The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos DLC Review for PC.
Like its first piece of DLC, The Outer Worlds proved that a bit of ingenuity can go a long way when coupled with quality and a level of polish that exceeds the genre’s admittedly weak standards. The game didn’t do a whole lot of new things but it did them all so well. Murder on Eridanos, the game’s second and final piece of DLC, doesn’t sway from that pattern and caps off the incredible RPG with a killer expansion to die for.
It’s not exactly worth actually dying over but that level of hyperbole fits right in with Murder on Eridanos’ dramatic, pulpy tone. Galaxy sweetheart and film star Halcyon Helen has been murdered and a mysterious figure has summoned the captain of the Unreliable to sort it all out.
Beep beep beep!
That murder mystery sits at the core of the episode and influences the established fundamentals of the game. Players now have access to the Discrepancy Amplifier, a gun that lets them deduce certain clues when they get in range. These clues are hard to miss since it loudly beeps when near one, but it still encourages paying attention to detail like any true space detective. The gadget itself even has a dry sense of humor that makes it much more than just a booping mystery helper.
But the smart writing goes far beyond the Discrepancy Amplifier since the entire package is filled with the razor-sharp wit Obsidian is notorious for. Murder of Eridanos is filled with excellently named, quirky characters that deliver multiple golden lines every interaction. A clueless has-been, a meathead Tossball star, one diva actor robot, a Steve Urkel-esque intern, and more all round out the cast in different ways but all with the same top-notch dialogue and voice acting. Few, if any, games are as funny as often.
Playing a galactic gumshoe
Murder on Eridanos excels because of how it coats its dialogue with the aforementioned noir backdrop. The player can go into a full parody of a trench coat-wearing detective that cartoonishly chomps on a cigar and tastes every clue from the poison to the dirt. There are even options that let users pin the crime on a hapless bellhop or, even better, take credit for the murder itself. Such flexibility and silly execution within such a serious genre lets the game play with norms while also following them when appropriate.
The mystery at the center of this murder mystery holds up its end for the most part, too. There are many players on Eridanos who have enough of a motive to off Halcyon Helen, but it’s up to the player to decide how it all stacks up. And deciding who was just unlucky and who could have actually done it is mostly well done since being a detective intuitively fits with the choice-heavy dialogue system that’s already central to the game.
Of course, “mostly” still applies since there are a couple of slight missteps. The game’s setup inadvertently points at one subject over all the others and one of the twists is rather obvious since the game doesn’t establish other possible identities for the elusive mystery character. Both are just small issues that only briefly stick out because of the how remarkable the storytelling is otherwise.
It’s a relatively meaty story, too, and is around 12 hours when combined with the multiple side missions that sprawl over the many different areas on the beautiful jet-powered floating rock that is Eridanos. Murder on Eridanos uses this time to not just tell a murder mystery, but also has the space to fold in its signature, sci-fi-tinged late-stage capitalism themes without being overstuffed or rushing through its beats. Obsidian’s talent in creating such a multifaceted script is nearly unmatched.
The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos DLC Review: The final verdict
Aside from annoying mega canids that can loop their stun-lock attacks and a handful of interesting weapons, Murder on Eridanos doesn’t add many new gameplay features to its arsenal. It’s mainly just more Outer Worlds, but that’s not a problem when the quality is this high. Interviewing witnesses and potential suspects is a chance for players to more actively engage with its branching dialogue systems and focus on Obsidian’s knack for writing bizarre, loveable, and hilarious characters that appropriately skewer corporate capitalism. It hones in on The Outer Worlds’ strengths and is an excellent way to send off one of the best RPGs in years.
Game Revolution reviewed The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos on PC. Code provided by the publisher. Murder on Eridanos is also on PS4 and Xbox One.