When I played The Outer Worlds back in 2019 and 2020, I found a game that was interesting, valued build diversity and allowed for multiple ways to complete mission objectives. It was a freeing experience that I greatly enjoyed on Xbox One, but it was diluted by horrific performance issues on Nintendo Switch. Now I’ve jumped back into the galaxy of the corporations on Nintendo Switch in Peril on Gorgon, a DLC expansion that is similarly engaging, but ultimately fizzles with an unsatisfying conclusion.
Peril on Gorgon sees our enigmatic fraud of a Captain (given the real one died in the opening minutes of gameplay) Alex Hawthorne contacted by an old acquaintance. The message, from a fellow adventurer and close friend, advises of their recent demise while investigating the planet Gorgon at the request of the rich Minnie Ambrose. It turns out that Gorgon, a new planet to the game, was home to a Spacer’s Choice research lab where Minnie’s mother worked and eventually disappeared from. Seeking closure, Minnie hires you to infiltrate the lab and find her late-Mother’s journal, believing there are secrets that will explain her disappearance.
What follows is a multi-hour adventure that takes you across the galaxy as you seek down different survivors and persons of interest, seeking a way into the lab and answers about what happened there. This is where Peril on Gorgon is at its strongest, with more clever writing and a mystery that is legitimately interesting and engaging. I found myself gleefully flying through the campaign, eager for the next conversation with an NPC or piece of lore relating to the overall story. Unfortunately, after a couple of obvious plot twists, the narrative eventually fizzled to what felt like an anticlimactic ending. The DLC itself gives no real closure on how your actions or choices will play out longer term. I can only assume that it will add another short story segment to the end of the game explaining what came of my choice, much like other segments of the game play out, but the utter lack of closure beyond a ‘Thanks, here’s your money’ cheapened the weight of the choices I made across my time with the DLC.
In other segments of the game, Peril on Gorgon just feels like more of the same. One of my complaints about The Outer Worlds on all platforms was that the game eventually becomes too easy. While there is an early difficulty curve, the game can be completely broken with the finding of a single weapon. In this case, that honour falls to the Light Machine Gun Mk3. While I had issues early in the DLC with enemies quickly wiping me out (likely due to being under-levelled) once I had that gun I was able to complete every single firefight without an ounce of difficulty. I simply waltzed in, held the trigger for a few seconds and any enemy in my way exploded into chunks and giblets. It removed any sense of tension I had in combat, instead making it a simple chore I had to push through.
The biggest problem with Peril on Gorgon however, stems from issues that were present in the Switch version of the base game as well: It looks incredibly ugly and runs terribly, if somewhat better after a year of patches. At its best moments, Peril on Gorgon can look almost-good, with sky-boxes that perfectly offset the alien (and by alien, I mean it looks like an asteroid) landscape. At its worst, the game is a blurry and chunky mess that is hard to look at. There are still persistent framerate issues, especially when visiting old planets from the base game, although it almost felt smooth at some points during gameplay. I don’t know if the game will ever reach a point of technical competence, but it still hasn’t hit that point as yet.
Ultimately, Peril on Gorgon is an intriguing mystery that is held together by good writing more than anything. The gameplay is quickly broken by over-powered weapons, the technical performance on Switch is still horrendous and the ending was unsatisfying and without the closure I look for from a choice-based narrative. If you’ve been eagerly awaiting more of The Outer Worlds and the Switch is your only choice, then you’ll find something here, but otherwise I’d suggest checking this out on other platforms.
The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon was played on both a regular Nintendo Switch and a Nintendo Switch Lite with a review copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information, check the official website.
- Mystery story is interesting - Writing continues to be great
- Technical performance is still horrendous - Combat is quickly broken by overpowered weapons - Conclusion ultimately falls flat