Indie developer Red Barrels has managed to strike gold for the second time with the recent release of Outlast Whistleblower, the DLC update to what I have described as “the scariest game I have ever played”. Whistleblower allows those brave or cowardice souls who have or may not have managed to tackle the stories main campaign, to once again return to the hell on earth asylum of Murkoff Psychiatric System’s facilities in Mount Massive as Waylon Park, the whistleblower. In fact Waylon was the inside man at Murkoff Psychiatrics who sparked the interest of Miles Upshaw, the main stories protagonist by tipping him off of the unthinking practices taking place among the patients.
Now available on the PS4 and PC, Outlast Whistleblower confirms the development prowess of Red Barrels, as this latest update while it might not be as scary as the original story, adds yet another layer of creatively thrilling gameplay and bold expression making it arguably one of the best story add-on we’ve played in quite some time.
Upon being discovered for his betrayal to his Murkoff Psychiatric Systems employer, Waylon is quickly swept away into this new nightmare as the sinister corporation thwarts any known threats of their fiendish practices. Soon players who have played the original story of Outlast will begin piecing together certain locations, getting a glimpse of what originally took place as Red Barrels offers up interesting story tie-ins prior to Miles Upshaw’s visit.
Similar to Miles experience, Waylon soon encounters his owns set of unique and demented foes within Mount Massive. Waylon’s story while it does offer an echoed experience of the original story, the glaring difference is supported by the fact that Waylon unlike Miles has been placed here against his will. Like Miles, Waylon depending on the player’s curiosity will come across important patient and administrative documents adding knowledge to many of the patients within the asylum as well as giving a perspective on the facilities administrators, however the message is clear from the outset, Waylon desperately wants to escape by any means necessary.
Thankfully Red Barrels doesn’t bore you with re-tracing Miles previous step by step experience. By only hinting at it with locales which are memorable yet distinct based on the timeframes of Waylon’s visit, players are presented with a fresh new affair that doesn’t disappoint. Equipped with camcorder in hand, players will once again be cursing at the screen hating to investigate those dark corners of the ward in order to hopefully find those trusty batteries. Note, much of the carnage witnessed by Miles in the original story came as a result of the prior horrors witnessed by Waylon.
An unknown source causes a breakout pitting patients against physicians and security guards and through it all Waylon is seeking an escape. Forget about finding an ally among the chaos, Red Barrels wouldn’t dare make it that easy. Unique to the Outlast experience Red Barrels gets a kick out of forcing players to play as defenseless characters which are forced to use their wit and cunning to out maneuver their enemy threats without physical brawn. So once again you are vulnerable to everything around you. Waylon is suffocated by an atmospheric blanket of sheer terror complimented by deranged patients, blood-stained environments, carnage and the unforgiving ambient soundtrack that instigates every single moment of the ride.
As players progress through the horrors of this unimaginable reality, Waylon who never speaks expresses himself in his short written notes he leaves to be somehow found by his wife Lisa and in one note Waylon states:
“It’s our children, Lisa. I would take the easy way out if it wasn’t for the boys. Damn this place to hell, I’ll suffer anything to get out of it”.
Taking the easy out (suicide) doesn’t seem like a bad idea as you attempt to brave the halls of this place. As if trying to outdo themselves with even more bizarre and unthinkable behavior by these crazed patients, Red Barrels successfully screws you up all over again as some of the manifested thoughts of these patients have us shaking our heads in disbelief.
Some of the key players in the main campaign make their pleasant cameos in the form Chris Walker better known as the massive hulking brute who uses his sheer strength to rip people’s heads right off of their bodies, Father Martin, the influential patient turned evangelist and The Twins, the naked blade wielding cannibals which gives a brief glimpse before their run in with Miles.
If you thought matters could not get any worst you would certainly be wrong. Outlast Whistleblower becomes the perfect compliment to the original story. Again, while this new update is a healthy fraction of the level of scare in the full game, newly twisted characters and environments which have been given more graphical polish with a story that keeps you guessing at every turn makes Whistleblower another amazing experience from Red Barrels.
You could play this new update without having completed the original story and still walk away fully scared and satisfied, however your convictions would more than likely eat at you to complete the story for its undeniable satisfaction.