(This review is for the PS4 version but Outlast is available on PC and Xbox One)
In the wake of Halloween, Outlast is a great game to play by yourself late at night or with a group of friends. It is truly a terrifying experience and is unique to most survival-horror type games. Usually in survival-horrors (like Resident Evil or Silent Hill) you have a basic means of defending yourself and scavenging for weapons, ammo, and other resources you happen to stumble upon. However, what sets this game apart from all the others once before it is this- you cannot fight back. In this game, you will run, hide, and cower in fear because that is all you can do. In this game, fight or flight does not exist; you must scavenge and run for your life.
Official synopsis for Outlast:
“In the remote mountains of Colorado, horrors wait inside Mount Massive Asylum. A long-abandoned home for the mentally ill, recently re-opened by the “research and charity” branch of the transnational Murkoff Corporation, has been operating in strict secrecy…until now.
“Acting on a tip from an inside source, independent journalist Miles Upshur breaks into the facility, and what he discovers walks a terrifying line between science and religion, nature and something else entirely. Once inside, his only hope of escape lies with the terrible truth at the heart of Mount Massive.”
First off, let me just point out how scary the game is. The jump scares will get you almost all the time, especially in the beginning. The setting is very dark and foreboding of the horrors deep in the Asylum, making you nervous with every door you open. It gets even more tense when you are pitted against the habitants of the Asylum. As scary as it was, I enjoyed running away from the enemies in the game. I got nervous and terrified when running from an enemy. There is no mini map on the HUD so I had no idea where I was going and what was lurking about in the depths of the shadows.
I burst through a door and slammed it shut behind me and jumped in the locker closest to me. My pursuer banged on the door until finally he broke in, breathing almost as heavily as I was, tearing the place apart in search of me. I would feel a cool sense of relief and safety once the menace was gone. Just these small cat and mouse play-style made me terrified of the chases deeper into the game.
The sounds in the game make for a great experience and you can hear almost everything from the pounding footsteps chasing you around to the rain that slaps against the walls as you try and sneak around a terrible foe. The setting is nicely crafted by the developers and sometimes makes it seem like this is a real place, which added to the experience.
Your only friend in this world is your trusty video camera and its night vision setting. The night vision assists you seeing in the dark and is extremely useful with the asylum being engulfed in darkness almost everywhere. However, the camera itself runs on batteries scattered about the environment so you have to have a keen eye out for them. Night-vision will run your battery dry, forcing you to conserve your battery. If you don’t, you can run into trouble in the dark. My last battery would die a few times whilst in the dark and I would have to restart the area all over again, leading to frustration, but taught me how to play with better strategies.
Don’t worry, if you feel the game is too easy, you can change the difficulty settings; the harder the game, the less abundant the batteries become.
The story for this game is interesting and it kept my attention throughout most of the game, even if the game play itself got repetitive and annoying. The game does a good job of making you wonder exactly what the heck is going on there. If you want to find out what the back story is, there are documents scattered about Mount Massive. They detail the terrible and gruesome scientific experiments that occurred at the asylum.
To my dismay, the mission objectives get a little tedious, like in almost every survival-horror game. Some are necessary but others made me roll my eyes a bit. Some objectives you have to do over and over again. It takes away from the horror a bit; instead of being scared, you become more annoyed than anything and that does not mix well with a horror game.
Like I have said countless times before, this game is terrifying. It’s a unique game to add to the survival-horror genre and makes you feel like you are actually there at Mount Massive, with it’s great setting and audio. However, the character models are not so scary, just ugly-looking close up and take away from the horror. Some of the missions feel unnecessary but the game does a great job of getting your blood pumping.
Final Score: 8.0/10