Hands-on The Outer Worlds – Peril on Gorgon Preview – Hardboiled

The Outer Worlds’ first piece of DLC isn’t far off now and I’ve been fortunate enough to go hands-on early. Peril on Gorgon is a hardboiled, noir-themed detective caper that gels flawlessly with the tone of The Outer Worlds and it adds a tonne of new content for players to sink their teeth into.

Set on the Gorgon Asteroid, Peril on Gorgon sees players being delivered a severed arm, clutching a phonograph with a mysterious message. The arm’s owner, Lucky Montoya, sent the message to Alex Hawthorne, his old pal and confidant.

Sadly, since Hawthorne went splat way back on the outskirts of Edgewater, it’s up to the player to follow up on his leads. After an hour with Peril on Gorgon, it’s difficult to get a grasp on any new mechanics or features, however, I was able to spend some time exploring and seeing the sights of Gorgon.

The Outer Worlds – Peril on Gorgon

Right off the bat, receiving a severed arm in the intergalactic post is a macabre and hilarious way to begin a quest. Once you discover how the arm made its way to you, it’s even better, but I won’t spoil it. Montoya’s arm message directs you to the Ambrose Manor, situated near Gorgon.

On arrival, all I could think about was The Shining and the Overlook Hotel. Ambrose Manor is a huge, imposing structure, built on a desolate, rocky slab and surrounded by a canyon on all sides. Its severe architecture, straight lines and the almost brutalist look are very science-fiction but there are definitely echoes of the Overlook. On the landing pad, I’m greeted by a mechanical butler who manages to fall backwards with a thud and break himself in the process.

Clearly, Ambrose Manner has seen better days.

A winding, glowing path leads from the Unreliable to the Manor and as I make my way forwards, I swear the music playing is an homage The Shining’s main theme. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Once inside, the Ambrose Manor is as cold and desolate as it is outside. There’s nobody around, no staff and no humans of any kind.

At the far end of the entrance hall is a large bar. Again, it looks exactly like the one from The Shining. It’s starting to unnerve me a little. Here I was thinking I was playing a nice sci-fi detective story and instead, it’s drifting into terrifying territory. Where that leads, I’m not yet sure because once I locate Minni Ambrose, the Manor’s owner, things get back on track.

I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Peril on Gorgon than meets the eye, but from the short time I’ve played it, there hasn’t been any payoff…

Minnie, I discover, was Lucky’s employer and she’d recruited him to investigate Gorgon and the death of her mother. Gorgon was once a bustling Spacer’s Choice research facility, but something terrible occurred and saw the forced evacuation of the entire asteroid. Minnie, believing her mother knew the truth of Gorgon, thinks her journal may hold the key to unlocking the mystery.

With a severed arm, an orphan, corporate cover-ups and a big payday all in the mix, it’s a no-brainer to investigate Gorgon, find the journal and uncover the truth. However, things are never as simple as they seem, especially in The Outer Worlds and almost as soon as you land on Gorgon do things start to go awry.

For starters, I was expecting Gorgon to be a fully wild, uninhabited rock with monsters, marauders and more. But it’s not. There’s a bar, The Sprat Shack, which a delightfully cute sprat led me to, where the only people on Gorgon, gather to unwind and stay safe from the Marauder threat. It reminds me of the other abandoned and overrun settlements areas in The Outer Worlds. There are plenty of buildings and spaces to explore, but beyond the Sprat Shack, I didn’t find many NPCs who weren’t trying to smash my brains in.

Through some clever detective work (clicking on every single interactable and talking to every single NPC) I was able to pick up Lucky’s trail and locate the Office of Creative Incubation. An enormous, art-deco space, the OCI is where Spacer’s Choice was coming up with its greatest inventions.

Of which, Adrena-Time was, supposedly, the best.

On my way to the OCI, I had to fight through some Marauders and, what I initially thought were Mantisaurs, except they were pale blue. They were, in fact, Frostsaurs and a Shiverpillar which appear to be Mantisaurs with cold/freezing abilities. Luckily, I managed to take them out without much trouble, though I wouldn’t want to get frozen and then munched on by one.

Turns out, Adrena-Time was a really, really bad idea and is the cause, at least in part, for the abandonment of Gorgon and some other fascinating revelations of The Outer Worlds’ lore. Once I made it through the OCI, a mysterious figure appeared on a comms link, threatened me and advised me to leave Gorgon else I’d end up like Lucky. With my trademark tact, I basically told him to go fuck himself and resolved to uncover the events of Gorgon and the secrets of Adrena-Time.

Unbelievably, although it felt like I’d been playing for only a moment, my hour with Peril on Gorgon was up. Leaving me with incredibly tantalising mysteries, a hardboiled, noir thriller of a plot that could blow The Outer Worlds‘ universe wide-open and the niggling, unresolved feeling of fear regarding the true nature of the Ambrose Manor, I set my controller down and started counting down the minutes until I could carry-on.

The Outer Worlds has always skirted the line between humour and commentary and its tone has always been pretty firmly tongue in cheek. Peril on Gorgon takes that a step further and is even more removed from “reality” as it places the characters inside a detective novel. With only an hour of playtime under my belt, it’s near impossible to fully experience what Obsidian has created but so far, so good.

Peril on Gorgon feels like The Outer Worlds Plus. It’s got everything you loved about the original game with a little extra dollop of goodness.

Peril on Gorgon launches for The Outer Worlds on September 9, 2020.

Peril on Gorgon was previewed on PC using digital code provided by the publisher.

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Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevensonhttps://powerup-gaming.com/
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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