The Outer Worlds is great. As someone whose favorite game for years was Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds hit the same type of feeling and structure in an all-new setting to create a fantastic experience. And if there’s one thing fans of New Vegas can agree on, it’s that the DLC is just as essential as the base game. It’s something Obsidian absolutely knocked out of the park, turning what was an already darn good game into something transcendental. With Peril on Gorgon, Obsidian has the opportunity to recreate that feeling in the new generation of games, and it’s clear right from the start that they’ve swung for the fences.
Right from the beginning, the new content draws you into its story and atmosphere. A severed hand arrives in your ship, and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a mystery dealing with what happened to a research and development station that was rapidly evacuated. The first mission takes you into an old, dilapidated mansion that’s almost entirely empty and unused, save for the obscenely wealthy woman tucked all the way in the back and the robots that keep everything tidy. It’s an incredibly unnerving sequence, even though there’s nothing actually threatening, which is an incredible feat of atmosphere. The atmosphere persists once we finally land on the new planet, Gorgon. There’s people there, and some semblance of community, but it never stops feeling like a place where something terrible happened.
As you get to explore the ruins of what was once a facility filled with scientists and corporate spokespeople, Obsidian’s real strength gets to shine; the way the story and history of the world is laid throughout computer terminal entries, leftover journals, and elsewhere within the world itself. The mystery makes reading terminal entries feel rewarding, as they let the player slowly uncover what happened to Gorgon on their own. All the important parts will be reiterated in dialogue when necessary, but the sense of figuring out the mystery by yourself is something that Obsidian does a fantastic job creating. By the end of the story, Peril on Gorgon has taken you into a whole new planet to explore, and expanded upon pre-existing areas that flesh the world out even further. It feels like a complete story and a worthwhile addition to The Outer Worlds, and from a worldbuilding standpoint I came away from the DLC completely satisfied.
The storyline here is really well-done, too. The Outer Worlds‘ story was always about the evils of capitalism and how horrific it can become if left unchecked, and this story adds an extra layer into that overarching theme. As the quest line progresses, you discover more and more how the disdain for individual workers and the adherence to taking the cheapest route possible caused something terrible to happen to the entire galaxy. By the end, you’ve learned everyone’s varying motives for their actions, and it paints an incredibly intricate picture of Gorgon and the fallout of the incident there. The final choice to make feels like an easy one, but both sides are so convinced of their own ideas that both outcomes are incredibly interesting. I’m doing my best to not spoil what happens, because honestly it’s great.
The gameplay changes in this DLC aren’t particularly noteworthy: the level cap has been increased to thirty-three and the skill cap has been increased to one-hundred fift. Which is honestly a little bit frustrating if you go into the DLC with a max-level character like I did, because it’s not possible to reach that skill cap when you only have 3 levels to gain. I’m sure that the game plays a lot better with this raised skill cap from the beginning, but in the case of playing with a max-level character from the point of no return, it’s not really an ideal situation.
There’s a few new enemies as well, but honestly I didn’t really get any enjoyment out of them. There’s some poisonous primals that are a chore to get through, and some new marauder types. To be fair, this is also on me, I play the game on the easiest difficulty because the way I enjoy playing it is not conducive to being good at the combat. So for players who actually like the combat system, I’m sure it’ll feel more rewarding. But for me, it just ended up feeling like an additional obstacle to get to the good parts.
As a whole, this DLC is definitely worth it for people who enjoyed the base game. It’s purely additive, bringing layers of depth into the world and story, and feels really polished. Everything feels deliberate and worthwhile, and there’s hours and hours of content to get lost in all over again. If the second DLC is anywhere near this level of quality, the season pass will feel like a steal.