Obsidian gleefully and unabashedly took a lot of different aspects of the RPG genre and successfully mashed them with its own creative ideas to make The Outer Worlds, one of 2019’s strongest experiences. And now Obsidian is going down another path well-worn by role-playing games: expansions. Peril on Gorgon is the title’s first piece of DLC and, like the best of its peers, it meaningfully adds to the core campaign while also utilizing its best qualities and, in some cases, improving upon them.
Out of this world
Gorgon, in this instance, is not a snake-haired beast capable of turning humans to stone but an asteroid with a secret facility on its shielded surface. And even though that sounds like a dry setting, it’s one of the most visually appealing stages in the entire game. Vibrant blue plants, toxic green sludge, and the prevalent purple protective outer layer lend the rock a surprisingly varied color palette and mesh together the best parts of Monarch and the woefully underutilized Scylla asteroid from the campaign.
It’s both new and familiar as it has Halcyon’s signature signs of its destructive late-stage capitalism — dilapidated workplaces and once-pristine living quarters — but puts them on a different and equally alien hunk of rock. Gorgon also has the best ambient track in the game and is yet another reason why this expansion is a standout on almost all fronts.
A severed hand, a journal, and one mysterious, well, mystery
It’s a tune with an err of secrecy about it, which fits Peril on Gorgon’s overall aesthetic. A smooth-talking heiress named Wilhelmina Ambrose summons you to her mansion and tasks you with finding her mother’s journal that’s been locked away on Gorgon, the cursed asteroid floating just beneath her fancy estate.
She’s willing to pay handsomely for that journal as it holds some sentimental value to her, giving the tale a personal touch. But the straightforward errand quickly forfeits its simplicity as the pieces fall together and something much grander begins to reveal itself. Wilhelmina’s mother, Gorgon’s history, and Halcyon as a whole — all are aspects of different scales that work in tandem to create a mystery that works well whether you zoom in or all the way out.
What happened on Gorgon? Why is her mother’s journal so important? What was Gorgon’s role in Halcyon? Every mission yields a little more context into one or more of those areas and blends them all together while not forgetting to also reflect back on the main campaign, which is one of Peril on Gorgon’s best strengths. Despite one obvious twist, its mystery works as a self-contained narrative but works even better when seeing how it slots into the universe at large as it works well within its established themes.
And it does this all while utilizing the best parts of The Outer Worlds. Characters are memorable and quick-witted, often slipping in some expertly timed and well-crafted jokes in between their succinct and helpful worldbuilding explanations. Missions are often goofy in nature as they either cleverly satirize the anti-worker sentiment and overbearing corporations that have ravaged the galaxy or are built around a good, dumb bit. Llama? Llama, indeed.
A lot of these quests not only have a couple alternate paths and dialogue choices, but many can even branch in a few ways. For example, in typical Outer Worlds fashion, you can murder Wilhelmina the second you lay eyes on her, which forces the game to adapt and show you similar events through a different filter. All of these routes and choices make Peril on Gorgon inherently replayable and worth running through at least a couple times to see all of the ins and outs.
The Outer Worlds Peril on Gorgon DLC Review | The final verdict
Frankly, none of this should be too surprising. Even though it’s disappointing that there are no new companions, noteworthy enemies, or gameplay systems, Peril on Gorgon is excellent for many of the same reasons that the main game was excellent. Its well-paced and immaculately written story, rock-solid comedic foundation, and open-ended RPG gameplay have carried over without losing their luster and are, in some ways, at their best here. Gorgon might be a dangerous rock that has been overrun by hostile Marauders, but it’s one heck of a spot for a hilarious and engaging multi-hour tale of intrigue.
Game Revolution reviewed The Outer Worlds Peril on Gorgon DLC on PC. Code provided by the publisher.