Outlast is the first title put forth by Red Barrels, who are a Canadian developer which was founded by industry veterans. In my opinion it is an absolute beast of a debut. Outlast was originally released for PC last September, the survival horror game has made its way to the PlayStation 4, where it is absolutely free for PlayStation Plus Subscribers at this time.
Just a hint before starting, I will tell you that this game is just a port over from the PC version, there is not much difference between the PC and PS4 versions of the game, other than the addition of the use of the DualShock 4 Controller, which works perfectly with the game. In my opinion it fits so good that using the controller is the best way to play the game.
In this game you will be a reported by the name of Miles Upshur, who received a tip to visit the Mount Massive Asylum which is located in some shadowy mountains. The Asylum is owned by the Murkoff Corporation, an evil group who partake in shady activities. The whistleblower claims that the company is up to no good and that the truth must be exposed.
Upshur brings his handheld camera and batteries with him while traveling to the menacing mansion, at night of course, and when he heads into the heart of the facility it is clear right away that something very bad has taken place. There are bloods trails throughout the facility and the ones who are left alive are hostile or too far gone to realize what is happening. You will have to find out what is going on for yourself while exploring the facility.
Unsurprisingly the game is filled with intense violence and gore, so if you don’t enjoy these two features, you shouldn’t even bother playing the game. If you are up for getting scared and jumping out of your skin a few times throughout, you should really download the game.
You will need to explore the facility in your quest to uncover the truth about the Asylum, which almost always leads to areas that are full of blood and vomit. Some areas also have poor lighting conditions.
Instead of walking around with guns and armor, the camcorder you are carrying is your main equipment. When it is raised it makes you feel like you are living in a film series, showing the devices user interface and listing things like aperture on the screen. The camera also has a night vision setting which will help you to see in the dark areas mentioned above. Turning on this feature does eat the camera’s battery faster so you will need to limit your time using it.
While capturing the whole thing on a memory stick, you will have to solve simple puzzles and avoid treats. While you have no combat options you will have to hide from enemies, which adds a lot more tension to the game. The flow of the game, which is basically moving from one area to another, may seem boring on paper but the different looks and overwhelming atmosphere of the game keeps things very interesting.
One thing that never gets old is the audio is the game, it is a real masterpiece. You will hear objects moving in a distance, floor boards cracking with people walking on them, and other ambient noises that really bring you into the game.
The biggest challenge for most survival horror games is them actually being scary, and this game is. It relies on jump scares maybe a little too much but the game excels on subtle scenes, and it even has some straight up gross moments with a twisted doctor.
The game does have some graphical problems at times, with the frame rate dropping form the boasted 60 fps to 20 fps sometimes. Sometimes the load time is extremely long when moving from area to area, it takes up to a minute for an area to completely load at times, which hurts the atmosphere of the game at times.
It’s a good thing for the people who need a little breather because their nerves are shot, you will need about six hours total to complete this game. That includes the collectibles you will find, which are the documents or notes that he writes about the things he captures on camera.
Outlast is probably one of the best survival horror games in my memory. You will need strong nerves and a good stomach to complete the campaign, it is an exhilarating experience from start to finish. Red Barrels’ debut will certainly make you afraid of the dark.