Last year, we got some notable horror titles like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Outlast, although it later turned out that A Machine for Pigs was more of The Chinese Room’s shenanigans than scares, and Outlast was much scarier (although obnoxiously so). The former seemed like it disappeared, while the latter is still going strong and has just received a DLC, as if it needed one to get any scarier.
Outlast: Whistleblower is the latest DLC for the horror hit from 2013 by Red Barrels. It’s an overlapping prequel to the original game, wherein you play Waylon Park, who was the one who tipped the protagonist Miles Upshur through e-mail that got him to the Mount Massive Asylum in the first place. It’s meant to dive more into the backstory and the lore behind the institution, as well as the insane and homicidal people behind it all.
Waylon Park is a software engineer who sends the tip to Miles after having witnessed the torture of Eddie Gluskin, although he kind of deserves it. Just as he sent it, the head of the asylum Jeremy Blaire comes in, who wouldn’t have appreciated your attempt at calling for help at all. Jeremy is responsible for the illegal experiments and other inhumane stuff going on in the asylum, which only serves to give way for more psychotic nuts to come up.
Gameplay is pretty much the same, as it’s supposed to be an add-on to the original. You still run and hide while getting from one part of the asylum to another, with your camcorder with night vision as your only aid. There are a few elements though that make it feel different from the first Outlast. For instance, the level design is a bit different from the base game, with a lot more going up and down than just left and right, which makes exploration and escape a bit more challenging.
The characters in this prequel are pretty much the same fare as the first Outlast. While The Groom isn’t on the same level of screwed up as Dr. Trager, he still pushes most creep buttons. Everything else still tries to give you a heart attack and take your head off, and all you can do is run away and hide from them while your muscles burned and your veins are pumping battery acid, then you have to run some more.
Perhaps it’s worth getting if you really got into the story of Outlast, but it’s not totally necessary. The main thing about the game is the constant apprehension and horror throughout the playthrough, and it can get really exhausting. But if you’re really into that kind of stuff, then it should give you some more of the scares and stomach-churning visuals that the base game is known (and notorious) for.
The timing of this DLC is a bit questionable though. If it’s your first time playing Outlast and you get this DLC as well, you’re in for a longer horror experience, which may not be that good. If you finished Outlast already long ago and get this now, then it’s going to take quite a bit to outdo the original game, although it does try quite hard to do so.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7/10