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Outlast: Whistleblower

Outlast

The Whistleblower is a storyline expansion following Waylon Park, the software engineer that sent the inside scoop on that terror that is Mount Massive to Miles Upshur. His part takes place alongside Upshur’s trip through the asylum on a path that doesn’t directly intersect with Upshur’s course but rather staggers behind, allowing you brief glimpses of what happens in the main plot.

There’s a new set of horrors that join the host of returning psychopaths, but once you’re on your feet there’s very little that separates Waylon from Miles. Once again you’re armed with a video camera with a night vision mode that bleeds batteries dry fast. The only noises he makes are grunts and screams, regardless of whom he’s engaged in conversation. His only objectives are to survive and escape.

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When playing through the main game, exploring the asylum for the first time as Miles, I was unsure of what sort of horrors waited for me hidden within every shadow. I was easily unnerved, leaning around corridors and carefully opening doors before even thinking about stepping forward. By the end of the game my behavior had significantly changed. I was racing down the hollowed halls, disregarding the potential menace in my search for the next exit. I actively fled my opponents before I even knew they were there.

My tactics existed largely because of an epiphany I had: my foes were dumb and couldn’t navigate furniture. There were times in which I’d run into a room and be confronted by one of the several psychopaths that wished to take my internal organs from me in a sequential order. I could have tried hiding, but hiding took time. It was far easier to just run around a nearby table, and the AI was dumb enough to do nothing better than follow. It’s not like I had that many options.

Once again there is no offense, nor defense. There is only running and hiding. While the main game provided obstacles that barred progress and could only be cleared out by extensive button mashing, the DLC does not. Aside from one sequence in which an opponent simply moves faster than you, it’s easy enough running around scattered tables, fleeing through rooms and down hallways, and closing every single door you pass. I understand conceptually why I’m not given any sort of weapon. As a genre horror has slowly devolved into nothing more than action with horror elements, and Outlast seeks to be a pure experience. And it does, especially in the main game where the majority of my opponents were giants, fully capable of crushing my face with their bare hands.

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While playing Whistleblower I found myself caught by one of Mount Massive’s new psychopaths, a man more insane then powerful. He features a murder animation in which he grabs you by the throat, holds you aloft and then applies the pointed end of a knife to gut several times over. On my second failed attempt to escape him I realized how punchable his nose was. Surely if I was granted the ability to punch his nose, I would have survived. However, my character is a pacifist, only capable of doing battle when QTEs demanded violence.

These slights don’t provide enough of a reason to not warrant a return visit Mount Massive. Both Outlast and it’s DLC are excellent because they fill a void that is largely untouched by the the bigger developers. The Whistleblower wants to scare you, to freak you out, and it manages that. Though the mystery of what happened in Mount Massive was already discovered, developer Red Barrels has shown that there are plenty of new horrors that can be built, even more grotesque than then those left behind.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

Gentle persuasion

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