DLC Review: Outlast – Whistleblower [PC/PS4]
First of all, I’d like to say that since this is a DLC review and the mechanics are exactly the same as the original game, I won’t be talking about them in detail, but instead the experience this DLC offers. To read more in-depth details of the gameplay mechanics and more, please read our review of the main campaign of Outlast HERE.
Whistleblower tells the story of Wayland Park, the insider responsible for tipping off journalist Miles Upshur, about the horror that is Mount Massive Asylum. It serves as the prequel for the game, and shows you exactly what happened and the traumatic ordeal that Park had to go through.
Right off the bat, Whistleblower is an exceptional experience that provides you with such an interesting storyline and various crazy characters that it is hard not to be immersed. The story begins with Park sending an email to the reporters, including Miles, the protagonist of our main game. Unfortunately, you get caught doing so and are forcefully made an inmate, and put onto the horrible experiment being conducted. Fortunately though, Wayland Park is not the guy who would sit in his place, pants soiled, and waiting for his demise. Instead, he is courageous and looks for a solution to his problems.
Throughout the DLC, and especially by the end, you’ll get to meet some really scary inmates who want nothing but to hurt you. The last enemy you’ll be up against is extremely psychotic, who has a very odd hobby. I really do not want to spoil it for you, but the last encounter will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. What really helps drive these scenes are the cleverly crafted environments that look and function authentically. You’ll never see anything out of place, like batteries which only appear where they would make sense such as in draws, on desktops and shelves, as in the original game and hiding spots that are either, but not limited to desks or crates depending on where you are.
Furthermore, the overall writing, dialogue or otherwise is still solid with each inmate you encounter appearing to have a different personality, and each document or note heart-breaking. Heart-breaking in the sense that, only reading and hearing about my characters background made me root for him. What I particularly liked about the gameplay, was how much of the asylum you got to explore, with each area that had a different sense of madness to it. Also, it gave you the true scope of just how huge this place is compared to the original game, where you were mostly stuck inside.
The excellent mechanics that I just have to talk about once again are the lean and look-behind mechanics. I still can’t get over how authentic it feels when your character puts his hand on the edge of whatever cover you are behind, and as you start to peek around that cover, you see him pressing against it for support. It looks tense, as if you are actually being careful. The look-behind mechanic really helps whenever you are being chased by the inmates, especially the last one and lets you see just how far they are behind you. The AI is still solid here, so it makes for very interesting stealth gameplay mechanic that evolves based on where you are.
One thing I really would like to note is, that the game is no-holds barred violent. In fact, some events that happen in the DLC are more frightening when compared with the original experience. So, if you are squeamish, weak of heart, or under age, please do yourself a favour and do not play this game. The horror in this game is based more on what you experience by the end, rather than cheap thrills and jump scares.
Furthermore, the music is absolutely engaging and has been masterfully composed. It features some of the same tracks as the original game, with a few additions. Still, they are very well mixed and effectively merged with the gameplay. Each cue is different, and plays when something happens, alarming you. I particularly like the end credit track as it feels both exciting and scary at the same time, exciting due to the hectic cello and scary due to the ominous vocals and brass. It kind of gives you the sense that the journey has just only begun. In fact, there are some points where it sounds absolutely heroic.
Lastly, the DLC’s length is also perfect, neither too long nor short. It takes as much time as it needs to tell its story and doesn’t rush or drag on. Also, when compared to the price, it feels as if you are getting an experience more solid than your price. This definitely helps make your decision easier. I really didn’t notice any major flaws with the game, but if I was to nitpick, I would say that the character models lacked polish at times. Unlike the original experience, this did not feel repetitive and everything was smoothly working towards the conclusion.
This, ladies and gentlemen is how DLCs should be done. Not only is it thrilling, hectic and borderline enjoyable due to the excellent characters and setting, but it greatly builds up on what made the original so great. Also, due to the varied and new environments, it actually feels like you are playing a whole new prequel. For that, both the main game and the DLC are a genre defining horror experiences that you absolutely do not want to miss. In fact, if you loved the original story, get this DLC as it is miles (get it?) more entertaining, even when the original was already so memorable. I really want Outlast to keep going, and I would love to experience more stories from this universe. Both Miles and Park are game changing characters, but I think Park might have been our main protagonist all along. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was cheering for a protagonist so much.
NOTE: Again, the weak of heart, squeamish and underage people should not play this game, as it is way more gruesome and graphically horrific than the original game.