by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Any gamer worth their salt is always cautious about downloadable content, or more commonly referred to as DLC, when it is released. Generally speaking, DLC is paid content that comes out after the base game, allowing gamers to extend their playtime on a game they enjoyed. Quite often, they will have to open their wallets again. In theory this makes sense, adding extra content to a game and encouraging companies to continue supporting their game post release. Unfortunately, sometimes DLC can be disappointing. The DLC can be overpriced or companies can oversell just how much content is within. There has even been the issue of DLC already existing within the game but requiring gamers to pay extra to ‘unlock’ the content. Fortunately, the team at Nine Dot Studio have avoided these pitfalls with The Soroboreans, a new DLC for their delightfully challenging survival RPG, Outward.
One of the first things to note is that The Soroboreans adds several features to the game itself, without even mentioning the new areas and the central focus of the DLC. A whole new faction is available to join, known as the Sorobor Academy. One of the new features is a fast travel mechanic, allowing your character to pay for passage to and from the main location of the DLC to one of the five major cities of the base game. The price is a hefty 200 in-game silver and 2-4 travel rations, but some gamers may certainly prefer this to having to walk the entire way across the wilderness.
Another added feature for the Soroboreans is ‘Corruption’, a brand new gameplay mechanic that adds to the pre-existing sleep, hunger, thirst, and temperature bars as something gamers need to keep an eye on as they traverse the world. However, unlike the other meters, Corruption offers a risk/reward element for it being filled up. Corruption empowers Decay Magic, one of the five schools of Elemental Magic that existed within the base game. But as the Corruption meter fills, consequences such as the random chance of a strong enemy to spawn can transpire. When the meter is completely filled, the character will literally explode, doing damage as well as leading your character to acquire several painful debuffs that will make surviving in this game’s harsh world, all the harder. However, at the same time, one of the new skill trees for The Soroboreans is Hex Magic, which requires a certain level of Corruption in order to make use of certain spells within it, but can also Cleanse yourself of Corruption at the cost of damage.
Get to Harmattan
The main event of the DLC though, revolves around getting educated at the Sorobor Academy. In the base game of Outward there are three main factions that gamers can choose to join: The Blue Chamber, the Holy Mission, and the Heroic Kingdom, all of whom have a different side to specific world-changing events. They each have access to four quests of the main story, as well as being based in different areas of the game, be it a desert or a swamp. If gamers have not yet joined any of these three factions in the main game, the Soroborean DLC allows them to pay the hefty price to travel to Harmattan where they can then choose to join the Sorobor Academy. With the main story of Outward told over seven missions, with five of these missions being decided by which faction gamers choose to join, the DLC adds a generous amount to the game content wise.
DLC done right
Outward is a game that was already vast in scale for such a challenging survival RPG, and The Soroboreans DLC adds a worthwhile amount of content to this somewhat slow and methodical game. If you have spent hours exploring the world of Aurai, then The Soroboreans DLC is highly recommended. However, as Quinn said in his original review of the game, Outward is a challenging game to review due its slow pace and emphasis on careful planning. But it is sure to be considered a cult classic due to scratching that very particular itch, and for those who loved the base game, The Soroboreans brings a lot more of the same, It adds even more replayability to the main story, adds new skill trees and equipment, and adds the new mechanics - all for approximately half the price of the original game. It may seem on the pricey end as far as DLC goes, but with how much it adds to the game, it may well be a welcome price to pay.
Expands the base game in many ways, encouraging replayability and learning about many new mechanics
A bit pricey both in and out of Aurai, $20 USD on Steam and 200 silver to travel to Harmattan