The final slice of DLC for The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's superb action-RPG, Murder on Eridanos attempts to switch things up by ditching the mostly combat-centric action of the main game in favour of a narrative-driven whoddunnit that throws you into a tangled web of intrigue on a floating island of treachery and lies.
Before we get into the meat of this one, however, the first thing you're going to want to do is ensure you've got yourself a save file with a character who's been pimped out to around about level 25 — the DLC states 30 but we were fine starting out five notches lower. You'll also need to make sure you've gained access to the landing pad on Stellar Bay in the main campaign or you won't be able to get started on Eridanos. It's a bit of a pain in the backside for those who want to get stuck in right away but don't have an old save floating about, as it's gonna take you a good ten hours to reach a point where you can actually start your investigations here.
Right, with all of that admin out of the way, let's jump in shall we? Murder on Eridanos sees your spaced out ranger called upon to investigate the death of celebrated Aetherwave actress, Halcyon Helen, who gets killed to pieces in the game's stylish black and white opening cutscene. A highly prized spokesperson for Rizzo Beverages, Helen is murdered just as the company is about to release a brand new Spectrum Brown Vodka range and you, the preeminent freelancer in the galaxy, are immediately drafted in to figure out who's done the dastardly deed.
Of course we won't spoil any of the mystery in this review but what's here is, as expected from Obsidian, a fantastically well-written bit of DLC that really leans into the narrative side of things, giving you tons of quirky characters and shady charlatans to question at length and enabling you to pick and choose from an impressive array of responses as you go. Be helpful and gracious to those you meet or act like an absolute tool, the choice is yours!
In order to get the most out of Murder on Eridanos, we suggest you settle in and take your time as you explore its brand new island setting. You can blow through this one in about five hours if you charge at it, but you'll miss so many delightful little distractions, side stories and intriguing characters if you play it this way. The colourful islands of Eridanos are absolutely stuffed full of tidbits of information and revelations, and we had a blast slowly uncovering every little detail as we worked our way towards figuring out the mystery at the heart of the narrative — a playstyle that saw that running time upped to around eight hours.
The best part of the action that's presented in this final piece of DLC, then, is undoubtedly questioning suspects and shaking info out of them. This one is at its strongest by some margin when you're enjoying its top-notch writing. However, the entire endeavour definitely suffers a little for the fact that, as you progress, you'll find that your choices in conversations — and actions elsewhere — don't really feel like they have any huge consequence on how things play out in the end. Yes, there are a few crucial decisions to make that skew things slightly one way or another, but it all feels a little inconsequential when the final denouement plays out pretty much the same regardless.
Murder on Eridanos also introduces a new tool, the Discrepancy Amplifier, which you can use to investigate clues as you move around areas of interest. It's initially a pretty fun gadget and is fully voiced so as to enable it to constantly bark smart remarks at you. However, it's also a little overpowered in our opinion, always letting you know exactly what's needing to be done and where to go next and, alongside the great big green waypoint showing you where your current objective is, it adds to a feeling of being on-rails to some extent with very little in the way of actual thinking required. Not a great look for a detective romp.
Combat is also a little on the weak side here, with little in the way of enemy variation and, at this point, you've got a character and set of companions who can absolutely power through every battle that's thrown your way. Action was never The Outer Worlds' strongest point and here it feels pretty much played out, a means to an end and something to change the pace up a bit as you move between islands on your investigation.
We also had some issues with how changing companions works. Eridanos is made up of a series of floating islands strung together by long bridges and you're gonna find yourself traipsing back and forth across these far more than you want to in order to switch out your crew back at the penthouse suite you've set up as your base of operations. It's not a huge deal, but we sure did get tired of marching back and forth to the Grand Colonial Hotel here.
However, these issues aside, Murder on Eridanos is still a fun send-off for The Outer Worlds, the vast majority of the characters and writing are of such a high quality — the companions here really are some of our favourites in any game — that it's just a good time to wander around, converse, read PDAs and immerse yourself in the vibe that Obsidian went with. It's not the strongest of the two DLCs, for sure, we absolutely preferred Peril on Gorgon's antics, and it's not a patch on the main game itself, but overall Murder on Eridanos delivers a decent handful of hours in a universe we've come to love visiting over the past few years. If you enjoyed the core campaign and Peril on Gorgon, you'll find plenty to like here.
In terms of performance, Obsidian has done a good job of cleaning up this Switch port of The Outer Worlds in general and, besides the expected downgrading of visuals — something which can see distant objects and the like appear quite blurry, especially in handheld — and some long and quite frequent loading times, we didn't have any significant issues in docked or portable modes here.
Murder on Eridanos is an entertaining final slice of DLC that leans into the narrative elements of Obsidian's action RPG, delivering plenty of well-written dialogue and characters in the process. Yes, the combat is pretty much played out at this stage and the whole thing feels a little bit too linear, but this is still an enjoyable return to one of our favourite action RPGs of the past few years that's well worth picking up if you enjoyed the core campaign.