April 25th, 2017
I still remember the crash. We were in the air, researching the death of a woman who was said to have killed herself, then out of nowhere a bright flash came and the helicopter lost control, crashing into the ground. Lynn, my wife was taken, by some cultists. They follow a guy named Papa Knoth, who seems to think Lynn is pregnant with the antichrist and wants to kill her as a sacrifice to God. I ran into some heretics who are fighting the cultists, but they all just seem to want to kill me and my wife. I have to get her back, and get the hell out of here. I just hope we can make it out alive.
You are Blake Langermann, cameraman for your wife, Lynn, who is an investigative journalist. While exploring the forests of Arizona for a story about a woman who was possibly murdered, your helicopter crashes and you are left alone to find your wife.
As the story progresses, without giving away too many spoilers, you find out that she was taken by cultists led by Papa Knoth, a sadistic religious leader who has been leading a group of followers while sacrificing animals, men, women, children, and even infants. Knoth is spouting lies to his flock, stating that Lynn is carrying the anti-christ in her womb and God wants you dead. In the same style as Outlast and the Whistleblower DLC, you are unable to attack, your only options are to run, hide, or die.
Outlast 2 carries on the tradition of the previous Outlast title and it’s DLC, but has evolved the style of “horror” a bit. Instead of following a fairly linear path of an insane asylum, you are instead in more of an open environment, with multiple places to explore. This isn’t an open-world game, but you definitely don’t feel like you are stuck on a straight path as much as you do in other linear titles. By evolving the “horror,” what I mean is the developers literally struck out to break you down psychologically, listing the game as a “psychological horror.” After playing about four hours’ worth of the game, I can definitely understand what they meant.
Your character, Blake, suffers from flashbacks of a whole separate (or possibly tied in?) storyline from his youth, and constantly is encountering crazy cultists and the remains of bodies that were sacrificed or otherwise mutilated. This game does have the typical jump scares, but it’s scary on a whole other level, that’s hard to put into words. For example, you have to rely on finding batteries to keep the night vision on your camera working, as that’s the only method to be able to see in the dark when there’s no other light sources. You can’t fight back, you have to run or hide, otherwise you’ll die. Batteries are NOT very easy to find, and the panic of knowing my battery was running low on my camera was enough motivation to push me onward when I was scared to continue on.
Overall, I don’t want to spoil too much else, but the game really is good in my opinion, and I can’t wait to continue streaming it.
Visually, this game is beautiful. Well, beautiful might not be best word choice actually, as this game is full of gore, violence, grotesque mutilated bodies, carcasses, and overall creepy environments that really are sickening. However, all of these elements are done very well together and act as a way to draw you in and immerse you into the environment and theme of the game. You really feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere, stumbling through a cultist’s territory, with death and decay all around you. The developers really put extra thought into the little things here, like adding maggots and flies to dead bodies, and your character even has an animation to swat at the flies if you get close to a body.
Moving into audio, we all know that the horror genre would be nothing without sound, and the same artist that did all of the effects for the first Outlast game worked on Outlast 2, but said he wanted to outdo himself, bringing again that “psychological horror” aspect. The music heightens your sense as you are about to see a jump-scare, or just intensifies during reveal moments where you see a crucified body for example. The little things were really done right here as well, just like with the visuals, with a cool feature on the camera to listen to the audio from the mic so you can tell where people are located around you through walls and in the darkness. The creeks of wooden planks, the sound of stepping on shattered glass, walking over hay, and so much more all sound perfect, and again, play into the immersion.
Replay-ability is probably the only area I cannot speak to with certainty right now. If you are a fan of horror games, you may find yourself wanting to go back for more, but for me personally, I rarely play horror games as I literally get too scared to play them. If it wasn’t for being able to live stream this game, I honestly don’t think I would be completing it or playing it outside of the footage I got for this review. That said, I think my general rule of thumb for games like this applies, in that this is a story driven game and the story is great, but not all gamers will want to go back and play through the same story over and over again.
Overall, wrapping everything up, I really have enjoyed Outlast 2. I never really played the first Outlast, or the acclaimed Whistleblower DLC, but I did watch let’s plays of them here on YouTube and really, this game seems to be living up to the hype for those who enjoy the horror category. The gameplay is fun, challenging at times, and does leave me checking over my shoulder more often due to the suspense. The visuals and audio play perfectly together to immerse you into the game’s world and theme, and again, the developers really made sure to hit the little things to add that extra touch.
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