the outer worlds murder on eridanos review
the outer worlds murder on eridanos review
PS5

The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos Review | A colorful, character-driven caper

The biggest star in the galaxy just went out, and it’s up to you to catch the killer.

In The Outer Worlds’ second and final narrative DLC, Murder on Eridanos, there’s a mystery afoot unlike any other in the game.

When superstar actress Halcyon Helen is murdered in the galaxy’s foremost luxury resort, the crew of the Unreliable is once again tasked with stepping into the shoes of a space-age sleuth to crack the case.

When you think about the best DLC expansions for story-based RPGs, they all have a few things in common. They add meaningfully different areas to explore, deep side-stories to uncover, and interesting new mechanics that subtly subvert and add distinct layers to the way you play.

Murder on Eridanos does all of those things, while still sticking true to The Outer Worlds’ tightly written, off-the-wall humor and dedication to enabling different kinds of role play.

The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos Review

Luxury Living

The Grand Colonial Hotel is a steam train short of smooshing just about every Poirot setting into one, where the hovering islands make it quite literally Death in the Clouds.

Designed like a spoked wheel with the high-rise hotel at its centre, there’s everything from a not-so-flourishing orchard, wilderness nature reserve, and seedy harbor to sift through – all full of suspects, side-quests, and general intrigue on your way to the ultimate conclusion.

Too often in RPGs we’re left picking over the bones of interesting events, sauntering through dilapidated corridors where everything happened long before you arrived. And that’s where I thought The Outer Worlds’ previous DLC, Peril on Gorgon, was at its weakest, as you milled about through abandoned labs on your way to press a button on a computer.

One of my favorite things about Murder on Eridanos is its willingness to show us a part of the colony in full swing – where you’re interrogating major players and sniffing out clues as things happen instead of after the fact.

This does mean that it’s a very chatty DLC though, and best suited to players who enjoy hiking through a dialogue forest more than just a dialogue tree.

It’s an ambitious story with a huge amount of ground to cover. So much so that it’s boa-constrictor-tight delivery – which sets multiple side-quests sprawling from your discoveries almost from the off – can feel overwhelming at times and make you anxious you’re missing an integral clue in amongst the extras.

You’re given plenty of breaks in the pacing to wander off before you report your findings, but the distraction factor is high and thorough searching often rewards you with unmarked clues to the various interwoven mysteries across the resort.

It’s a lot to handle, and The Outer Worlds gives you a lot of credit to remember it all.

More than a magnifier

All of this doesn’t mean you’ll never have to lift a blaster, though.

The recommended player level for the DLC is 30, which means this is end-game stuff, with plenty of tough set-piece fights placed at well-paced intervals throughout your investigation.

While you start in the relatively sedate surroundings of the hotel, more hostile areas quickly open up and add an urgent edge to the mystery.

But despite being equipped as a weapon, the biggest addition in Murder on Eridanos is non-violent.

The Discrepancy Amplifier is your partner in solving crime, capable of highlighting clues in the environment to further your deductions.

It’s a great in-universe implementation of the classic ‘detective vision’ which surfaces important information with enough input from the player to make you feel like an active participant rather than just having conversations placed under your nose.

The sassy back-and-forth with the Amplifier’s AI is just one of the ways that the Murder on Eridanos DLC leans into The Outer Worlds’ goofier and more referential side, where the one-liners and silly player dialogue choices are a laugh-a-minute.

There are plenty of unique asides from all of your favorite companions too, including some great set-pieces.

The grand reveal

Murder on Eridanos feels like The Outer Worlds at its best.

Roleplay, diverging quest lines, and carefully balanced absurdity have always been at the heart of the game, and this DLC feels like a freer exploration of that core concept.

Without having to juggle the high-stakes of the main story across an extended run-time and multiple planets, there’s more leeway to knit a larger cast of more interconnected characters together for a more engaging mystery.

It could talk your ear off, but in true Outer Worlds fashion, it’s up to you whether you want to listen.

The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos is out now on PC, PlayStation and Xbox – with Switch assumed to be coming later.

Platform reviewed: PC – code provided by publisher

4 Stars

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