Review: Outlast: Whistleblower Is More Of The Same, But Still Delivers The Scares
Red Barrels gained a lot of admiration for its hit horror title Outast, which was brought over to the PS4 a few months ago. After the initial game's startling ending, the developers are back with a prequel and sequel DLC, Whistleblower, to connect the dots and wrap up the story.
- Worth The Time?Yes, it will deliver an adrenaline rush akin to the first.
- Things LovedIt has an awesome atmosphere, it gets really intense later on, the new characters are fascinating, it's brutal as hell, it has a respectable length, the story keeps you engaged, the cameos from the first game are welcome.
- Things HatedIt feels like more of the same in the beginning, it takes a while to get going, despite a new protagonist the game recycles voice work, the lack of female patients is a missed opportunity.
- RecommendationIf you loved Outlast enough to want more, Whistleblower is a satifsying and affordable solution to your thrill seeking behaviour.
- Name: Outlast: Whistleblower
- Genre: Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, PS4
- Developer: Red Barrels Games
- Publisher: Red Barrels Games
- Price: $9.99
- Reviewed On: PC
The original Outlast by Red Barrels is one of my favourite horror titles in recent memory. The best aspect about it for me was how demoralising the game could be in its latter portions, and the atmosphere was stunning. Of course it was hard to argue with the visually awesome night vision as well. Now I’m not someone who ever invests in DLC, in fact I can count on one hand the times I’ve actually bought one since the trend began. I’m just someone who judges a game based on the experience offered on the disc, and I’m not always keen for additional content. It’s not that I look down on DLC or anything, but rather that I’m not interested. However with everything there is usually an exception, and my latest one is Whistleblower which was partly due to my eagerness for more horror goodness. I was not disappointed.
Whistleblower acts as both a prequel and a sequel to the original story. The game begins with protagonist Waylon Park witnessing the torture of mental patient Eddie Gluskin in a device called the Morphogenic Engine. Stealing a moment to himself, Park hides out and sends an anonymous email to the lead character of the first game, journalist Miles Upshur, informing him of the corruption of Mount Massive. As we know from the original game, this prompts Miles to journey to the asylum to investigate. Sadly, subtlety wasn’t Park’s strong suit and he ends up getting caught by his employees, who have him committed to plug the leak. Before anything further can happen, the Walrider breaks out and wreaks havoc on the people of the asylum, allowing Park to grab a camcorder and fight to survive and escape.
The game has a very interesting beginning, and I was certainly hooked having Outlast fresh in my mind. Whereas Miles journeyed into the asylum after the fact, Park allows you to digest the asylum both before and after the chaos. It’s a fresh new perspective that makes returning to Mount Massive for a second time quite fascinating. The only gripe I have is that after the intriguing introduction sequence Whistleblower resorts to mostly the same tricks as the first game and as a horror junkie none of it really frightened me, because I had dealt with it before. Usually more of the same is what people want, but in horror games it can be a little troublesome when it’s too familiar, because that reduces scare factor. Fortunately, Whistleblower proved to just be flashing half its hand, and in later portions it uses old ideas in new ways to create some killer moments which will be ingrained in your memory once the credits roll.
The gameplay is identical to the first game, with the only difference being in design. Whistleblower encourages more sneaking and stealth, with having to run and hide playing a lesser role. Or perhaps that was just because I was quite good at sneaking and didn’t often get spotted. Either way, Whistleblower can be a lot more constricted than the first game which means getting spotted can often be frantic as you try to find somewhere to hide or get away. There were quite a few times I thought myself to be cornered, only to glimpse an escape route or hiding spot at just the right time, which was really satisfying. I did notice that resource management didn’t really seem to be important in Whistleblower. I figured that finding less batteries would mean a greater need, but they seem to last longer or rather you don’t need to use nightvision as often, so I didn’t run low on batteries at any point. I won’t list this as a flaw though since the experience can obviously be very different player to player and with different difficulty settings. It’s just reflecting my personal experience with it.
Whistleblower takes its time, but once it gets going it will absolutely get your pulse racing in the best way. It’s intense and frantic, and the new characters are fascinating. Furthermore, it’s absolutely brutal and there are some gruesome and violent scenes which will stay etched in my memory for a long while. I’m not at all squeamish and I loved them, but I do warn those with softer stomachs to be cautious. Whistleblower pulls no punches and has no sympathy for your weakness. I won’t spoil one of the final antagonists, but he and his motivations are so damn creepy that just having him near you is an entirely new scare on its own. It’s with these characters that Whistleblower has its best moments, and its ending is very satisfying on top of that and actually leaves room for something in the future while still being very conclusive. Overall, the DLC is a respectable length and will give you enough hours to feel the investment was worth it. It will probably take you between three and five hours to get through it.
If I have to be honest though my biggest disappointment with Whistleblower is just that, despite being in the female ward this time around, there are no actual female patients to encounter. I get that it’s part of the story that there are no female patients in there, but with the first game taking place in the male ward I really feel that female patients could have been a new or interesting way to mix up the scares. It was part of what initially enticed me to the DLC as well. As we know from past horror titles women can be pretty damn frightening and I feel it’s a missed opportunity. There are so many ways Red Barrels could have used female patients to give Whistleblower a fresh face, but I guess they forgot that women can be crazy cannibals too. The other minor gripe I have is that despite Park being a new protagonist, Red Barrels recycled the voice work from the previous game. Miles didn’t exactly talk, but he did have a voice primarily to show fear and pain, and it’s noticeable that the same was used.
In the end Outlast: Whistleblower can initially feel like more of the same, but it still delivers the scares and picks up by using old tricks in new packaging, which turns out extremely well. If you loved Outlast, then know that Whistleblower is an action-packed, adrenaline rush expansion to it that delivers intensity, brutality and unforgettable moments in spades. Coming from someone who almost never invests in DLC, I can say that Whistleblower is both a satisfying and affordable package which will cater to your thrill seeking behaviour. Don’t pass it up if you’re a major fan of the original.