I’m sure every RPG-loving gamer has, at least once in their lives, made the attempt to load up a long-forgotten save file in whatever meaty role playing game has suddenly re-entered their conscious mind. Maybe you meant to finish it months or years ago and only just found the time or maybe – as is the case in this particular story – some new content dropped that promises to revitalise the game and further the experience you already loved. Whatever the reason, when it comes time to actually sit down and boot that game up it’ll almost always start along the lines of:
“What in the hell am I meant to be doing again?”
RPGs, especially ones as dense and stat-filled as Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds are exceedingly tough things to just ‘jump back into’ at the best of times. Trying to remember where you’re at in a complex narrative, poring over your inventory to figure out what stuff is good and what isn’t, realising you don’t have a clue what ‘N-ray’ damage is? Now imagine all that, but worse – try dropping back into The Outer Worlds after a year, ready to check out the huge, new expansion with someone else’s save.
That’s exactly what I’ve had to do this past few days, although to the credit of those involved it’s been in service of checking out the full Peril on Gorgon expansion ahead of time on PC (I reviewed the game’s original release on PlayStation 4). I’ve been keen to get my hands on Peril on Gorgon since it was announced back in July, and nothing was going to stop me getting my hands on it, not even shirking my shrewd, stealthy playstyle to traipse around the Gorgon asteroid as a dimwitted heavy gunner named Nova.
Let’s wind it back a bit though and talk about what kind of expansion Peril on Gorgon is. Slotted neatly into the base game and accessible as soon as the main game’s Monarch story path is done with, the DLC adds a new storyline set in the brand-new location of the Gorgon asteroid. After receiving a morbidly-embellished package from a mysterious freelancer named Lucky Montoya, the crew of The Unreliable finds themselves following a lead to a derelict Spacer’s Choice colony on said asteroid and slowly uncovering a large scale cover-up involving a seemingly innocuous item from the base game. Adrena-Time was one of many consumables that players could imbibe by way of their inhaler, and still can, but that’s probably the most anyone had thought about it. That alone has already made Peril on Gorgon so immediately interesting to me in the scant few hours I’ve played so far – there’s something so very The Outer Worlds about looking over the obvious exploration of the deep lore of Halcyon or its numerous, three-dimensional characters and instead making a whole expansion about an item.
That’s not a negative indictment, either. Far from it. If anything it’s a testament to just how sure the team at Obsidian is of itself, this is their game and their universe and if this is the corner of that universe they want to dig into then so be it. They also know what fans loved about The Outer Worlds, and so far all signs point to Peril on Gorgon honing in on the best parts of the main game and delivering them again with confidence. In just those short hours I’ve experienced the same dry humour, the same darkly biting satire and nuanced character writing. Obsidian are also not above gleefully slapstick moments like the robot guide at the very outset of the expansion who urges you to ‘stick to the path’ before bailing right off a cliff face, or cheeky in-jokes for keen eyes. The world and mission structure exhibits the same ‘breadcrumb’ philosophy whereby I’ll be headed down a clear path with a goal only to be distracted by some shiny thing in a crate or a marauder head that’s not yet exploded and invariably wind up on a completely different mission of my own or Obsidian’s design. It’s not a new concept by any stretch but it’s an ideal that feels so integral to The Outer Worlds and is, so far, in full swing again here.
It’s hard to say too much more about Peril on Gorgon just yet. I have, as described, spent much of my time so far just remembering how to play the thing. But what I’ve seen so far is incredibly promising, and there is much promise to come. I’m excited to see where this quest takes me; the seeds have certainly been sown for a journey stacked with intrigue and drama of the outlandish kind. I’m excited to hit the new level cap and play around with the wild new perks and science weapons coming my way. Mostly, I’m excited to spend more time with my pals Max and Parvati, who I missed terribly. I’ll be playing my way through the rest of the expansion over the next while before launch to bring you a full review, but for now it’s looking like The Outer Worlds fans are going to want to pencil a trip to Gorgon into their near-future plans.