Title: Outlast 2
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Red Barrels Studio
Developer: Red Barrels Studio
Genre: Psychological Horror, Indie, Adventure
Official Site: Outlast 2
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Where To Buy It: Steam, Playstation Store, Microsoft Store ($29.99)
Outlast 2 is a horrific, terrifying experience that will keep you up late into the night; whether from nightmares or the inability to put the game down is up to you! However, I feel like I must warn you: this game is brutal. It does not shield you from any of the violence, gore, or religious ideas that this world has to offer. And the game absolutely loves to punish you. However, much like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the small town cult feel provides a fresh perspective in this otherwise anxiety-inducing experience that horror fans will not want to miss.
In this continuation of the Outlast series, our story focuses on Blake Langermann and his wife, Lynn. You are both journalists investigating the murder of a young, pregnant woman found wandering through the desert. After a helicopter crash leaves you stranded and alone, the game wastes no time alerting you to what kind of world you have fallen into. In an attempt to find your wife, you must traverse the small town of a cult preparing for the final days and the mines of a local group of heretics. From there, the story spirals into madness that will leave you gaping at the screen as the credits roll.
Let me get this out of the way, this. game. will. scare. you. I don’t think any horror game has affected me quite as much as Outlast 2 has. Horror is one of my all time favorite things and I spend a lot of time writing and partaking in the genre. However, not even I was prepared for the heart-pounding journey that is Red Barrels newest project. The game will disgust you and terrify you, but you will love every minute of it. There are moments in the game strictly put in to shock you, like being crucified and having to pull yourself from a cross. But the chase scenes are terrifying and will have you squealing in terror and delight as you run from crazed religious folks. However, the game loves to punish you. With such wide, open areas in the map, it’s easy to get lost. And if you are anything like me, you will have to do a bit of trial and error before finding the correct path to take. This gets extremely frustrating when you have to sit through the longest death animations ever.
My major complaint about the game is the story line. It starts off incredibly strong, but as it progresses, it begins to make less and less sense. By the end of the game, I was really confused by what had happened, so I tried to look up an explanation of the game’s story and its ending. Through my research, I discovered that there is a collectible that not only connects the Outlast games together but also explains a huge part of the plot of Outlast 2. The choice to make such an important plot point missable is lost on me, much like the game’s story. Despite this major problem, there are other plots points that just don’t quite hit the mark. Some pretty interesting characters are created but they very rarely get enough air time to really develop. One of the greatest things about the Outlast series are their characters, like Gluskin or Walrider, but the interesting character in Outlast 2, like Marta or Papa Knoth, just don’t get enough time devoted to them.
This is definitely one of the best horror games I have ever played when it comes to the use of music and sound design. The music is so perfectly matched to the content and environment of the game that it really creates an immersive experience. The chanting choirs and screeching violins really add to the thrill of the chase or cause you to creep around corners in fear of an enemy approaching. One of the scariest things in the game is Marta, an incredibly tall, crazed woman wielding the most horrendous pickaxe ever. Marta has her very own theme song that sounds like the gates of hell itself opening. As if she wasn’t petrifying enough, hearing this music before you actually see Marta will send you running for the nearest locker or barrel of blood (And yes, you do have to hide in barrels of blood).
All in all, Outlast 2 is a great addition to the franchise that really pushes the boundaries set by the original Outlast. The new environment and fresh ideas really are a breath of fresh air compared to some of the overdone horror tropes as of late. The sound, music, and environment come together to create a nightmare fueled experience despite the weaker story points that any horror enthusiasts will enjoy. Whistleblower, the DLC for the first game, is still my absolute favorite. Which only leads me to hope that we can expect an even better DLC for Outlast 2!
- Gameplay: Outlast encourages a run and hide mentality versus a combat oriented one. This aspect alone makes the games pretty terrifying. The controls are pretty smooth, but it is easy to get lost on such a large map or stuck on pieces of the environment.
- Graphics: If you can look past all the blood and gore, the game is beautiful. Whether it is raining blood or a foggy lake, the game consistently delivers graphically. Obviously, the clear, bright graphics only make the horrors and gore of the game even more evident and intense.
- Sound: I play a lot of horror games, and I think this is one of the best examples of how to use sound and music in a horror game. The music definitely does its job of making the hair on the back of your neck stand on end even if there are no enemies around. Impressive voice acting and sound design also play a major part in what makes the game work.
- Presentation: Outlast 2 could be an incredibly strong title, but there is a major problem with the story. Despite not really understanding what was happening with the story line of the game, it is a terrifying experience that any horror fan will devour. Fair warning though, this game is not for the faint of heart. If the first Outlast was too much for you, I’d suggest watching a playthrough before picking it up because the game is pretty intense.
- Terrifying experience
- Beautiful graphics
- Interesting collectibles and mythology
- Superb music and sound design
- The game loves to punish you (a little too much)
- Weak story line
- Lack of connection