After arriving at the asylum, Miles and his trusty camcorder (complete with night vision) head inside to see if there is any validity to theAfter arriving at the asylum, Miles and his trusty camcorder (complete with night vision) head inside to see if there is any validity to the email he received. The asylum appears to be vacant with no signs of life from the outside. Upon entering in a window, you’ll proceed through the narrow, claustrophobic spaces and start to meet the doomed or deceased residents of the asylum, solving some mild puzzles and eventually running for your life. The corpses and people that were residents of the asylum are all over, often at angles that make you question whether they’re dead or alive. You will spend a good chunk of your time in this title hiding under beds, in closets, or simply running, just hoping to break the line of sight while one of the maniacs pursue you.
The game does not offer much variety in terms of the enemies you’ll face, as there are only a handful of foes that will pursue you and often be limited to certain areas of the game. Almost all of them act in the same manner, walking room to room searching for you or coming out of nowhere, sometimes busting through walls only to ruin your day. These adversaries are downright terrifying and only get worse as you progress through the story, each having their own motivation for hunting you down. While most of these would pose little to no threat if you were armed, you are never in a position where you can defend yourself, and the only thing you can use is your camcorder.
The camcorder doubles as a means of finding the game’s collectibles, which either involves scanning notes or files you come across, or recording specific events that unfold. In times of darkness, it also serves as your guiding light with the night vision. This will be needed, since long stretches of the game will unfold in almost pitch black areas. Using the night vision feature will deplete the battery and require you to either keep a look out for replacements or use the feature sparingly – more often than not, you’ll be doing both. The reliance on this mechanic makes for a very tense game, which is palpable early on before things even get crazy.
I want to be very clear; this game is terrifying in every way. From the second you enter the hospital through its conclusion, you will never feel “safe.” In the event that you do, you’re probably about to get ripped in half, or worse. Up until its sequel, which I have yet to finish, this is by far the scariest media I have ever witnessed; video game, movie, or otherwise. I do not startle easily and jump scares rarely set me off, but this struck a chord with me. From the long, stoic silences between encounters and the adrenaline pumping chase scenes, Red Barrels has crafted an anxiety inducing yet addictive game that will likely be talked about for generations.
Much of this horror can be attributed to the overall design of the game. It set the bar for visuals upon its initial PC release – while it may not be as awe-inspiring today as it was at launch, it is still appealing on the Switch. That is saying something for a game that spends over a third of its lifespan with everything in a green hue due to the night vision camera. This coupled with the super realistic sound effects which echo and chatter in a way that you’re always guessing if something is coming up behind you or lying in wait, just outside of your viewing area. The game still controls well and is easily accessible, with only a handful of buttons needed to play.
This helps add some replay value to the game, as it can be extremely fun to task your friends or family members to try and see how long they can go before tapping out, or ruining your carpet (fun fact: the developer offered adult diapers as a Kickstarter perk for Outlast 2). My wife lasted around 10 minutes before she uninstalled the game from her console. Outside of the emotional terrorism you can inflict on others, there isn’t much else as far as replayability. If you’re so inclined, there are a few difficulty options in addition locating/filming all of the collectibles, but nothing outside of the norm.
In addition to the main story, the Bundle of Terror includes the Whistleblower DLC, which works as a prequel to the main story. Having finished both campaigns, I would recommend completing the DLC after the main game due to the endings intertwining. The story revolves around Waylon Park, the person that reached out to Miles in the main game.
Outlast is hands down one of the most terrifying experiences one can enjoy, but it may be too much for some. I consider completing this game a badge of honor; while not everyone may finish the title, the $24.99 (or less depending on platform) cost of admission is well worth the attempt.… Expand