‘Outlast: Whistleblower’ DLC Review

Platforms PC, PlayStation 4

Publisher Red Barrels   Developer Red Barrels

Genre Survival Horror   Platform Played On PC

If there’s one thing Outlast doesn’t go lightly on, it’s the amount of blood throughout the game. The original story of Outlast was a gruesome journey, but it doesn’t have anything over how gruesome the Whistleblower DLC can get. It takes place a few hours before the appearance of Miles Upshur and puts you in the hands of a whistleblower by the name of Waylon Park, the man who originally sent Upshur the e-mail in the first story.

Whistleblower has a very important job in the overall story of Outlast, as it clears up a lot of mystery from Upshurs journey. You will get to see first-hand exactly what was happening to patients and the testing’s being undertaken. This means you will experience the same areas again, but from a different perspective. Despite that, there are a few new areas you get to explore to delve deeper into the story. In fact, Whistleblower doesn’t even seem like a DLC, instead more of title in it’s own right because of the quality you experience in terms of story, visuals and mind-boggling events.

Meet Frank, the friendly saw-wielding cannibal.

The most notable difference in the first 30 minutes of Whistleblower, is just how fast-paced it is compared to the original story which slowly broke you into the game. There are very few areas where you slowly tread your way around the environment and far more running away from maniacs. It was almost too much at the start so there isn’t really much settling in, but that is the aim of Outlast, to make you feel unsettled.

I know a lot of people would groan at going through familiar areas in a DLC, but it’s essentially a parallel world. It’s not the same experience whatsoever. In fact I would say re-treading the areas was scarier in Whistleblower. You will experience new scares and encounter new enemies.

Now the enemies, much like in Outlast, are one of the best experiences in the game. In the original you encountered “Little Piggy” and the knife-wielding naked twins, in which the latter I really wanted to know more about just because of how creepy they were. You briefly encounter them again in Whistleblower, but you also run across the paths of several new crazed inmates. They are brutal, terrifying and intensely interesting. Probably the most memorable enemy you encounter is a cannibal who runs around with a saw called Frank Manera. Hearing the whirring of the saw bounce through the corridor walls made your heart sink while you tried to figure out where exactly you should go. Or there is the inmate obsessed with having a bride, who is fittingly called The Groom and is arguably one of the most messed up individuals in the game. What you see him do will most likely shock you.

The Groom, doesn’t look as terrifying as some others, but is definitely the craziest.

Red Barrels really did make it a bit more difficult to figure out where exactly you should run, which is hard enough when no one is around, let alone being chased by a saw-wielding cannibal. But, if you pay attention to the environment, audio clues and a general sense of awareness, it becomes easier to navigate through the asylum. For instance, in one area you come to a dead end with two doors either side of you. One has a handcuff around the bars preventing you from going down that lane, so you try the other door but that’s blocked too. There is faint talking from somewhere, describing something about a locked door so you instinctively tread back to find a key. After 10 or so minutes of searching you become frustrated and go back to the door to figure something out. Once you begin to actually look, you notice theres a broken window above the door with enough space to climb through. There are several instances of these type of self-inflicted dumb moments in which you might blame the game, but really you just have to look properly.

Red Barrels really should be applauded for just how intelligently they set out this DLC. There are quite a few jump scares, but they are all placed so well that you never really expect them. I would say the scariest parts were when nothing was happening, because you talk yourself up to prepare for whatever is going to chase you, only for nothing to happen. They have the perfect blend of jump scares, adrenaline pumping chases and paranoia about what might happen. I do wish however that the fast-paced scenes weren’t so heavily used and instead opted for more psychological horror which they craft so well.

Like I said before, Whistleblower is on a whole new level when comparing how gruesome this DLC is compared to the original story. Red Barrels really pushes the limits to what is allowed and is arguably more R rated than scenes which were removed in South Park for lots of countries. There are several instances of complete genital mutilation – watching a scene play out with a man tied to the table as the saw slowly moves closer to his genitals induces the reflex most guys have when genitals are threatened.

I also have to tip my hat to Red Barrels for again excelling with such awesome an awesome soundscape, the ambiance throughout the playthrough is crafted to near perfection. Although I did notice a few times some of the scares either focused on just from an audio perspective, which might have been down to me simply looking the wrong way. It did happen a few times where there would be a loud noise intended to scare you except sometimes you just missed what it was that happened. Whether Red Barrels could have placed it so your character would be facing the right way when the scare happened is certainly a question worth asking. However it could also have been a case of them knowing that you will probably die in the next sequence due to being chased again so there’s a few chances of catching it. Either way, it certainly created some confusion.

Overall, Whistleblower adds a whole new chapter to an already terrifying story, and it does so terrifically well. You get to go through familiar areas through a different perspective, as well as explore completely new areas which house even crazier inmate experiences. It is arguably one of the best DLC’s of any game, as there are just so much rewards as you delve deeper into the story. I found myself getting excited as the story began to reach its climax once you realize what’s happening. The story was the highlight in the original and it is trumped here due to certain events. In some aspects it is even better than the original in terms of detail and memorable characters. The first had lots of generic characters with big characters spread out, while this one offers a unique variety of enemies. Outlast laid the foundation while Whistleblower essentially ties up a lot of what was such a mystery in the first one. Whistleblower only costs a cheap $8.99 and it is worth every single cent for it’s 2-3 hour playthrough and pretty much seals the deal as one of the best horror games created.

The Good

+ Fantastic story from the original gets even better

+ Unique enemies

+ Well-crafted new areas

+ Scary as ever

For most, the gore will shock you

The Bad

– Scares were sometimes not placed well

– Too many fast-paced sequences

– For some, the mutilations will offend people

The Score 9