The first – and only, according to makers Red Barrels – DLC for runaway horror smash Outlast has dropped on wednesday (7th May).
I’m a huge fan of Outlast and was eager to see if a return to Mount Massive Asylum (yes, it really is called that) lives up to the white-knuckle experience of the original.
The expansion, Whistleblower, is set before the events of the original campaign. You play as the mysterious sender of the email that summoned Miles, the reporter, to the beleaguered facility. In a brief, expositional first section, you fire off that fateful missive and are promptly caught by the evil Murkoff corporation.
As they might have been expected to, they take your industrial betrayal as consent to become their next experiment subject. Things quickly get very bad, very fast and your task becomes to escape the chaos.
The DLC adds depth and backstory to the original experience, without drastically changing any of the core mechanics. Very soon after things start going down in Mount Massive you pick up a camcorder. This becomes your sole light source as was the case in the original.
The first section of the game treads familiar ground as you explore parts of the hellish facility and are then tasked with finding progress items… while being chased by a naked cannibal.
Which brings me to the biggest change Whistleblower implements. The game is shockingly, sadistically violent. People are bludgeoned to death while you watch. But when you move into the second part of the game, you are exposed to some of the most extreme material I think I have ever seen in a game. Not to spoil it for you or anything, but let’s just say the narrative takes Silence of the Lambs and crosses it with Weird Science and we’ll leave it there!
Though I fell for a lot of the jump scares, these won’t be new to Outlast fans. I must say though, the sound design – which was excellent to begin with – seems to have been kicked up a gear for this release. I particularly enjoyed the new gasping sounds your character makes when he’s scared.
Whistleblower follows the Outlast formula of being part chase, part walkthrough haunted house. As with the original, most of the fun lies in seeing what fresh horrors await you as you carve your path to freedom. I can honestly say though, that I wasn’t expecting what awaited me in the Male ward – and I won’t soon forget the experience.
My playthrough took about 2 hours, which wasn’t bad for an £8 expansion. By way of comparison, this is probably the same length of time I took playing through “Daylight”, another recently released first-person horror. The production values of Whistleblower are excellent, I can’t wait to see where Red Barrels takes the franchise next.
A word to the wise: in the early stages of the game, I couldn’t see where to go next – I sometimes thought the level had glitched and it was broken. Should you find yourself in this position, remember to look above you…
Whistleblower is available now on Steam, and on the PS4 store.