While the subtitle of this review may give the game away, so to speak, I will still go through the latest DLC for my favourite space-based Fallout-like game, The Outer Worlds. When I reviewed this way back when, I was blown away, and the Peril on Gorgon expansion kept the standard high, even if it was a little shorter than I would have wished. The new content, Murder on Eridanos, is a similar length to the previous expansion, and comes with another strong story to sink your teeth into. So come with me for a tale of murder, mystery, suspense and slugs…
The story found in The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos takes its cues from the kind of 1940’s noir-style detective thrillers that are mystifyingly popular. I’ve never been one for a mystery novel: Agatha Christie leaves me cold. However, in the medium of video games, I can’t seem to get enough of them. The best level, hands down, in the recent Hitman 3 was the one set in Devon as we had the chance to prove ourselves as an actual detective, right down to the grubby raincoat and stupid hat, wandering around questioning people. So, imagine my joy when we are contacted, out of the blue, by the authorities on Eridanos to come there and investigate the murder of Halcyon Helen, the famous aether wave star who has been found murdered as she prepared to launch a new flavour of Rizzo’s spectrum vodka, the appealingly named “Spectrum Brown”. Who better than us to track down her killer?
The authorities in question are a mixed bunch. Administrator Ludovico is nominally in charge of the colony on Eridanos, and he has a trusty constable named Keene to help him uphold the law. There is a third leg to this milking stool too, in the shape of SubLight UnderGround’s head honcho, Sedrick Kincannon. He is in charge of the spaceport and security on Eridanos, and it doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to figure out that there isn’t a huge amount of love lost between them. Still, these guys all seem convinced that we are the person to solve the crime, so off we pop to Eridanos. Landing on the surface, it appears that Eridanos is a series of islands, with huge jet engines attached, tethered together with various bridges and walkways. In fact, it appears that a popular way of disposing of inconvenient people is to simply drop them off the edge.
When we arrive, our first job is to report to the Grand Colonial Hotel to inspect the crime scene. Here, another important character pops up, the coroner Dr. Goodnight. As we chat to her, she presses upon us a new Science Weapon, the Detector. This is used to investigate various clues found all over the world, and will draw attention to itself by beeping when a clue is nearby. Switching to the Detector, then looking through using the left trigger will cause any clues to become visible, as a plume of blue smoke, almost. These clues can then be inspected and analysed, and the Detector will talk to you to tell you what it finds. It also has quite a dry sense of humour, as if you try and address it in an amusing way, it will deadpan back with quips like “I do not have a dramatic subroutine installed, Inspector”. This is a very useful tool indeed, and with tasks like finding out who had been near the body, and then tracking their steps all the way through the beautiful Purpleberry Orchards, there’s no shortage of things to find with it.
So, once we are on the trail of Halcyon Helen’s killer, like a dapper bloodhound, the DLC really begins to open up. As you can imagine, with the rogues gallery that we find ourselves amongst, there is no shortage of suspects to investigate. Could it be Helen’s boyfriend, the tossball star Black Hole Bertie? Could it be Spencer Woolrich, forever doomed to play second fiddle to Helen’s star? Why is there a drunken woolly cow in a hotel bedroom? These and many more questions will arise; answered before the end of the storyline.
Sadly, for fear of spoilers, I can’t really go any further down this road, but suffice to say that this DLC dragged me back into The Outer Worlds, and it still hasn’t let me go, despite finishing the story and getting all 10 of the new achievements. You see, there’s replayability here too and the story can play out one of two ways, so I will offer a top tip: if you want to get all the achievements, make a new save when you go to the Rizzo Distillery and are about to go up in the lift. You’ll thank me later.
What else does this DLC bring to the table, beside the story? Well, Obsidian have increased the level cap again, all the way up to 36, and it isn’t recommended that you take on the mission until you are at least level 30. You need to have access to the Stellar Bay landing pad on Monarch first too, yet you don’t have to have finished the game to get there. Once you have access to Stellar Bay, talk to ADA on the Unreliable to start the DLC.
Alongside the extra levels, there are of course new weapons and armour to find, and a few unique and science weapons amongst them. One nice weapon is the Spectrum Gatling, and getting the gun is a mission in itself, as you need a bottle of each flavour of Spectrum Vodka to unlock the case it is stored in – finding those is easier said than done. With cool new outfits to find as well, including a massive Tossball Team Mascot’s head, you can truly make you character look like a dog’s dinner, if that’s your bag.
Without spoiling the story, if you liked the base game of The Outer Worlds, you will love Murder on Eridanos on Xbox. The narrative is tight and keeps you guessing, the new gear is fun to find and use, and the increase in the level cap has been reflected across the game, as now there are higher skill checks in the other locations so that you don’t get too OP in the later stages. The characters here are as well-fleshed-out as any in the main game, and unravelling who would gain the most from Halcyon Helen’s death, and finding out what is behind the whole mess, is a proper roller coaster ride. I’ve loved every second of this expansion, and if it wasn’t for the fact that it is quite hard to get the fast travel points to work, and the fact that the loading times seem to have crept up a little since last time, this would be a five star experience.