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For: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: (R16) ★★★★
Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
Yes, one of the most enjoyable (not just because it is mercifully simple and brief) roleplaying romps in recent years is back for another whizz around outer space with its blend of comedy, steampunk-inspired costumes and weapons, and loot-and-shoot gameplay.
Murder On Eridanos is the second, and final, DLC for the 2019 game, following last year’s Peril On Gorgon instalment.
Where Gorgon was essentially more of the same — a few fun missions and side quests tacked on to the overall game — this is more like a standalone chapter, one that could very well be played independently of the main story (though you need to have reached a certain point to access it).
It’s a murder mystery, a follow-the-clues adventure that loops in all sorts of weird conspiracies and, naturally, a bunch of shady characters that might or might not have been involved.
The victim is "Halcyon Helen", a superstar actress, who has been murdered in an upmarket hotel on Eridanos, a previously inaccessible planet within the game.
Eridanos is a blaze of colour, a garishly decorated area that sort of takes the form of a collection of big floating rocks connected by bridges.
The gameplay is pretty much the same, understandably, as you have your existing character with all his/her weapons and mods. The key difference is that combat takes very much a back seat to exploration and problem-solving and dialogue interactions.
Your one significant new mechanic is the "discrepancy amplifier", a neat tool that is sort of a techno version of a magnifying glass. It buzzes when you are in the vicinity of a clue — footprints, bodies and blood, mostly. You zoom in and analyse for more clues.
There are lots of different dialogue avenues to explore with the characters, and while it would require a second or third playthrough to be sure, the presumption is it will allow you to take different paths to solving the murder.
Speaking of characters, the developers at Obsidian have clearly gone all out to send Outer Worlds out in style. Even by the base game’s standards, they represent hilarious levels of eccentricity and charisma, all whacky names and weird body bits and sharp wits.
The game made its mark by being fun to play and laced with jolly old space humour, and Eridanos takes that approach and amplifies it fourfold.
It’s a farewell, of sorts, to a relatively hidden gem of a game, and a world that keeps on giving through its accessible gameplay and comedic streak. Super fun all round.