Outlast Review

Outlast is the scariest video game I have ever played. From the the horrifyingly realized Mount Massive Asylum, to the chillingly believable story and most importantly the way that it makes you feel utterly defenseless, I was constantly jumping out of my chair in fright. Pacing issues from dated video-gamey puzzle mechanics aside, Outlast is a game you should definitely not ignore.

Players will step into the shoes of a reporter who is coming to Mount Massive to uncover gruesome experiments that the mega-corporation who owns it are performing on its patients. It’s a simple setup, but it provides the perfect amount of motivation for you to want to explore the asylum.

Mount Massive is absolutely beautiful. The game harnesses next-gen lighting effects extremely well, resulting in shadows seeming to take the shape of enemies in the corner of your eye. Much like the house in Gone Home, the asylum in Outlast’s layout makes sense and feels like a real place. It is without question the best looking survival horror game to come out in recent years.

Outlast_Screen 4

There’s also smaller intricacies that add to the game’s believability, like how after stepping in a puddle of blood you’ll leave a trail of red footprints behind you. Even cooler is how when you get close to a wall to peek around the corner, your character will place his hand on it for balance.

Character models however, do not look nearly as great as the world they inhabit. The “generic patient” pops up far too often in the six- hour story, and the fact that there is one unique patient chasing you throughout the entire story really made me wish that more time was put into making sure NPC’s look as great as their surrounding environments.

Gameplay is a mix of first-person platforming akin to last year’s Far Cry 3, hiding from insane inmates, and, (my least favorite aspect of the game), simple puzzle solving. The platforming works really well, never taking away from the tense and frantic pace of the game. The puzzles do not fare as well, though because they often bring the story to a jarring halt due to one of the game’s deepest core mechanics.

Outlast_New Screen 2

You have no way to defend yourself in Outlast. The only tool you’ll acquire in the entire game is your video camera which comes equipped with a handy night-vision setting. Because of this, the only way to progress through most of the game is to either hide or run away shutting doors behind you to slow your assailants. The way that this couples with the puzzle solving to almost break the game is that if the enemy that always inhabits the room that you’re solving a puzzle in sees you, it’s usually easier to just let yourself die so you can start the section over. There’s also no “restart from checkpoint” option in the pause menu either, adding to the problem even more. Luckily the puzzles rarely require more than the simple push of a few buttons in a specific order, effectively bringing the game back from the ledge of brokenness.

Issues aside, there aren’t very many better ways that you could spend $20.00 on a survival horror game. Outlast has a lot going for it from the incredible world setting and graphics, to the genuine sense of dread it imposes upon the player. It kept me so hooked that I ended up playing it in one six-hour sitting, so for anyone itching to be scared I can’t recommend it more.

8.0/10

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4 responses to “Outlast Review

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