Switch owners have always had an uncomfortable run with The Outer Worlds. It’s a good, nearly fantastic RPG from one of the biggest and best western RPG developers, published by Xbox Game Studios, designed for a much more powerful system – and yet somehow, it made it across onto the little old Nintendo Switch. But with that has come delays – Murder on Eridanos, The Outer Worlds’ final piece of DLC, released almost six months ago on every platform bar Switch. And with that has come performance penalties: yep, there’s a limit to how much the Switch can be pushed, and it’s below what this game demands. But it’s playable, and the 2016 Nintendo fan inside me that just wanted any third party support for the Wii U tells me to be grateful for it. I won’t rehash myself in detail though: it runs fine, your mileage will vary depending on how much you can tolerate feeling like you need to go for an eye test.
So what about the actual meat of Murder on Eridanos? Well, it’s some tasty meat indeed. Where Peril On Gorgon tripped over its exciting murder mystery premise, Murder on Eridanos embraces it wholeheartedly. Halcyon Helen, spokesperson for Rizzo Spectrum Vodka and popular actress, has been murdered (cue dramatic music). You’re called in by Rizzo for a special investigation to determine the culprit – and boy howdy, is it some investigation. You’re given the Discrepancy Amplifier – essentially a high-tech magnifying glass slash gun – and a base of operations in the Grand Colonial Hotel complete with a classic string-connecting-pictures-on-the-wall setup.
Most of the gameplay in this DLC consists of following clues and interrogating suspects: the Discrepancy Amplifier offers instructions and guidance for your next steps, and the interviews span a massive cast of characters all with their own quirks and motivations. It’s a joy to run through, and really leans into the strengths of this development team. The Outer Worlds – and Obsidian’s other properties, for that matter, such as Fallout New Vegas – have always been highly regarded for their branching, interesting narratives and funny, exciting writing over their combat. This even lets you properly accuse someone of murder at the end – no cop-out on-rails stuff here. I love a good detective story and Murder on Eridanos does not disappoint.
Well, almost. There are a few things. I spoke about this at length in my original Outer Worlds review and it continues to be true: there is a proper, defined ending, and you’re guided towards it heavily, which hurts the feeling that you’re playing a truly branching narrative. I did mention the combat taking a backseat, and while it’s definitely reduced compared to the fairly action-packed missions of the main story, it’s very much still here. The level cap is raised slightly and for the most part, as a top-level character, it was very straightforward to the point of being a little boring.
There’s some small variations on enemies from the main campaign, but nothing that feels unfamiliar, and it felt more like padding between the interesting sections. On the note of padding – there’s a lot of unnecessary walking around Eridanos. There are massive long bridges connecting the smaller islands that each key location is on, and it’s literally a couple minutes’ walk just across straight, empty bridges to swap companions out at your home base, or go from one key player to another for a conversation path. The issue with a heavily dialog driven game is that there’s no real reason for the travel apart from filling in time… and I’m sure the sights are nice on other platforms. If this wasn’t a written review I would drop a microphone here.
Look, I had a lot of fun with Murder on Eridanos. I’m a sucker for a good detective story and this delivers in a way the last DLC didn’t. It still suffers from all of Outer Worlds’ original issues: the presence of a True, Correct Ending, mediocre combat, fuzzy visuals. But with the expansions complete, this is a very very solid 50 hour adventure now, and unlike some other DLC-ified games I’ve played, both of The Outer Worlds’ slot very neatly into the original story without feeling unnatural. Now is the time to sink yourself in if you’re a newcomer, and if you’re returning, Murder on Eridanos is a good bit of fun that plays straight into the game’s strengths.