It feels like a very long time since The Outer Worlds became one of my top games of 2019 and I was very eager to get more to experience with the two planned DLC drops that would add to the story but playing through “Peril on Gorgon” in 2020 left me very disappointed with an experience that was very much the opposite of how I felt completing the main storyline in DLC that felt like an extended side quest than a full expansion as I had hoped. Now here we are in 2021 and the final chapter of The Outer Worlds is being told with the last Story DLC ‘Murder on Eridanos’ and whilst the trailer had full on 1940’s Noir vibes to it, I still had my concerns and sadly, those concerns were right.
My main issue with this DLC and ‘Peril on Gorgon’ is that due to the nature of how the main game ends, the only way to play the new DLC is to return to a save game before the big finale to the story which means reverting to a lower character level with perhaps different weapons and skills to what you had when you completed the game. There is also the time between playing this new DLC and the last one and honestly forgetting a lot about how my character plays both in abilities and builds so was a little jarring picking the game back up again.
For this DLC it is recommended you have a level 30 character, which if you have completed the main story and the last DLC you should be and being able to just continue from the point you left ‘Peril on Gorgon’ is a lot better than rewinding your experience to before you completed the game. That requirement gave me hope that this DLC would have some challenging combat which was lacking in the previous DLC and the chance to pick up some new weapons is also good but only if you have yet to finish the main game or play to replay the ending after finishing this DLC.
This DLC unlocks the final planet on the map, Eridanos and you, the player, are called upon to become an “Inspector” and given the task of investigating the murder of the most well-known celebrity in the Eridanos colony, Halcyon Helen. With little to go on and arriving at Eridanos with everyone being a possible suspect, you must find clues, pull on threads and see if you can find out who and why she was murdered. The trailer was fantastic and I would have loved to have played this entire story in a black and white style detective style but like much of this DLC, I was to be sadly let down.
Eridanos is perhaps the most visually delicious location of all the worlds in the game so far, a true paradise consisting of floating islands connected by light bridges. It really is a beautiful environment to be in which is handy because this ten hour or so story chapter will have you walking/running or fast travelling back and forth a lot around Eridanos and I am not kidding, there is a lot of walking to various mission way points which after an hour can get very tedious indeed. Enemies are mostly what you would have encountered before so none of them will actually prove any threat to you or your companions throughout, perhaps why the recommending Character level is so high at 30 just to make sure any combat is simply brushed away so you can focus back on the murder mystery.
A Murder Mystery is exactly what this DLC is and no sooner as you arrive on Eridanos then you begin meeting characters who all have a stake in the success of the Colony which has been deeply impacted by the death of Halcyon Helen. Ploughing through the many dialogue trees you will have with characters; more suspects and locations will then be revealed giving you more people to talk to and investigate. So much of this DLC is just this, talking to people and reading dialogue responses and reading messages and emails on computer terminals in order to piece together what happened and who might be responsible. Talking to a character will lead you to investigate their alibi or relationship with Helen and I actually did enjoy the writing and voice acting performances for the varied characters you meet during this DLC.
The problem for me is the pacing of this ten-hour adventure and even if you give allowance for the fact that this is just a murder mystery adventure, it just needed something more than simply talk to this person, be told to do something/go somewhere/bring this to me to keep the excitement alive. Even as you progress on a quest you will end up being asked to do a short side quest for someone else on Eridanos that never feels like it was worth doing or connected to what you need to do in order to solve the crime. Just being at level 30 or higher makes the combat rather dull and boring if you have built your character up at that point which is disappointing considering this is the last DLC for The Outer Worlds, it just fails too really…. “Go big”.
The story is fun but there is so much emptiness around doing the main storyline besides doing a lot of talking and a lot of reading. Like Peril on Gorgon, this is more DLC that would probably work better if you the player, are actually playing this before knowing the ending to the main game because other than levelling up a few levels, my own character never really benefitted from this little side excursion. I never found armour or weapons higher or better than what I had when I started the DLC and that was why the first DLC fell flat. If I was to start a new game and character than this would be great to do say midway in the original campaign playthrough, but having to rewind to use an earlier version of my character that really benefits in no additional way from playing the DLC nor do the ending(s) to the main story change as a result of having both or one of the DLC stories to complete just left it a flat experience and it certainly at no time feels like the send off content The Outer Worlds deserves.
Which is ultimately why neither DLC really reached the same fun and enjoyment of the main game. Murder on Eridanos feels like a side quest than an expansion with the character level requirement quite frankly far too high to make anything here a challenge for the player, it is really just something else to do. Even the fact that the detective work revolves around using a special device called the Discrepancy Amplifier but this only serves to do all the investigative work for you. When you are near a clue it will warn you then bringing up the Discrepancy Amplifier will make it scan, analyse and then tell you what this clue means which makes it less of a murder mystery for you to solve than a murder mystery tour until the point you feel like you want to accuse someone of the murder.
For me, this is a very disappointing farewell to one of the best RPG’s in recent years and neither DLC managed to reach the same level of fun as the main game and because of how the ending to the main story is so complete, having to go back to a point before you finished the game to for the DLC’s is a little bland. This just never feels like the Final DLC the game or fans hoped for or the original playing experience needed.