Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Red Barrels
Red Barrels
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
February 4, 2014

In an increasingly jaded and desensitized society, it takes a lot to scare people. However, the original tactics for generating fear remain the most effective, as the great masters of horror would tell you. You can only see so much gore and disgusting, shocking imagery before you’re not grossed-out, and you’re not shocked. You’re bored. Creating fear in another has always been about preying on the imagination, because what we can dream up is a million times worse than the goriest, nastiest thing you can splash across the screen. Developer Red Barrels understood all this when they set out to make Outlast .

A pure survival/horror game, the terrifying experience relies heavily upon your freakish atmosphere. You are exploring Mount Massive Asylum and there’s dark, twisted intrigue at every turn. Blood smears walls, damaged individuals sit staring at blank television screens, and all manner of creepy, unsettling visuals assault the senses. Whether you’re seeing it via the night vision of your camera, or you’re creeping along in the shadows, you’re always on edge. This is due in large part to your forbidding environment, which is meticulously designed for one purpose:

To scare the sh** out of you.

That all being said, when you get up close and personal, these graphics don’t necessarily impress. It’s not about the visual fidelity, though; it’s about the overall presentation, which is vastly more important in a game like Outlast . The audio complements the horrifying backdrop with plenty of subtle, ambient effects. A cry or scream in the distance, a piece of furniture being overturned, the sound of running footsteps; it’s all there to quicken the pulse. Your character starts to breathe heavy when things are getting especially dicey, which is another great addition. The score is a little too subtle and doesn’t play a big enough role, but that’s a minor complaint.

As I said, Outlast is a survival/horror game, through and through. You have no supernatural abilities; you don’t even have any weapons. And when I say no weapons, I mean absolutely nothing . Nope, not even a blunt instrument you might be able to use in self-defense. As an investigative reporter intent on solving the mystery behind Mount Massive Asylum, you’re going in armed with only a camera and your very human senses. You can use the night vision on the camera but that’s the only benefit you’re going to have. Your goal: Capture on camera the utter insanity that’s occurring within the asylum’s walls.

Well, that’s actually a secondary goal. The first goal is to survive, because within minutes of stepping foot inside this evil-infused structure, you’re aching to escape. There are lingering victims of some diabolical experiment, and some of those victims have mutated into nightmarish denizens of the night. All you can hope to do is run and hide. You grasp the desperate nature of your situation within the first hour; a hulking brute is hunting you and at first, your only option is to hide in a locker. That’s when you realize that facing anything would be suicide.