After my review of Resident Evil a few weeks ago, I got onto a horror gaming kick. However, in the back of my mind, I was wondering if any game could give me the chills and scares that Resident Evil 7 did.
So, while looking through the plethora of PC games in the horror genre on Steam, one caught my eye. The title was simply Outlast. Nothing else said. And the reviews on the game from other players was pretty respectable. However, it came out quite a few years ago (2013, to be exact). Typically, if I haven’t heard about a game within a few months of its release, it probably isn’t that good. But the reports were pretty good, so I figured I would give it a shot.
Outlast is set inside the Mount Massive Asylum. Players take the role of an investigative reporter named Miles Upshur, who was given a scoop about some issues going on inside. Deciding to arrive on a dark and stormy night, Miles breaks into Mount Massive and the true horror begins.
Once inside, the hospital appears to be empty and ransacked. Using his night vision camera, Miles soon starts experiencing some unnerving moments, from having doors slam while he is moving toward them to finding the decapitated bodies of several of the asylum security officers. In one room, a dying officer tells Miles of the deranged patients who are now running loose inside and carrying a blood lust. Unable to escape back the way he came, Miles is forced to push on, and eventually he meets a gigantic patient who hurls him through a window into the lobby.
Dazed by the fall, Miles is visited by a very creepy priest, who claims to be his apostle. Once he is able to get his wits together, Miles explores deeper into the corridors of the asylum, all the while being chased and hunted by different inmates, some who have been experimented upon, giving them gruesome features and enhanced strength. All Miles has to do is make it out. Live to the end. Outlast to survive.
Unlike Resident Evil and other horror genre games I have played, Outlast doesn’t give you much to help with your survival. There are no weapons to take retribution out with. The only thing you have working in your favor is the ability to run and hide. You find out very quickly what happens if you get caught by one of the freaks. In the early game, I probably spent way too much time hiding in cabinets or under beds. But I was so nervous that I was going to get beaten to death.
The graphics and sounds lend greatly to the tension. A lot of the game takes place in dark rooms, in which the only thing you have to help you is the night vision camcorder you start the game with. But when the lights are on, the dungy, creepy look of all the sets in the game fully immerse gamers. There are lots of pop-up scares with sound effects perfect for maximum startles. And the constant nervous heavy breathing by Miles just creates a feeling of dread. I found myself many times breathing just as hard, even though it was noon and I was sitting in my living room playing Outlast on my laptop.
The only bad thing I could say about Outlast is that the enemies started becoming very repetitive later in the game. After you’ve seen them once, you can expect to see that same model over and over again. It might not be that big of an issue, except that the graphics on these menacing monsters are somewhat dated. I expected a much better quality in the design of them. The game would have a lot more of the creep factor if the same character model was not used repeatedly. That’s one of my gripes with many games.
I give Outlast four out of five stars. The game has the right feeling of dread and imminent danger you want with horror genre games. The set designs and audio fit it perfectly. However, the monsters felt haphazardly thrown together and it feels sorta like they ran out of time to launch, thus they had to repeat many of the villains. Hopefully, the upcoming Outlast 2 will address that issue and pack in the appropriate number of models. For $20.00 on Steam, you are not going to find another game of this quality. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As mentioned, Outlast 2 debuts this year. And I plan on getting it and will post a review as soon as I can. I have high expectations for it, but many share that desire for quality scares from gaming platforms. Can’t wait to give it a try!