Murder on Eridanos, the final DLC for space RPG The Outer Worlds, will release on 17th March, but we were able to review it in advance.
Similar to Peril On Gorgon (which we also did a review on), Murder on Eridanos is another DLC with a heavy focus on narrative. In order to start the new DLC, players need to access Stellar Bay before being able to travel to the planet Eridanos.
On Eridanos, a murder mystery awaits. However, before you can tackle that mystery, this review will help you solve the mystery of “should you get the DLC or not?”
Carry on reading to find out!
Connecting the dots
As one can expect from the title of the DLC, someone was murdered on Eridanos. However, this is not just some Average Joe. Rather, it is Ruth Bellamy, a famous actress and spokesperson for Rizzo’s Spectrum Vodka. The Unreliable Crew has to put on their Sherlock Holmes hat as you try to solve the mystery behind Bellamy’s death.
As such, the DLC is basically a whodunit together with FPS elements. The highlight of the DLC is the clue-hunting and NPC-questioning scattered throughout the duration of the DLC. Depending on how much you enjoy Obsidian Entertainment’s writing and mysteries in general, your enjoyment of the DLC will vary greatly.
This is because players have a lot of freedom in their approach to mystery-solving. It is possible to even convince others that you, the player, is responsible for the murder. While this level of freedom in terms of dialogue choices is normally praised, I cannot say the same for this DLC.
The issue I have with giving too much narrative control to the player is that the overall investment to the mystery is diminished. I find myself less and less drawn to the mystery, but more and more interested in making dumb decisions just for giggles. While this may appeal to some, for those looking to be wholly immersed in problem solving and deductions, this is an issue.
Space gadgets to the rescue
While there are new weapons, armours and even perks, nothing too groundbreaking winds up in the DLC, except the Discrepancy Amplifier. Step aside, magnifying glasses and observation, for the Discrepancy Amplifier is your one-stop solution for clue-hunting.
While it can be used as a weapon, chances are, a fly swatter hurts more. Instead, its greatest use is in revealing clues and unlocking new quest options. The Discrepancy Amplifier alerts players when they are close to a particular clue, providing analysis and even the occasional humorous quip.
Unfortunately, in the same way how too many interesting dialogue options takes away from actually solving the mystery, having a convenient clue-hunting device does the same thing. Looking for clues is like finding the right puzzle pieces to complete a big picture. When clue hunting is reduced to merely going to point A or B hoping for the Discrepancy Amplifier to trigger, part of the joy of exploring and uncovering your own clues diminish. While the Discrepancy Amplifier’s personality does fit the overall tone and atmosphere of the DLC, it takes away from the problem-solving.
Firstly, do not expect any revolutionary new content or mechanics. Gameplay remains largely unchanged from the first-person shooter formula. Depending on how high your level is or your weapons, fights may or may not be largely trivialised.
In particular, Eridanos and its environments are highly detailed and beautiful. The blend between retro and futuristic backdrops add life to a DLC about death. For me, the vibrant colours are a pleasure to look at
However, load times are an issue. While there is fast travel, it can take about 10 seconds just to load a new map. Even though the load screen art does look neat, the loading times can get rather annoying, especially since players will need to travel back and forth frequently in this DLC.
Besides that, there is one new boss and several new enemies to face. Overall, I took about 3 and a half hours to complete the DLC, ignoring sidequests.
The verdict is….
Regardless of who you decide to pin the blame on, Murder on Eridanos is a well-written DLC that shoots itself in the foot with its approach in actually solving the mystery. Giving freedom to the player is excellent, but doing it at the expense of the charm and weight of the mystery itself is not.
Other than that, the pretty environments but extremely short gameplay further leaves the player hanging. Murder on Eridanos is a mixed bag of good ideas and poor execution that could have been so much more.
Thus, if you are a huge fan of Obsidian Entertainment’s writing or if you can stomach the issues described in this review, you may consider getting Murder on Eridanos. Otherwise, I do not recommend buying it, especially if you are someone who loves a compelling mystery or thriller.
The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos
Interesting dialogue and short gameplay that ends up detracting from the mystery
- Beautiful environments
- Humorous and well crafted dialogue
- Lacklustre immersion to the actual mystery
- Annoying load times
- Extremely short
Could have been so much more