Sci-fi Murder Mystery in Outer Worlds Murder on Eridanos

Back in 2019, we were treated to the surprise hit RPG and adventure game The Outer Worlds, which seemed to come out of nowhere. And then we had the somewhat traditional adventure DLC, Peril on Gorgon, which added about 10 hours of similar but still good gameplay to the core title. Now we have Murder on Eridanos, which provides players with a compelling murder mystery and a very well designed new area to explore.

If you read my review of Peril on Gorgon, you will see that I really did love playing it, although it mostly did more of the same things that we did in the main game. Not that more good stuff is a bad thing, but developer Obsidian Entertainment didn’t really push the envelope too much other than raising the level cap to 33. That makes sense because it was the first DLC for the game, and I guess they didn’t want to rock the boat too much. Now with the second, and presumably last DLC (baring any crazy surprises), the developers probably figured they could take some chances and add some new elements to the core game.

The new DLC, like the name implies, takes place on Eridanos. The main feature of this land is an Avatar-like series of floating islands hovering in a very narrow band of habitable atmosphere overtop a gas giant. Oh, and there is a grand casino in the middle of everything.

The somewhat ridiculous pseudo-science supporting this land has giant starship engines mounted here and there and even strapped to the islands via giant steel cables. This allows Rizzos, who owns the land, to pilot the complex like a ship through the habitable atmosphere, although everything is so huge that you will always feel like you are on solid ground, unless you get really close to an edge. Massive bridges connect the islands and you have to be a little bit brave (or crazy) just to walk across them, but it makes for a fantastic atmosphere. The explorable area on Eridanos is every bit as large as most of the other locations in the game, just with a cooler environment.

The main plot of Murder on Eridanos is that you are called on to investigate the murder of none-other than Halcyon Helen, who we have seen on posters throughout the game. In this world, the actress who plays her is Ruth Bellamy, and she is known for being the star of the Terror on Monarch show. Finding out who killed Helen (or Ruth if you prefer) is just the tip of iceberg here, as Eridanos holds many terrible secrets. But it’s the hook that gets you started.

Like the previous DLC, Murder on Eridanos again raises the level cap by three, so the top level is 36 now. I hit that after about a fourth of the adventure, so I wish it was a little bit higher, but you will at least get to give your core skills one final boost if you are trying to reach that next level of perks. The game also adds some new science and unique weapons, though the mundane weapon choices don’t change. Is it too much to ask for a Hammersmith Vermin III pistol? Please?

One of the biggest new additions is a device called the Discrepancy Amplifier. There is some fake science behind why it works, but basically it’s a clue detector. As long as you have it in one of your inventory slots, it does not have to be the active weapon, then whenever you get near a clue, like hidden footprints or something that has been altered in some way (which is different from what reality should be) it will warn you. Then when you look through the scope, you can find and analyze the clue. You can also use it to search for cluses visually, which are represented by little warp bubble looking things which can be spotted pretty far away. The machine is also a little snarky, which is pretty funny.

Many of the side quests in Murder on Eridanos are little mini-mysteries themselves where you have to find out who did something, locate a missing person, investigate an odd situation or other detective-like tasks. I thought it was really cool how the entire DLC really nailed the detective theme. Some more common gameplay elements rear their heads again, with sugar drink giant Rizzos trying to outdo Spacers Choice for the most evil corporation on Halcyon this time, though it really does not even come close to the evil of Gorgon. Still, it gives you one more reason to hate The Board in the main game, if you still needed a reason.

Your crew comes along for the ride of course, and even joins you in your penthouse suite at the casino, kind of like your friends did in Fallout New Vegas. They each say lots of little new lines of dialog when you venture into new areas, thought I do wish this was pushed even more. For example, Felix is supposed to be a huge Halcyon Helen fan, but he barely bats an eye at finding her dead body sprawled out on the grand ballroom floor.

In terms of plot, there are lot of twists and turns in Murder on Eridanos, and quite a few that I was not expecting. This is almost all presented with a really great sense of dark humor that really hits its stride as the DLC goes on. It was a lot of fun to pause being a space pirate/rogue/mercenary for a bit to become a space detective/inspector/investigator. Brains trump brawn this time out, but rest assured that there is still plenty to shoot and smash as you travel.

Murder on Eridanos is clearly the best of the two DLCs, although both are pretty good. If a beloved series has to end (hopefully to make room for The Outer Worlds 2) then this is the way to do it. I dare say that Murder on Eridanos is more fun than either the Gorgon DLC or the core game. Solving the murder mystery is just icing on the Ersatz Sweetheart Cake. Anyone who enjoyed playing The Outer Worlds will likely love Murder on Eridanos even more.

Murder on Eridanos earns 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5. Just watch your back as you play. And good luck out there, inspector.

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