Review: Outlast (Computer)

Reviewed by aiat_gamer, posted Oct 14, 2013
I am a fan of horror games, ever since I played Silent Hill I just fell in love with the genre. I can proudly say that I have played every single "good" horror game that I could get my hands on over the past years. But being a veteran of the genre, I did not expect Outlast to be this good. By good I mean that it just nails the horror right in the head and this was very impressive to me. I was tired of the so called horror games that relied on simple jump scares. so playing Outlast was a very good and pleasant(!) experience.
Oct 14, 2013
  • Release Date (NA):
  • Publisher: Redbarrels.
  • Genres: Survival horror
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Unfortunately the move from pure horror games to action/horror was not sitting that well with that fans(just look at Dead Space 3) but fortunately, with the rise of indie games there are some very well made games in the horror genre coming out each year. From the first trailers I was really interested in Outlast and I have to say, it did not disappoint. If there is one major complain about the it is this: It is too scary!
For years it seemed that horror genre was in the grips of Japanese video games developers, specifically Resident Evil and Silent Hill series. But ever since Amnesia (and before that, Penumbra series) came out this has changed significantly...a hybrid of FPS(without the shooting part!) and puzzle/adventure elements led to a fresh breath of air in the horror genre. Enter Outlast, a horror game by the new up and coming developer Redbarrels: a collection of guys who had previously worked on titles such as Uncharted , Prince of Persia and Assassin`s Creed series.
Outlast borrows heavily from Amnesia:The Dark Descent, although it has some new tricks up its sleeve to make it different enough from the source material. The game sets up pretty straight forward: you are Miles Upshur. A journalist who has just received a tip concerning some wacky experiment in a psychiatric company. You arrive at the gates of a massive mental asylum in shape of an ominous mansion (it is always a secluded mansion!) and mere seconds from entering, you realize something has gone horribly wrong...

Welcome , it is going to be so much fun!( hint: it really wont)
The controls in Outlast are like your typical FPS, you walk with WASD, look around with the mouse and jump using space. But you wont be doing any shooting, except with your camera. Here is the most important mechanism by which this game sets itself apart from Amnesia. Most areas in the game are either poorly lit or down right pitch black, so you need to rely on your trusty camera`s night vision in order to be able to actually see. But night vision drains batteries like crazy so care should be taken to limit its usage. Of course you can find extra batteries laying around but with the limited supply, it is important to manage the night vision correctly.​
Without having the ability to defend yourself, you need to rely on avoiding enemy encounters and using the darkness to your advantage to sneak around. If you get caught, there are some places to hide, under a bed or in a locker but you never can rely on them all the time. There is nothing more frightening then watching your would be killer slowly banging on the closet doors or walking around the bed you are hiding under and stopping, making you pray that he would not drop down and look under the bed.​
If you have not figured it out yet, Outlast is a horror game and by god it wears the horror part proudly. It is in no way an exaggeration to say that this game is among the scariest games ever created. Playing it in the dark and alone is so much tasking that you will probably need to take breaks after every hour of playing. Instead of fantasy monsters, there are just human beings in the game but that does NOT make them any less scary. Part of the reason you will be always on the edge of your seat is how unpredictable characters are in the game. There patients with blank stares juts sitting or walking which do not seem to pay you any mind, but you will never know when one of them will attack you when you least expect it. Also some might just let you pass by them the first time unharmed only to attack you the next time you try to try it again.​
And then there is the main adversaries that you meet during your travel in the bowels of the mansion. An ex-military police man who is like the twisted version of The Hulk and haunts you relentlessly during the game, or a deranged doctor with an appetite for some good old blood and guts. You try to sneak around the cut-off part of the level without getting caught until you can figure out the way out. This is where the game gets a bit repetitive, as every encounter plays out more or less like the last one.​
Say cheese!
There is also the numerous fetch quests throughout the game, every time you reach a new area there is some buttons that need pressing or some valves that need turning so you can continue to the next part. If these were mixed with some puzzle-like elements they would not lead to a sense of repetition later in the game. Another complain about the game, which is highly dependent on how much you spend the time to explore, is that the story is mostly used through the magic of notes! In a true classic mode, you find notes, letters and files that slowly and gradually let you piece together the story. If you do not find and or read them carefully, you may lose important story bits.​
The graphics in the game are quite impressive. The lightning and shadows work perfectly giving you a perfect sense of creepy atmosphere. There are some neat touches, like how Miles presses his hands on the wall and leans around the corners, or how you can look backwards while running away. Characters, although pretty well modeled, suffer from a lack of diversity. Apart from the main characters others are more or less copies of each other which can lead you to think that there are way too many twins in the asylum.​
Overall, if you are in the market for a good horror game, you can not go wrong With Outlast. The game takes about 7-8 hours to finish and is reasonably priced at about 20$. But remember:it is not for the weak of heart. You better make sure you can handle the fear, unless you want to be known as the guy who wet himself over a "game"...
+ -Very, really, truly scary.
+ -Very nice graphics.
+ -Creepy atmosphere
+ -Reasonably put together story
+ -Haunts your dreams!
- -Gets repetitive towards the end
- -Endless fetch quests
8 Presentation
The game does the thing it sets out to do very well. Graphics and sound design are pretty well done and the simple but responsive controls give you the power to run and sneak your way into victory.
8 Gameplay
Without a mechanic for fighting and defending, the game relies heavily on avoiding the enemies. This requires a pretty robust AI system and stealth mechanic that fortunately, the game pulls off reasonably well. There is something weird about how your character moves around and makes sound even when you are moving as slowly as possible, thus making it hard to know exactly when you are making too much noise but overall, everything works out.
7 Lasting Appeal
Not that much, the experience is not so much "fun" that you might want to do it again! But playing again and trying to find every collectible can be an incentive.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
If you are a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to try this game. Not many games come even close to how scary Outlast can and will be. This is a prime example on how to do horror right.

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