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The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon Review: PoGgers? (PC)

Obsidian’s excellent The Outer Worlds has finally received its first expansion. Aside from adding a new map to explore, Peril on Gorgon offers new quests, characters, enemies, loot and lore, as well as a level cap increase from 30 to 33. While having more to do in a great game is always a good thing, one question remains: Is this DLC worth the asking price of $14.99?

Peril on Gorgon Review PoGgers? PC

Peril on Gorgon is the first DLC for Obsidian’s space opera and adds 6 to 8 hours of stuff to do. Investigate an abandoned Spacer’s Choice operation on the asteroid Gorgon. Fight, explore, loot and make meaningful choices, same as always. For better and for worse.

If you’re looking for information on the base game, check out our review of The Outer Worlds.

Peril on Gorgon is currently available on the Epic Store, PS4 and Xbox One, with a Nintendo Switch release to follow.

STORY – More Fallout than ever

Peril on Gorgon kicks off with a transmission from the absurdly wealthy Wilhelmina Ambrose. She asks you to join her in her mansion overlooking the titular asteroid Gorgon. The job she offers seems simple at first: Whatever Spacer’s Choice was doing on Gorgon, something went horribly wrong. Find her mother’s research journal, uncover the truth and clear the Ambrose family name.

Unluckily for Ms. Ambrose, my secondary character is a genocidal lunatic who literally (literally, not figuratively) murdered every single person in Halcyon for no good reason. Killing Wilhelmina after your first meeting will see Spacer’s Choice reaching out to you, offering you basically the same job. Several events throughout the quest changed after that, though you’ll still be going through the same locations looking for the same items.

Obsidian's trademark humor is fully intact.

Obsidian’s trademark humor is fully intact.

Gorgon’s story is somewhat reminiscent of Monarch’s: A company shows up, brings people and equipment, royally screws up the place, leaves and ditches most of its staff. While its backstory isn’t new even for The Outer Worlds itself, Peril on Gorgon is easily the darkest the game gets. Without going into spoilers, PoG brings back all the best memories of exploring Vaults in Fallout. E-mails, notes, recordings, items and corpses are expertly placed across Gorgon’s dungeons, allowing you to gradually piece together the events that led to the demise of the operation. Reading everything I could find on my first play through, I spent more time staring at computer screens than fighting marauders. If you enjoy the mix of dark humor and social commentary in Obsidian’s writing, you’ll find a lot to love here.

I was a little disappointed by the distribution of important decisions; a few of them are at the very beginning, and the rest are at the very end. These choices do feel meaningful, but their placement means you’ll spend the hours in-between unable to influence the course of events in any way,

There were several moments in which the events of the base game affected the outcome of encounters in the DLC. Best girl Parvati was able to get me into a heavily guarded area using a connection she’s made during the most wholesome quest in video game history, for example.

She's too pure for this, or any world.

She’s too pure for this, or any, world.

The choices you make will be accounted for during your ending, same as any other planet*.

Obsidian did an excellent job tying the expansion into the main game; if it wasn’t for the quests being specifically marked as part of Peril on Gorgon you’d never know the difference. Instead of tacking on a separate story, they chose to make the existing story larger.

*I am aware Gorgon is an asteroid, not a planet.

WHEN TO TACKLE PERIL ON GORGON

Obsidian recommends a party of level 25 for this adventure, but even on Supernova you should be able to power through it earlier than that. Even going in without companions, you’ll succeed with the right combination of stealth and brute force. And the Prismatic Hammer.

A space-bird's view of Gorgon.

A space-bird’s view of Gorgon.

So you can play PoG as soon as it unlocks, but I suggest you leave it until right before the finale. My secondary character started the quest at level 18 and went all the way up to 30 by the end, completely throwing any semblance of balance out the window for the rest of the game. If you don’t mind that, go right ahead.

THE GAMEPLAY – Same ol’ same ol’

Level up!

Two significant changes are the increased level and skill caps. Now your character can reach level 33, making them more overpowered than ever. Also, skills can be raised to 150, adding a Virtuoso ability for those who specialize to the max. These new passives are insanely powerful to the point of being complete nonsense. Getting your Sneak to 150 will somehow silence any shot that kills a target in one hit, allowing you to pick off entire encounters without actually fighting anyone. A Virtuoso of Heavy Weapons can obliterate the basic laws of time and space by instantly reloading their big guns while firing. While I enjoy making fun of how stupid these abilities are I can’t deny how hilariously awesome some of them are. The rule of cool definitely applies; you probably weren’t looking for realism in your comedic sci-fi RPG anyway.

Who wouldn't want to chain-feed their flamethrower?

Who wouldn’t want to chain-feed their flamethrower?

I do have an actual problem with this part of the DLC. My primary character was already at level 30, so I could only gain 3 levels, and subsequently, 30 skill points. Since the previous limit was 100, I was unable to get any of my skills to 150. I honestly felt cheated.

I assume the level cap will be raised again with the next expansion but I want my stupid, overpowered skills now.

Since my secondary character previously made it to the end game without completing many quests, they were only level 18 when I started PoG. I became a Science Virtuoso on my more murderous time around.

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon- Official Trailer ESRB

Combat & Exploration

I praised Peril on Gorgon’s story for blending in perfectly with the main game, so it’s weirdly fitting that the same is my main criticism when it comes to gameplay. Aside from a turret enemy I don’t remember seeing before, all human, animal and mechanical enemies are simple recolors of existing foes. I never had to adjust my strategy and none of the encounters were even remotely surprising.

Same ol' primals, but with poison.

Same ol’ primals, but with poison.

Exploration is the same as always; there are a few puddles of damaging liquid and about… four booby traps? I enjoyed running around, killing, looting and completing quests, but the environments lack interesting features. Given the events on Gorgon, the developers should have considered a facility leaking a chemical gas that has the same mind-altering effects as the drug manufactured there. Again, without going into too much detail, this would have been a way to communicate an important part of the story with gameplay mechanics.

Graphics & Audio – A new coat of paint

This looks way too familiar.

This looks way too familiar.

While most of the overworld and the insides of dungeons look like Monarch in a different color, important structures are unique and distinct. Everything matches The Outer Worlds’s existing visual style perfectly, juxtaposing the gray and depressing industrial areas with vibrant yet deadly flora and fauna.

Voice acting is great as always; even the dialogue for minor NPCs is delivered with tons of personality. Aside from a new, mediocre jingle, I don’t think there’s any new music, which is disappointing. Peril on Gorgon looks and sounds exactly the same as the base game; I would have very much preferred had it had its own visual identity and soundscape.

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon was reviewed on PC. A review copy was provided by Tara Bruno PR.

Summary
There aren’t any mechanics that set Peril on Gorgon apart from the rest of the game. If you like The Outer Worlds, you’ll like PoG. While the expansion delivers more world-building, a few meaningful choices and solid gameplay, it does so in a way that’s virtually indistinguishable from what came before. If you absolutely cannot wait to return to Halcyon, Peril on Gorgon will scratch that itch just fine. If you’ve had your fill of The Outer Worlds, PoG doesn’t offer anything new and you’re safe to skip it.
Good
  • More of the same The Outer Worlds storytelling
Bad
  • More of the same The Outer Worlds gameplay
7.5
Good

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