Obsidian Entertainment and Private Divison’s The Outer Worlds has arguably become one of my favorite RPGs of the last five years. So when the Murder on Eridanos DLC was announced, I couldn’t wait to explore a new area of the colonies and see what kind of hilarious horrors awaited me there. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. This DLC delivers a thrilling narrative adventure full of unique characters and locations that fans of the base game will love. Murder on Eridanos provided a much-needed comical escape in the far reaches of space, which is a nice change of scenery from my apartment during this pandemic.
Elementary, my Dear Gamer
Murder on Eridanos thrusts you into the role of an investigator of a murder mystery. Due to your infamy in the colonies, you receive an urgent call aboard the Unreliable. Rizzo’s Corp Administrator Ludovico asks for your help with a situation. Halcyon Helen, the colonies’ most beloved serial star, has been murdered before the launch of Rizzo’s latest Spectrum Vodka on Eridanos. Ludovico asks that an outside investigator (you) travel to the planet to help solve this mystery before the murderer strikes again. Throughout your investigation, you’ll discover that everyone harbors secrets on Eridaos, and Halycon Helen’s murder may not be the only mystery to solve.
So what does every trusty investigator need to help them on their quest? A magnifying glass combined with an AI Watson, of course! This tool is called the Discrepancy Amplifier and it can even stun enemies in a pinch. The Discrepancy Amplifier helps you find hidden clues including footprints, causes of death and more. The mechanics behind this tool are smooth and even if you don’t have it equipped, you still get a notification when a clue is around. I especially loved that the Discrepancy Amplifier talks to you about your discoveries. At first, I thought the “assistant” role in this mystery would go to the companions, but it was delightful having this sleuthing-specific tool not only log clues but deliberate them with you.
When it comes to the investigation, the game doesn’t spoon-feed you. YOU get to deduce WHO actually DID IT. Within the Penthouse of The Grand Colonial (your HQ for the DLC), you receive a detailed clue wall that allows you to track every piece of information you encounter. Depending on what you discover via discrepancies, logs, or conversations, the wall will feature more information that you can later deduce from. Some mystery games tend to be strict with their culprit: the game either leads you to one decision or doesn’t let you proceed if you pick the “wrong” choice. In Murder on Eridanos, you can accuse someone (even yourself) and provide evidence. Ultimately, a cutscene happens right after this moment which leads to the reveal of the real culprit, but the fact that the game gives you options and choices is what makes this mystery riveting.
Audio Logs and Adversaries
Another unique feature of the DLC is that the Peril on Gorgon personal phonographs return! I was honestly hoping for a bit more audio log integration (if you know me and my love for Bioshock, you understand my love of worldbuilding audio logs). In Peril on Gorgon, their function was to piece together what happened to the abandoned outpost. Here, these audio logs serve as minor clues and flesh out life on Eridanos. The phonographs were such a pivotal part of the first DLC that I understand the team not wanting Murder on Eridanos to feel like a duplicate in any way. Although they were limited, ultimately, I was happy with the creative use of the phonographs in this DLC.
The only flat element I noticed in Murder on Eridanos was the lack of combat diversity. The game recommends you be at level 30 before starting this DLC. However, after so many hours of gameplay, it’s hard not to feel underwhelmed by the repetitive combat. There are, of course, new enemies and combat styles (namely consisting of splatter damage). Sadly, these elements alone do not present any unique challenges, so it wasn’t enough to impress me. I was more inclined to gun down enemies as fast as possible so I could explore the strongest parts of the DLC: the locations, story and characters.
The Perfect Scene for a Crime
Eridanos looks and feels a lot different than the other land-locked settings in The Outer Worlds. Its floating landscapes connected via bridges made me recall Bioshock Infinite – another game featuring a floating art-deco-styled city. Murder on Eridanos offers a rich variety of landscapes to explore: from sprawling orchards to a compact and industrial spaceport. Unfortunately, sometimes running across the bridges to get to the next location would drag story momentum. Fortunately, the DLC provides the option to quick travel, so getting back and forth across Eridanos for various quests can be easy and fluid.
Similarly, it was fun seeing another “wealthy” side of the colonies. The stunning Grand Colonial Hotel architecture, hoity-toity NPCs and impressive Rizzos facilities all existing within Eridanos’ unique floating wilds are a delight to discover. After hunting down Mantisaurs in Monarch’s wilds and wastes, it was a visual and cultural breath of fresh air. I was always fascinated by the prosperous city Byzantium in the base game, so visiting the vacation spot for the elite and the manufacturing home of Rizzos was quite refreshing (wink). Moreover, observing the gaudy luxury of Eridanos compared to the many poor and industrial areas in The Outer Worlds further drives this dystopia home.
I’m also a sucker for games deeply exploring the lore of the worlds they’ve built. Murder on Eridanos gives a fun, deep dive into the entertainment industry of the colonies. This is something players have only seen through artistic posters or hearing about serials throughout the base game. Interacting with famous actors and tossball players sheds a unique light on what it’s like to be a celebrity in the far reaches of space. Of course, what you uncover about Halycon Helen only further expands this lifestyle (but I’ll let you discover that yourself). And amidst the gleam and glamor of Eridanos, The Outer Worlds continues to challenge players with more critical questions beneath its fun and thrilling surface. What is the price of happiness? And does revenge justify death?
A Mystery for the Ages
The team behind Murder on Eridanos clearly did their research when crafting this hilariously fun adventure. It’s got everything you want from a classic Whodunit: misdirection, a unique cast of characters, motives, methods and all within a fantastic setting. As you move deeper into the mystery, more and more becomes uncovered, not just about Halycon Helen’s death, but Eridanos itself. What is Rizzos hiding in that big factory of theirs? Can Sublight Salvage and Shipping Underground truly be trusted? Perhaps Helen’s latest serial isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.
All of the characters in this thriller have the same comedic charm I’ve come to expect from The Outer Worlds. Everyone is a suspect and I had a blast uncovering their motives and learning more about them. From kooky coroners to acclaimed acting robots, you can tell how much creativity went into this expansion. And speaking of creativity, each companion has a unique set of dialogue and remarks throughout the DLC. I had so much fun going back and replaying various sections to see what Vicar Max and Nyoka would say instead of Parvati and Sam. Luckily, the game puts all your companions conveniently in the Grand Colonial Penthouse. This allows you to easily switch up your team during your various quests. All in all, it is the narrative and characters that truly drive this DLC.
If you love a good murder mystery, classic sci-fi thrillers and The Outer Worlds, I highly recommend you pick up this DLC. You can truly feel the care and imaginativeness that the team behind Murder on Eridanos put into this expansion. I have loved exploring The Outer Worlds since 2019 and believe that this DLC is a delightful must-play installment in the series. Although Obsidian states this is the final expansion, one can hope this is not the last we see of The Outer Worlds. To the team behind the title, I raise a glass of Rizzo’s Spectrum Vodka in thanks for such an incredible adventure.
This review was originally published 4/17/21
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