We’re hiding inside a locker, having just run for our life from a crazed mad man armed with a single, circular surgery saw. We can still hear the whirl of the saw echoing through the rooms of Mount Massive Asylum. He’s close. We have two choices: run or die.
This week, Red Barrels released the much anticipated first DLC outing for their survival horror game, Outlast, which we reviewed recently.
Whistleblower is almost a stand-alone prequel to the frightening story that unraveled in Outlast, allowing players to assume the role of Waylon Park, the man who originally sent the email to Miles Upshur in the original story campaign, bringing him to Mount Massive Asylum. Whistleblower, which takes place mere hours before Outlast does, tells the story of the events leading up to Miles’ harrowing time in the asylum, bringing us the story of what really happened within Mount Massive, and what caused all of the chaos, torture, and death within its walls.
Whistleblower focuses on clearing up some of the unresolved questions from the original release, bringing more of the story we enjoyed so much in our original playthrough. There are new areas to explore, new characters to run from, and new terror waiting around every corner of Mount Massive.
You might think that it would be nearly impossible to bring fear and terror to players in the same halls that you’ve already played through once; but this latest chapter brings an all-new meaning to being scared to death. Red Barrels takes us back through our favorite parts of the asylum, bringing back characters we feared before – like Butterbean and the infamous, naked twins with a fetish for death – but we’re also introduced to entirely new areas. Sure, we were terrified in Outlast, but Whistleblower really puts it to shame at times. Red Barrels has addressed many of the base game’s issues – such as long periods of hiding in one spot, or how easy it was to get lost in some places. But despite the more linear layout of Whistleblower, it works far better then you’d believe.
Though Whistleblower holds many shocking jump scares, there are many parts that are very hard to stomach. On more then one occasion we found ourselves having to avert our eyes, as the storyline slides hard in to torture-porn-like shocks, and one too many naked men for even our likings. But that doesn’t mean that Whistleblower strays from the direction that Outlast set out on. You’ll get to see what was really happening at Mount Massive.
If you’re familiar with Outlast, you’ll feel instantly familiar with the gameplay on offer here. Red Barrels did the right thing when they made Whistleblower, having learned valuable lessons from their release of Outlast just eight months ago. They knew that players would be familiar with the functionality and intelligence of the enemies and how the game works. So instead of boring us with the same long, drawn-out situations of terror we had before, Whistleblower moves faster – and pumps the adrenaline even harder – by making encounters more fast-paced and frightening. If you thought Outlast was intense, then you’re in for a shock.
But be warned: Whistleblower is extremely grotesque at times. There are heavy doses of sexual and murderous violence strewn throughout and it’s clear that Red Barrels is ready to push the limits of what could be deemed acceptable with Whistleblower. With so much focus on genital mutilation – complete with a scene of a tied-up, naked man with a table saw between his legs – and so much gore and nudity, this game deserves to have a warning label on its initial loading screen. This is not for the faint of heart.
Just as it was in Outlast, there are no women in Whistleblower. We’re actually pleased; we’re unsure of how we would handle some of the more controversial scenes if they depicted women as well as men. But if you search hard enough within Mount Massive, you may just find what we did – a single case file explaining why women are not present, despite the female ward that was seen in Outlast. Well played, Red Barrels. Well played.
Outlast and Whistleblower have a lot in common; in fact, the two cross over at one point and blends the original game and its DLC together nearly flawlessly Whistleblower is a very strong return for Red Barrels and brings a wonderful new story and chapter to the well-liked Outlast game. We were extremely excited to have the chance to play it, despite how terrified we were at the same time. We weren’t prepared to return to Mount Massive so soon after our original playthrough.
There are things that we wish we would have seen more of, such as the intense psychological effects that were strongly used at the beginning of this new slice of content, disappear without real explanation. And we would have enjoyed a little more fear – though the level of tension that we are given as replacement was much appreciated. It was rather enjoyable to be able to keep moving in fear then hide in fear instead. But again, we can’t help but to feel that it focused a little too much on sexual horror then anything else. The climax is also a great improvement on the original game’s.
If you’re brave enough – and have a strong enough stomach – we suggest that you give Whistleblower a try. It doesn’t take long to play, though it’s just short that you won’t have time to get bored with it. The slight changes that were made in Whistleblower make this game extremmely worth at least a single play through. But we can not stress this enough. The graphics in Whistleblower are very dark, and we urge players to be prepared.