Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Outlast Review

Game: Outlast
Year (s): 2013
Company: dev. Red Barrels
pub. Red Barrels
Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Type: Run and Hide
Viewpoint: First-Person
Metacritic Score: 80
My Score: This will appeal to some players, but
it's not for everyone

Price (as of January 7, 2014)

Regular list price on Steam: $19.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping): No physical copies of this game

My Game Time: 7 hours, rabidly cheating

Obligatory Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkSydla4sxo


The game opens saying that the Nazis were doing crazy stuff during the war, and some of the scientists came to the US.

You play the part of a modern-day investigative journalist. An anonymous letter tells you that Mount Massive mental hospital for the criminally insane is doing bad things and needs to be exposed.

You pack up your handheld camera and drive out there one night, sneaking in an open window after scaling scaffolding. The place looks quiet and empty- until a mutilated man throws you over the railing to a lower floor. There are bodies and blood everywhere. You have no idea what has happened here, but you plan to find out, get out, and tell the world.

Save System

Manual Save? Yes- Save and Quit
Quick Save? No
Area Load Save? No
Checkpoint Save? Yes


If you've played Amnesia and liked it, you'll like this. Read no further.

There is no combat in Outlast. You can run, and you can hide. If you turn the wrong way while being chased you might reach a dead end, or another enemy, and be screwed. Once I even fell into a pit.

The player's camera has a night-vision function, which is absolutely necessary. This game is incredibly dark, and if you run out of batteries (l did several times) you'll be stumbling into walls and enemies and have an almost impossible time spotting objectives or routes of escape.

I realized very quickly that the extreme darkness made the game too difficult for me to enjoy. I turned on god mode, and tried to turn out infinite batteries as well (both involved editing the config files). I can't think of a game this millennium where I cheated so quickly, but I wanted to see what the story was.

This game comes with a warning for the graphic imagery, and I can't stress that enough. Violence is the primary vehicle for apprehension; there's nothing psychological about it. If it had been just a little more graphic I would have stopped playing. Two dudes about to engage in necrophilia with a headless corpse. Mutilation on nearly everyone. The player getting strapped to a chair and having fingers chopped off. Some people might find that scary (they probably like the Hostel movies too) but I find it gross and gratuitous.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

A prequel DLC named Whistleblower has been announced, but there is currently no release date or much information about it.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it's all about one's personal likes and opinions.

I do not like gore. I find it unpleasant but not scary; I opt for the psychological fear of the things you can't see.

Extremely dark games, in which you can run out of your light source, put me at a huge disadvantage. I see poorly as it is, so I can't function in a game this dark without cheating. I ran into the same thing playing Amnesia.

While I can appreciate the scariness of running for escape, hiding, dying a lot, and learning by trial and error, it's something I am poor at. I prefer to at least have the option of combat.

I felt the ending, and the last hour of gameplay that briefly explained what was going on, were weak and unsatisfying. A quick search for, “Outlast ending,” shows that I am not alone in this opinion. There are, however, many that were satisfied with the ending.

I would like to end by saying that this is not a bad game, and that many people like it just fine. It is not, however, a good game for me.