A week ago, I have reviewed the original Outlast and, luckily enough, The Whistleblower DLC was released soon after that, so I had my hands on and, unlike the early Outlast players, experienced almost no break in the story’s narrative, from the perspectives of both Miles Upshur and Waylon Park.
The Whistleblower is a both prequel and sequel at once, because it spans across events, which occurred before Miles arrived to the asylum, and those happened after his trip to the lab. This means we will see the familiar hallways and locations, and may even spot our (actually Miles’) old friends. Not necessarily in alive state.
The DLC is exploiting the original mechanics, nothing has changed here, and you will probably be hardly surprised, watching Waylon, in the beginning of his journey, grabbing the same camcorder which Upshur had. The abilities are exactly the same of the original protagonist.
The original game has been often blamed for its extensive repetitiveness, which bored some players. The Whistleblower isn’t much changed this way and the gameplay’s freshness is solely relied on cutscenes and different events out of direct player’s control. However, the ‘collect some items to proceed’ missions are greatly reduced and the typical goal to achieve in most parts of the game is just to proceed further, evading some psychopath, searching for your flesh. Decorations varies greatly during the whole journey and some of locations are really spectacular and, if you are feeling adventurous, you can even slow your motion to look around. The Female Ward is one of examples. Exceptionally good work has been done with the lighting, but I will repeat here one more time, that both the original Outlast and The Whistleblower are not looking as next-gen titles. They’re both Unreal Engine 3.5 powered games, looking good, sometimes exceptionally good, but not great by today’s standard. The good part of this is that you can run it on not high-end hardware with decent FPS.
The psychopaths after you are both familiar to you and the brand new. They all have their very own personality and looks really insane and ominous. The most memorable one is a tuxedo wearing maniac with multiple personalities disorder. He'll definitely stay in your memory for a while.
The one of disturbing features of the game is that you will never know if you had finally escaped from your enemy or if he is patiently waiting for you behind another corner. The only thing assuring your safety is the display of the psychopath's death. You can proceed safely from this point just to be chased by another one several minutes later. So, the game doesn't swap one antagonist after another quite often, it sustains the lovely designed anti-character as long as it possible. It's good, but some players could demand more safe areas, free of any hostile creatures.
One feature have amazed me. While limping and unable to run away from a maniac, I've briefly decided to hide in the nearest locker. The psychopath patiently came over to my hiding spot and cheerly showed me, that he's aware of me inside the box. Then he slowly dragged the box, telling me all kinds of creepy things, to his lair and the story continued. Was that intentional or the key events of the game can adapt to the player's decisions? The game cannot know if the player will hide in the locker or not, but somehow it knew. I should probably replay this episode to know for sure.
Like in the original, the protagonist experience some body traumas during the game. But unlike the original's Miles Upshur's, Waylon Park's injury reduces his capabilities greatly. In short, at one point he's becoming incapable of running and this degraded condition changes tactics seriously, because now you can't just run and hide. At this point you should carefully plan your path, hides and timing and you definitely should know your enemy's exact whereabouts. The game become a lot more difficult when Waylon start limping. Strangely enough, some time later, the leg is cured without doctors and medicines and you can happily run again.
The Whistleblower have much more gore than the original. The DLC is more bloody in many ways. But is it more scary? You will still have your shivers and maybe some fearful screaming exclamations during all the sudden events, when ugly heads popping through the walls just to warn you about upcoming something. The Whistleblower is as scary as the original Outlast, not less, but also not much.
The game lasts roughly the same as the original, you can beat it in two seats. It explains the original story further, and it is really interesting. If you've been excited about the what and why's of the Outlast's universe, you should definitely play the DLC. And if you're not after the story, I can easily recommend The Whistleblower just to tickle you nerves and to stare at the glorious scenery. It is really worth it.