The story follows a new protagonist, Blake Langermann, as he and his wife Lynn fly to the remote Arizona desert to investigate the strange,The story follows a new protagonist, Blake Langermann, as he and his wife Lynn fly to the remote Arizona desert to investigate the strange, unsolved murder of a young pregnant woman only known as Jane Doe. After the helicopter crashes and you are separated, you’ll venture straight into the mouth of Hell to find your wife and get out of the nightmare that is unfolding in front of you. You’ll soon meet a group of conflicting factions that believe the end of days is near, and each have their own motives for your missing wife, who bounces back and forth between the sects throughout the game.
Each group has their own characteristics, one following an overweight Jim Jones type figure and the others… are a bit different. The second group follows a strange woman (that looks and sounds like a man in drag) and are covered in branches and moss, making them look like one of those little twig dolls from The Blair Witch Project if it came to life. The new adversaries are light years ahead of the antagonists from the first offering, cranking the level of detail and terror to the max.
The story will unfold by transporting you from the remote desert to a school, as if the school was built into the depths of the desert. I found this area to be much more thrilling and tense with its locked doors and linear pathways. Even when being chased, which actually gets old in this title, these are the portions of the game where Outlast 2 really shines. The images featured therein will likely haunt you for days after completing the title.
Most of the mechanics have not changed much; you’ll still be defenseless against enemies and only have your camera to provide light, which is needed here more than ever due to the setting shifting to more of an outdoor locale. While the pathways are much more open, the game is still very linear, with more secrets tucked away in harder to find paths and hidden rooms. Red Barrels has taken full advantage of the more open atmosphere by pumping up the number of enemies you encounter. Luckily, your camera is now equipped with a microphone that allows you to track enemies off in the distance. Additionally, Blake can hide in high grass and you can also hide underwater for short periods of time.
The biggest change, and reason for the opening quote, is that over half of the game will revolve around evading or outrunning the enemies, which cuts back on the atmospheric terror that the original evoked so well. Sure, this is terrifying and creates a huge sense of anxiousness when you must survive long segments of chases, but for me, the highpoint of the original was the unknown of what was around the corner. In this outing, the blaring music that begins when a chase starts often came before I even saw what was coming, replacing moments where I should have been jumping and clenching my bowels with the instinct to simply start running. Again, it’s still fun and gets the adrenaline pumping when these events pop up, but it feels more akin to Mirror’s Edge than a horror game.
Much like the rest of the visuals, when the psychological elements hit, they look glorious – my favorite being one of the multiple occasions when it rains blood. This simply looks awe inspiring, especially when viewing the storm of sorts from an interior space. Seeing the contrast between the interior area being a normal shade of dirty while everything outside is coated in red is an oddly calming visual. While the first offering was visually impressive, this is on par with most AAA first person games on the market. The water (or blood) effects are stunning and the detail on both the environments as well as the characters is almost photo-realistic. Blake’s blood and dirt covered hands also show such an amazing level of detail, you’d swear they were your own. Presentation wise, Outlast 2 does not disappoint.
The only staggering issue I found with the game is some of the sequences are a bit long in length, which affects the momentum of the game. In particular, there’s a segment late into the game where you are using a small raft to navigate some rough terrain, which takes much longer than necessary. Indeed, the excitement of going downriver avoiding rocks is great and builds a lot of suspense, but the slower paced paddling that goes on for what seems like hours is not. There’s a few good jump scares throughout, but not nearly enough for as long as this trip lasts. It brought to mind the extended boat scene from Silent Hill 2, which had a narrative purpose. This situation feels as if it was just to prolong the game’s play time.
Outlast 2 is a game that will probably make most horror fans jump for joy. It’s not quite the definition of abuse or torture that the first game was, but it is certainly a worthwhile addition to your collection.… Expand