Trouble On The Moon

HIGH The crisscrossing tale of a corporate cover-up.

LOW Zero onboarding assistance after a year.

WTF The speech check challenges seem unusually difficult?

Is it just me, or should videogame developers band together and forge a standard operating procedure for onboarding players into DLC that comes long after the initial game’s release? I’m awfully tired of finishing something, forgetting about it, and then picking up some late-arriving DLC a year later and having no idea what the hell I’m doing.

Maybe an option to replay a tutorial? An opening scene in every DLC to get me familiar with the controls and story again? A cutscene to refresh my memory on quests, factions and alliances?

I can’t say I have all the answers, but I can say that The Outer Worlds’ DLC Peril on Gorgon is the latest in a long line of titles thrusting me back into their universes for a new adventure with no proper re-entry after I’ve long forgotten what happened and what I’m supposed to do. Developers might hope that players remember the entire game up to that point, but in the year since I played it, a lot has happened (see: 2020) and my memory is only so sharp.

This problem isn’t isolated to ToW specifically, but it did have two distinct barriers for entry when I loaded up Peril on Gorgon.

The first issue is that I had completely forgotten that the original campaign has a finite endpoint, and finding a save that would let me start the content was a matter of trial and error. The one that worked was near the end before the final, climactic quest. This meant I felt immediately out of place knowing that I was a step away from the high stakes finale and had to put that story on hold at its eleventh hour to do the DLC.

My second issue is that ToW gave me zero clues as to how to start the new quest. The game features a planet-hopping ship and multiple locations to visit, so I had to travel to two random planets before the onboard computer would alert me to the new quest’s existence. Strange.

However, despite all my complaints about clumsily implementing DLC, I must say that when Peril on Gorgon finally got going, it was an entertaining ride.

For those who need a refresher on The Outer Worlds, I’ll point you to Josh Tolentino’s review. This review will cover only Peril on Gorgon.

This add-on begins when events lead the player to a moon that was thought to be deserted. The daughter of a corporate scientist went missing, so the player is hired to find out what happened. Because TOW is a capitalism satire, the mom was working on an experimental drug aimed at energizing the working class for their factory jobs. What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out.

As with any Obsidan-penned story, not everything is as it seems, and the quests took many twists and turns as I explored the moon and talked to its inhabitants. I won’t spoil anything here, but the DLC’s conclusion wasn’t nearly as predictable as I expected it to be.

Mechanically, Gorgon is classic ‘more-of-the-same’ DLC, and that’s not a criticism. This meaty 10-hour quest also features the same gameplay as the main campaign – exploring new areas, fighting both humans and monsters on different planets and schmoozing with locals to gain information about the corporations.

If I have any specific complaints about the content itself, it’s that new weapons, armor and perks are introduced but I didn’t find any equipment I preferred over what I was already using.

On top of that, Obsidian raised the level cap from 30 to 33 for the DLC, which seems stingy to me. I had reached Level 30 well before starting the DLC, and only leveling up three times over the 10 hours I spent with it was a disappointment. A higher level cap would have been preferred.

With that said, I admit that my complaints are little more than splitting because I did enjoy Peril on Gorgon.

The hours spent uncovering a science experiment gone wrong kept me invested, not to mention the sidestories that were also available — if I needed a break from dangerous drug labs I could track down documents from a reporter, assist a search party, break up an argument in a bar and more. Players who enjoyed The Outer Worlds and are itching for a reason to jump back in will find Peril on Gorgon a perfectly good reason to do so — just try to refresh your memory as best you can first.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Obsidian and published by Private Division This copy of the DLC was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PS4. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M with descriptors for Strong Language, Intense Violence, and Blood and Gore. The official ESRB description is as follows: “This is an action role-playing game in which players assume the role of a colonist in a space colony. From a first-person perspective, players explore an open-world environment, interact with characters, complete mission objectives, and battle alien creatures. Players use blasters, machine guns, and shotguns to kill creatures and human enemies in frenetic combat; action is highlighted by slow-motion and blood-splatter effects. Players can also shoot and kill civilians, though this may negatively affect players’ progress. Some attacks result in decapitation and dismemberment of creatures. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” are heard throughout the game.

Colorblind Modes: According to Obsidian, the game was explicitly designed to be playable independent of color information. However, it has no colorblind modes selectable..

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All dialogue, cinematics, and combat barks are reflected in text and visual interface elements. User Interface and subtitle text can be changed among 11 sizes. There are no audio cues needed for gameplay, though some enemies may attack players from behind.

Remappable Controls: On PS4, the controls are not customizable, however the game has four control maps with a right- or left-hand option available for each setting. Y and X Axes can be standard or inverted and many control stick sensitivity and dead zone sliders are available.

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