At some point during the past year of madness and isolation, I developed a burning need to revisit Obsidian Entertainment’s Mojave Wasteland in the much beloved Fallout: New Vegas. Maybe it was something someone said, maybe it was because that game absolutely slaps, maybe it was just a burning need to carry a big iron on my hip, it’s truly a mystery. What is known, however, is that Obsidian’s deep rpgs tend to have a good deal of staying power, even years later. Time will tell whether The Outer Worlds will live up to the decade of longevity that’s post-apocalyptic sibling can boast, but, with the newest expansion, Murder on Eridanos, it can certainly last the year and a half after it’s release.
The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos takes players to the luxurious Grand Colonial Hotel on the titular planet to investigate the murder of the serial starlet and alcohol spokesperson Halcyon Helen before the launch of a new boozey product. The whole thing is staged as a pulpy noir-style mystery with the player in stepping into the role of persistent gumshoe on the case. If adapting existing games into in depth murder mysteries a la Hitman 3 and now this, I am absolutely here for it. While I have a soft spot for the litany of janky Sherlock Holmes games and their ilk, they tend to to feel more like doing myriad puzzles than actually solving mysteries, and you can’t even frame people. You can absolutely frame suckers in Murder on Eridanos.
Most of the gameplay around Murder on Eridanos involves interrogating the colourful folks around Eridanos and searching for clues with your fancy new sciencey magnifying glass. That would be the Discrepancy Amplifier, a sassy new science weapon used to produce images and examine clues and definitely not accidentally blast a cop in the face at a crime scene immediately after getting the thing. No one would ever do such a silly thing. There are a few additional new weapons and combat with fun new enemies, but the recommended level for this content is 30, placing it squarely as endgame material so you likely have a kit locked down at this point, and combat isn’t really stellar nor the main draw here.
The writing is back to the high water mark left by the original game with genuinely funny moments and interesting characters abound. The main story is interesting enough, taking players on a tour of the various floating islands surrounding the hotel, and a wealth of side quests scattered along the way are certainly welcome excuses to further languish in the sharply written and comedic dialogue. Ignored co-starts, shady crime bosses, jealous exes are only a few of the possible perpetrators of Halcyon Helen’s tragic undoing, and it could be any one of them.
With a opulent luxury hotel at the heart of this expansion, it could be easy to assume that the environments would get egregiously samey, but the other floating islands making up the gas planet Eridanos offer a wide variety of places to explore, from vibrant fields to candy coloured distilleries and even a shady crime den, there is plenty of room for sightseeing around the planet. With the addition of a temporary base of operations, complete with a murder board to track the clues and characters, there’s really no reason to go back to the ship in this self-contained adventure.
It’s good that there are so many sights to see because players will find themselves trekking back and forth around the map fairly often, which can feel tedious at times. Ultimately, though, it’s a small complaint in what is an interesting and engaging experiment in first person crime busting. I don’t think this will supplant New Vegas as my go-to open world Obsidian branded rpg in the long run, but if this is any sign of what sort of shenanigans has planned for future games, I am excited to see what happens. As of now, this is the final bit of DLC for The Outer Worlds, and I think it leaves the game in a pretty positive place overall for a game that struck a cord with a lot of people. Either way, it’s certainly better than Peril on Gorgon by a wide margin.