When it comes to games with any sort of horror in it I can’t help myself and get as sucked into the atmosphere as much as possible, I then jump and shudder at the slightest thing, so, how would Outlast fare on my ‘games that scare the crap out of me list’? Pretty High!
Outlast, developed by Red Barrells snuck it’s way onto Xbox Live a couple of weeks ago and it’s set as theme as you’ll be sneaking round lots in this game. Outlast begins with your character driving his car up a winding driveway, it’s dark, it’s pouring with rain and eventually you come to a stop outside a security gate. There is no one around so you’ll need to make your way in on foot. You pull out a video camera and check the batteries for heading past the security gate to find a way in.
It’s clear something isn’t right, but that’s why you are here to investigate, you play as Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist, receives an anonymous tip from a source identified only as a whistleblower. This whistleblower tells you that there have been all sorts of horrible experiments taking place at Mount Massive Asylum. As you finally find your way in you can see the devastation that has taken place, you come across and impaled SWAT officer who tells you to get out while you can. There is plenty more to story so I won’t spoil anymore of that for you now!
One of the first things you will notice about the game is the fact that there are no weapons, you won’t be fighting any enemies on this gamer, instead you’ll be running away or hiding behind doors, in lockers or under beds. It’s quite a refreshing change and certainly gets you thinking about how you are going to escape the difficult situations you’ll come across.
Out last works like a typical horror game, it’s dark, there are lots of flickering lights and the only way to get through the dark sections is to use the night vision mode of your camera, which of course isn’t able to see too much in front of you. You’ll have to keep an eye on the camera’s battery too as they’ll eventually run low and need replacing, you’ll be forced to explore as much as possible to find spares.
The game is all set up with plenty of moments to make you jump, but my favourite thing about the game is the audio. This is one of those games you simply must play at night, with your headset as high as possible, the main noise you will hear in the game is Miles’ breathing, it responds brilliantly to the situation he faces, it gets heavy when he begins to run and when you are hiding in a dark corner you can hear him begin to mumble to himself, it works wonders for the atmosphere and puts you on edge as much as he is.
There are sections of the game where you must turn on a certain number of valves to activate a gas pump or turn on an electricity supply, and as you would expect there is someone trying to put a stop to you, it’s a bit predictable and it’s just a case of working out their patterns to get round them, it’s fairly simple, but one false move and you’ll need to run and hope you can find somewhere to hide. The seconds as you wait inside a locker or behind a toilet door are quite tense as first as you hear your pursuer getting close and maybe opening the door next to you before making your next move. There are also some brilliant chase sections that really have you on the end of your seat, especially when it’s in an area of the game you are unfamiliar with.
I’m mentioned before about being the need to search around to find spare batteries, there are also notes and documents spread around the asylum, they’ll give you a great insight as to what has gone on at Mount Massive, you’ll meet the occasional inmate that will also reveal parts of the story too, so it’s worth taking your time to find out as much as you can.
There is also some DLC called Outlast: Whistleblower, which is a prequel to the game and sees you playing as Waylon Park, a software engineer who leaks information to Miles but is caught, it’s well worth checking out if you enjoy the main game. Visually the game is nothing spectacular but frankly it doesn’t matter as the audio does a much more important job in the game and the story was interesting throughout.
I had an absolute blast playing through Outlast and I’m glad it lived up to the hype it had created on my Twitter feed, this is well worth £12 of your hard earned cash.
Big Thanks to Xbox for the review code.
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