, meaty new narrative for fans to dig into. It doesn't address all of the issues players had with The Outer Worlds at launch, but that doesn't stop Peril On Gorgon from being a worthy addition to Obsidian's spacefaring RPG."
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