Outlast has become something of a conundrum for me. I greatly enjoyed the core game up until the final section, which I really didn’t like where the story ended up going. For some reason though, I completely forgot how the game actually ended, which is strange because it ends it a fairly ridiculous and generic horror manner. Whether that’s a testament to how much I enjoyed the rest of the game that I blocked out the ending or it was so mediocre and unremarkable that I just forgot, I liked Outlast enough to actively seek out its DLC.
In case you forgot, like I did, the ‘revelations’ that happen at the end of Outlast are what Whistleblower’s protagonist, Waylon Park, was warning Miles Upshur about. His email results in his immediate incarceration within Mount Massive and he is subject to some of the experimentation that caused the so much of what you witnessed in the main game. You then escape in the security breakdown that Miles discovers and work your way out of the facility while Miles works his way in. It served as an immediate reminder of what happened in the last game and also placed you in the same environment and style of gameplay that were some of the only bad parts of Outlast.
Outlast: Whistleblower (PC [Reviewed], PlayStation 4)
Developer: Red Barrels
Publisher: Red Barrels
Release: May 6, 2014
However, that is in no way to say that Whistleblower is just more of the bad parts of Outlast. Blaire, Park’s evil boss, was a nice recurring force throughout the story. As unsatisfactory and boring I thought what Mount Massive’s experiments ended up being, Blaire added a face to the company and the atrocities they were committing and it better served the story, regardless of the quality of the story. His character walked a fine line between cartoonish and evil, but it never ventured into the ridiculous. It was also a nice change to have a character with clear motivation and purpose. I also enjoyed, The Groom, the new psychotic inmate that you have to flee for the middle of the DLC. He was very reminiscent of Dr. Trager from the core game, but instead of cutting people up, The Groom believed you to be his new blushing bride and wants to do some ‘alterations’ so that the two of you can consummate your vows. What borders on pure shock value, you get a particularly uneasy scene with The Groom just as you had with Dr. Trager. If only the other new character was as memorable.
There were several instances, especially when you run into familiar faces from the core game, where it seemed that the usual sneaking based gameplay would break down, forcing you to run for your life. There was no place to hide, you simply have to run into the safe zone. Unfortunately, that path isn’t as linear as it should be, and I often found myself trying to pick the one safe hallway out of three, dying, and trying again with the next one. Just as I was starting to tire of the guard path based room, I was confronted with the far less preferable trial-and-error death gauntlet. Outlast: Whistleblower serves as a reminder of both the best and worst parts of Outlast.
While the story of Outlast may have been the weakest part, the ending of Whistleblower somehow convinced me that I would be interested in seeing what happens next in their crazy story, although I’m not sure they could continue it with the same style of game. Slowly sneaking around people who want to kill you was a good enough gameplay experience for the core game, but it started to lose its appeal in Whistleblower.