The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon (Switch DLC) Review
A few months ago, I looked at The Outer Worlds when it first launched on the Switch. It was hyped up to be one of those ‘how can the Switch do this!?’ moments a la The Witcher III or Doom: Eternal – but the question was rapidly answered with an ‘oh, it kinda can’t’, with textures reduced to myopia simulation levels. Thankfully, with the release of its first DLC pack, Peril on Gorgon, The Outer Worlds is finally a playable experience.
We strange Nintendo people finally get graphical mod cons like volumetric clouds, shadows and readable text – it’s still blurry, but it’s absolutely nowhere near as bad, and if you squint, it almost looks good! Beautifully, this has been done without compromising to framerate, with even big firefights still staying at a stable 30fps. And this isn’t just in the confines of the new areas introduced with the DLC – it includes the whole base game. Thank goodness.
Let’s get into that fresh new content, though. After a severed arm clasping a mysterious message is delivered to your ship, The Unreliable, you’re whisked into a murder mystery investigation for eccentric heiress Minnie Ambrose on the planet Gorgon. It’s hooky, it feels true to the world, and more importantly doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game – it’s presented at a natural narrative lull in the main story, so you don’t feel like you’re ignoring something more important, and since it’s not tacked on the end you’ll still get the full narrative arc once you finish this mission. I don’t see many DLC packs delivered like this: those of us who’ve played Obsidian’s previous titles like Fallout: New Vegas will remember being slapped in the face by numerous DLC packs the instant you finish the tutorial. Outer Worlds’ disparate… well, worlds also mean that this feels no different to any other location, rather than being a separate instanced area in an otherwise open-world game. It even turns the trim 20 – 30 hour core experience into a meatier 30 – 40 hours! I just love how seamless and cohesive it feels.
Cohesive is one word, but safe is another I could use. The murder mystery is such a great introduction, but the actual content doesn’t involve a lot of actual investigation. In fact, it’s mostly just shooting marauders while the story happens around you. If you weren’t a fan of The Outer Worlds the first time around, nothing was added to the gameplay here. There’s a few new (mostly novelty) weapons, a new enemy that’s still essentially just marauders, and a story that unfolds with a fake Sophie’s Choice at its conclusion. Yep, there are two morally grey options to choose from at the end, with a third ‘correct’ decision available for those that selected the right options and invested a little more time. I understand that there are only so many ways to structure a branching narrative, but The Outer Worlds and Peril On Gorgon are both very transparent about it.
And look, that all sounds bad, but I enjoyed The Outer Worlds, and I enjoyed replaying it a second… okay, fifth time around to experience Peril on Gorgon. I didn’t enjoy reloading an old character though – as you can imagine would be the case, a partially constructed skill tree and inventory filled with decisions I don’t remember is tough to come back to, and it robs you of the seamless integration. That aside, though: the combat remains solid, with motion aiming fantastic to have in a Switch FPS (although, of course, it is disable-able, if that’s more to your taste). The new story, while transparently structured, still has great, entertaining writing and characters, with the same brand of dark anti-capitalist humour as the base game. Having unique dialogue and interactions between various combinations of companions, all relevant to the events happening before you, is still utterly charming: I stuck with Parvati and Nyoka most of the time but tested the waters with Felix and SAM as well. The Outer Worlds’ strength is in its flexibility and adaptability to match you – just like the original game, you can kill anyone, do anything, and the game will fit your actions. It’s still a marvel to see, even if you rarely end up in a completely different place.
Peril On Gorgon isn’t a brilliant, game-changing expansion, but it is a great, cohesive part of the Outer Worlds experience. It doesn’t feel like a reason to return to an old character – trying to re-familiarise yourself with the specific strategies of an old build is a pain, and it’ll rob you of the smooth fit this has with the rest of the game.
As an excuse to start from scratch, or for new players, it feels like part of a complete experience, which is far and above how I feel about most DLC. Adding to that is the fact that the base game also finally runs well on Switch – if you bounced on this before, it’s well worth a go now.
+ Graphics are finally visible
+ Seamlessly integrated into the main adventure
+ Great storyline hooks
- Samey enemies and fights
- Hollow decision making
- Tough to come back to an old character