Outlast review (PC)

SlapHappyJesus | 215d ago | User review
Reviewing: Outlast
Another soon to be 'Classic' of horror.
Outlast.
Well, Outlast is one of those rare titles where the developer knew exactly what they wanted from the get-go and, in my opinion, actually executed their vision perfectly.
Honestly, all things considered, Outlast is an Amnesia clone. It just is. They share a lot in the way of design and just how they instill a sense of fear in the player. Without Amnesia, the original, I don't really believe we would have Outlast. At least not in the form that we have it now.
That being said, I believe Outlast trumps its obvious spiritual predecessor and delivers an experience that any horror fan can appreciate.

The game is tense. Oh, is the game tense.

Not since the Condemned series, and the aforementioned Amnesia, have I ever been so wary to turn a corner in a videogame. The game is damn oppressive and, really, isn't what I would call a fun game.
It messes with you. It does everything it can to mess with you. From sound design to character design, everything is there to unnerve you and make sure your stay at Mount Massive Asylum is not a pleasant one.
It creates an atmosphere which you just want to escape from, and the game is damn near perfect because of this.
You aren't meant to have fun with this game. You are meant to hate it, in all the right ways.
I sure did, and the experience is one I will not soon forget.

Outlast is one of those titles where they managed to meld story and gameplay so seamlessly that the need for cut-scenes and scripted events is almost non-existent.
The large majority of the story (and back-story) is told via files that are up to the player to find throughout the game. They not only paint a better picture of the overall narrative driving the player forward, but also gives context to the location itself, cementing it as this real place with a real story, in itself, to tell.
The rest, of that which the player experiences first-hand, is given better context, considering they have their camera ready, by taping their actions throughout and is delivered by the player character via notes that he writes of the more important scenes.
The game does a great job at confusing you as to what exactly is going on early on but, by the end, allows a firm grasp of the events taking place, considering you did the proper investigating needed to unravel the story for yourself.

As far as the gameplay itself goes, Outlast is a relatively simple game. Throughout the 3 - 4 hour experience, you will be doing little more than sneaking around, exploring the asylum for clues, and batteries for your ever depleting flashlight, and hiding/running from baddies when the first said mechanic fails you.
The game is about as simple as it gets and is part of the reason why I actually prefer it over a game such as Amnesia. While I am a relative fan of Amnesia, I am constantly put off by its sometimes rather obtuse puzzles that take away from what actually makes the game itself interesting and such an experience . . . the tension the game slowly builds within the player.
This is not the case with Outlast. It does everything it can to keep you in the overall experience it creates and makes sure you are always on your toes.
Never annoyed, just paranoid.

There is little else to say about the game, really. It's an excellent addition to the horror genre and is bound to be looked at as a classic some time down the road. As of right now, it is one of the best in the genre and anyone relatively interested should give the game a try.
Ups
Atmosphere
Strong narrative
Downs
A bit repetitive
Score
7.0
Graphics Outlast isn't going to turn heads, though it is far from an ugly game. Red Barrels did well in bringing Mount Massive Asylum to life.
9.0
Sound From the insane mumblings of the others of the asylum, to the creaks in the floor to the ambient sounds and music that is sprinkled throughout the game, everything was handled well and the sound design just helps push the experience the other elements are aiming to convey.
9.0
Gameplay Simplistic, though almost masterfully executed. It's an easy game to pick up, though not to complete.
5.0
Fun factor This is not a fun game. It wasn't meant to be. What this is is a tense experience throughout and is meant to consistently unnerve the player. It succeeds in this, and managed to be one of the most memorable game experiences, for me, of this year, or any year.
0.0
Online None to speak of.
9.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
hennessey86  +   214d ago
loved every second
cant wait for the dlc
Callediceman  +   213d ago
Looking forward to playing this! great review!
robtion  +   211d ago
Nice review, look forward to playing this on ps4.
beatled  +   208d ago
this game is great!!

my wife screamed out loud 3 times in sheer terror in the first 20-30 min of the game

that's a win as far as we're concerned

she loves silent hill, resident evil, condemned, amnesia and all the other big names, but I must truly say, this game has her jumping around with the controller in hand (full and perfect xbox360 controller implementation) more than any other title

we actually reigned in the new year playing this, got it for like $6 on steam, I think you can still grab it for that!

*edit, you can still get it for $6.79, but you only have 3 hours 20 min. as of 9:40 am est standard
#4 (Edited 208d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
SlapHappyJesus  +   207d ago
Glad to see you guys had a great experience with this game as well.
mixelon  +   200d ago
Great review. My perspective is a little different. I liked it but it got worse as it went on in some ways. You kind of get desensitised to the gore and stuff because you're knee deep by the end, and the final (resident evil-esque) act lessened it i think.

But that's just me.. I don't think it'll be considered a classic, but a definite jumping off point should Red Barrels do another game and improve on things. Its definitely mechanically a step forwards for the genre in some ways, just the devil's in the details, and some stuff was a bit off.

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Outlast

Average Score 8.1 Reviews(99)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
PS4 Release Dates
AU 05 February 2014
EU 05 February 2014
US 05 February 2014
Xbox One Release Dates