Title: Outlast 2
Platform: PC / Xbox One / PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Red Barrels Studio
Publisher: Red Barrels Studio
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Not as scary as its predecessor, but definitely more moments that make your butthole clench.
Price: $30 / £25
Family Focus: Click here for more information
Back in 2013, the world was introduced to Outlast, an indie horror game created by the delightful folks over at Red Barrels Studio. Around this time, the horror genre for video games was dwindling and becoming stale with classic franchises such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill drifting away from what made them stand out in video game industry as horror games. Red Barrels Studio gave us a shock with Outlast and had all of us players wearing diapers to make sure the next turn around a corner wasn’t a time to pause and change our underwear. Then, on October 23, 2014, Red Barrels Studio announced a sequel to the pant shitting horrors at Mount Massive Asylum.
Outlast 2 follows our protagonist Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist who alongside his wife, Lynn investigate the mysterious murder of a young, pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe. Outlast 2 shifts away from the cramped and claustrophobic corridors of Mount Massive Asylum for a more open rural environment in the Supai Region of the Coconino county region of Arizona. Most of the plot is confusing and doesn’t make sense, there fan theories that believe the events link it to the Murkoff company from the first game but nothing concrete… Hopefully, we will see some DLC that explains the event a little further.
Keeping the same gameplay format as the previous entry, Blake cannot fight against his foes; all he can do is run and hide from the minions of the Church or Heretics. Using various parts of the environment to hide such as tall grass, lakes, rivers, barrels, under beds, or in wardrobes and cabinets, Blake has various places to hide, but not all of them work, as enemies may find you instantaneously, usually ending up in your death.
Once again, like the first Outlast, Outlast 2 uses a video camera to document the horrifying journey, with night vision allowing the player to move through the darkness with an average idea where you’re going. Due to the open nature of the environment in Outlast 2, the camera obtained a new feature; a directional microphone to determine where the enemies are coming from or walking around. Unfortunately, just like the real life counterpart, using these features heavily drains your battery supply, and in a rural country, batteries are scarce, so managing your tools is key to surviving the horrors in Outlast 2.
Now, enemies in Outlast 2, and boy, there is a lot of them. This is one of my issues with Outlast 2; the encounters with enemies becomes stale quickly due to the encounters being too close together at times. This gives you no sense of ease, and whilst this adds to the tension. it takes away what made the first game great.
In the first game, you’d encounter enemies, but not in every room or section. Outlast 2 does, most of the time. This is a problem that most Fatal Frame/Project Zero games had towards the end, and this turned them from horror to action games. They say too much of a great thing is bad for you, and this holds true, as throwing too many enemies at you makes it tedious instead of frightening.
As for the boss enemies, their designs are disgusting and they general give you a sense of dread when you encounter them. Without going into detail and spoiling the game, you will encounter a boss enemy in the woods who makes you feel well and truly hunted, as he doesn’t need to chase you down. He wields a primitive weapon that can wound and sometimes instantly kill you, making him the embodiment of fear itself. In fairness, they all make you feel a sense of dread in their own unique ways, but that one most of all.
Overall, Outlast 2 is a great game that provides the same tension as the previous, but lacks the horror elements of the first game, due to the abundance of enemies thrown at you. The game is almost double the length of the first game and provides a higher sense of difficulty for the insane mode; double the length means surviving for longer without dying. Outlast 2 provides a chunk of replayability if you’re aiming for the trophies or achievements in this title. If you haven’t played the first title and the downloadable content then I’d highly recommend picking up Outlast Trinity, a physical copy of all three games in one terrifying bundle.
- Threatening and clever AI.
- Amazing sound design and soundtrack.
- Cast of enemies that mercilessly hunt you.
- Too many enemy waves for a horror game.
- Not as scary as the previous instalment.
Violence, gore, religious and sexual references mixed with disgusting creatures this isn’t one to show your family. PEGI 18. ERSB M Rating.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a digital copy for the PlayStation 4 purchased for the purpose of this review.