Before we start yes, i know this game came out in 2013 but anyone who’s been reading this blog knows I have a history with this game and I finally managed to complete it and thought I’d review it. I also played through the Whistle-Blower DLC almost immediately after playing through Outlast, and thought i’d add a small section for that as well.
Outlast is the critically acclaimed 2013 horror game from indie studio Red Barrels and has garnered quite the following since it’s release in 2013. It has since spawned DLC and a sequel as well as earning the title of one of the best horror games of all time. So naturally I took an interest in Outlast because of my love and appreciation of the horror genre. Oddly enough for around three months since I’ve owned the game I was never able to make it more than 30 minutes into the game without getting severely stressed out. This is especially odd seeing as I’ve played games about as scary as Outlast (Resident Evil 7, Soma, Amnesia The Dark Descent) and made it through them with little to no issue. I though I was probably never going to beat the game until yesterday when I finally decided enough was enough. So I sat down at my computer with a glass full of ice cubes and stress ate my way through Outlast in basically one sitting, and I’m glad I did because Outlast is a treat to play once you make it through the initial half hour. That’s not to say the opening half hour is bad, it’s far from it. It’s easily one of the scariest parts of the game. No, my real problem was getting used to the system of running away from your enemies. But luckily I eventually got used to it and was able to get through the entire game.
The game puts you in the shoes of Miles Upshur, an investigative reporter who after receiving a tip from an anonymous Whistle-blower journeys to Mount Massive Asylum where the shady Murkov corporation is allegedly running illegal experiments on the inmates. Like most everything horror, everything goes horribly wrong and your job goes from exposing the shady corporation to just trying to survive the horrors of the asylum.
What truly makes Outlast unique is its simple premise, It’s a found footage horror film but you’re the one with the camera. The game is built around the mechanic of using your camera to navigate the dark environments and record the horrors you’re witnessing. While it is a simple premise it makes for one of the scariest horror games I’ve ever played. Your camera’s battery life also depletes while using the night vision mode meaning you often have to scavenge for batteries whilst being chased, thus adding an extra layer of tension to the game.
The other place Outlast truly shines is its smart level design that perfectly complements the terrifying enemies that inhabit the asylum. The game gives you plenty of places to hide from the enemies but normally that isn’t an option and your only choice is to run and try to lose your pursuer. Thankfully the developers also give you plenty of doors to shut and thing to vault over that make it harder for your opponent to catch you. The enemy design also feels smart and realistic. If you are not careful the enemies have zero problem tracking you down meaning if you aren’t able to shake them in a corridor or run into a dead end they will kill you. This makes them feel like an actual threat thus making the enemy design one the game’s biggest strengths.
The one thing I think people may take issue with is the game’s length which is 4-5 hours long. I honestly think this is one of the game’s strong points, The game ends right when it feels like it’s about to overstay its welcome, and I appreciate a developer who doesn’t pad out their game for the sake of adding more content when it adding more content would lower the overall quality.
The game also is not for the faint of heart. The game is gory as hell without being gratuitous. that’s not to say the game doesn’t push the envelope, it does but it does it without over doing it.
Smart level design, terrifying enemies, expert pacing, and an ingenious premise make Outlast one of the best horror games out there.
Outlast is a master class in horror and needs to be experienced by any true fan of the genre.
I rate Outlast A+ or 9.8
Outlast Whistle-blower is a welcome return to the world of Outlast that helps shed some light on the first games biggest mysteries, and has enough polish that it feels less like a DLC and more like its own standalone title.
I rate Outlast: Whistle-blower B+ or 8.8
Thanks for reading, expect my review of Solo later this weekend also keep an eye out this week for my review of Deadpool 2.