Developers: Red Barrels
Publishers: Red Barrels
Plot: When a computer technician sees too much at Murkoff, they throw him into the depths of the asylum to dispose of him.
The first thing that strikes you about this DLC is that it is a lot more story-based than the original game. This helps, because Outlast liked to play on the ‘no one knew what was coming next’ side of the thriller, which, while good, meant that we left the game, not entirely sure what the hell was going on. In the first five minutes, we are absolutely clear on Murkoff’s intentions. They are definitely not some misunderstood scientists that pushed science too far; these guys are evil and know it. In a few beats, you are discovered as a whistle-blower and are thrown into the asylum. It is actually quite fun to get to grips with the Outlast universe. We enjoyed the original game so much; why shouldn’t we know a little more about it? If you think of yourself as an Outlast true fan, then you will need to get your hands on this DLC, even if it is just for the bigger picture. It also opens up some interesting directions for a sequel. Outlast’s big problem was that it did seem like an open and shut game, but now, there is a possibility for a follow-up. Murkoff is evolving into something akin to Resident Evil’s Umbrella, and will most likely be trying this again.
I also love how it begins as a prequel to the original game, but as you get closer to the end, your timeline catches up with the journalist from the actual Outlast. As the levels run alongside each other, you will see small signs that you have been here before in the journalist’s shoes. It does add a nice sense of nostalgia, especially near the end, when you realise you are in rooms you started the original game in. I would have liked this idea to have been taken that tad bit further. For example, you get to see some of the old faces from the rogue gallery of the last game, but they only ever show up as cameos. As fun as it was to see the creepy priest, writing up his messages to the journalist in blood, I would have liked a prolonged section where we get attacked by Chris Walker, the massive Variant, and easily the scariest of the bunch (until this DLC, perhaps. More on that later.) Something more than a forgettable dash from an unexplained assault.
The new villains are brilliant. First off, we meet Manera, a cannibal, who chases you down with a chainsaw, hoping for you to ‘feed him’. While, he does seem a little try-hard of Outlast, there is something very terrifying about how he bursts from nearby rooms, his weapon buzzing loudly and him screaming at you. It makes for some great jump-scares and you will probably find yourself weeping under a bed at more than one point. However, Manera has nothing on what this DLC has obviously been looking forward to from the very start. Introduce the tormented Gluskin, who is known as the Groom to other patients. The poor chap just wants a wife, but none of the inmates are suitable, because they neither have a vagina nor want to spend an eternity with him. He tries his best to make them ‘adequate’ for the consummation of the marriage, and what follows is one of the creepiest segments of gaming that Outlast has provided yet. Gluskin will almost definitely become a fan favourite to gamers and will probably cause you to turn off your telly and go find a corner to spend the rest of the day in.
This DLC gives players another few days in the Outlast universe and we can’t ask for little more than that. It is a little messier and thrown together than the actual game. I wasn’t too keen on the fact it could be broken down into two halves. One half was the cannibal, the second was the Groom. I preferred, when you had no idea who was coming next, because even in the quieter bits, we were expecting something deadly just around the corner. It feels a little more planned, but because of that, the terror effect doesn’t work as well. In being orchestrated, it feels less organised, which I understand makes little sense, but any gamer will understand what I am talking about. Also, the ending is a little off. After the Groom, you essentially make your way to the end, getting through exposition. It needed a little punch (this would have been an ideal place to meet up with one of the villains from the first game!) However, despite this slight wobble, there isn’t much wrong with this DLC.
Final Verdict: Still uncontrollably terrifying, but adds a nice layer of mythology to proceedings. Let the nightmare continue!