Genre: Horror, survival
Developers: Red Barrels
My playtime: 10+ hours
After receiving an anonymous email the freelance journalist Miles Upshur goes to investigate and find out the truth of Mount Massive Asylum, a psychiatric hospital deep within the mountains of Colorado. With the help for your camcorder you make your way through the asylum to find out the secrets lurking within and try to get out alive.
Outlast, in my humble opinion, is the pinnacle of horror games. But that’s probably due to some good old nostalgia I have with the series. About five years ago I decided to watch the infamous YouTube we all know and love (or in some peoples case hate) Pewdiepie. The first video I ever watched of his was him playing the first Outlast game and I have had a strong fondness for the series ever since.
After receiving a Switch for Christmas I decided to buy Outlast and play it myself. I suppose it’s cheating that I already have good knowledge about the game, it’s plot line and the various incidents that happen throughout. That being said the game was still utterly terrifying and I spent over ten glorious hours yelling at the TV, panicking and being generally ridiculous and making my dad laugh with my behaviour towards the game.
It didn’t take me as long as I initially thought to complete Outlast. It’s crazy to see how different I felt when playing it myself compared to watching someone else play it. I truly felt the fear and dread and often found places to cower and chanted to myself that I really didn’t want to go into the next area and I would much rather stay in a nice cozy vent or underneath a bed.
The battery life is one of the biggest frustrations of this game. The camera in which you record on somehow has infinite battery life except when using night mode and then it takes a matter of minutes for the battery life to deplete. Frustration of the battery life aside, it did really push me to move forward and keep going even if it did mean I end up getting chased down and killed twenty times before progressing to the next area. The sheer panic of running out of batteries whilst in darkness really kept me from just hiding in a locker and waiting stuff out (that doesn’t even work anyway). When I found batteries I was often jumping for joy as it was truly the one and only happy moment of the game.
The music really tied the game together. Many moments in the game really put me on edge because of the music. The haunting choir which created a ghoulish drone, the brass section which perfectly matched the sheer size and character of Chris Walker who I like to call “the big piggy man” and the tense strings really brought everything together and half the time the music was what cued my fear and panic.
The characters are an incredible blend of innocent and evil. This game makes you cautious with anyone you came across. Sometimes you meet characters such as inmates of the asylum who seem innocent and are just that and other times you meet ones which can turn on you and try to kill you for no real reason except their minds are warped. The main enemies which include Chris Walker, Richard Trager (the insane Doctor) and the Walrider. The Walrider was actually the easiest antagonist for me to “beat”/run from. It took me very little time to complete the objectives required when it came to getting past him.
I had a lot of issues with Mr Walker, the big piggy man as he is a constant enemy which I encounter throughout the entire gameplay. It often went from being very scary to very frustrating when I was in an area which he was prowling in. My fear would usually drop after being killed by him once or twice within an area and it would be replaced with annoyance and I would drop my stealthy tactics and just bolt for it. The doctor was a tricky and terrifying antagonist. That helplessness I felt when you are trapped with him when you first encounter him and the need to get as far away from him as possible really got my heart pumping. I hated how “friendly” he was with me and how he called me “buddy” when he caught me. For some reason it makes it that much more freakier than just having some angry dude run after you and call you a little pig.
The graphics both on both handheld and TV mode for the Switch were incredibly done. I felt fully immersed in the game when playing and the controls were very easy and simple to use once I got into the swing of things. I like the fact that the game helps guide you where to go. It doesn’t do it in a plainly obvious way but it gives just the right push so I couldn’t get lost or go off track.
I felt the gameplay and atmosphere is really what makes the game stand out. The story is interesting but it isn’t the reason I played it. The fact that you cannot fight back and can only run, hide or die really adds an extra layer of terror when playing because you are so powerless. The horror experience is what really sells the game and I think it’s an absolute gem for any horror and gaming fan.
Overall rating: 9/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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