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Outlast 2 – PS4

Outlast 2 – PS4

Platform: Sony PlayStation 4

Developer: Red Barrels

Publisher: Red Barrels

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Genre: Survivial Horror/Stealth

Nerd Rating: 6.5/10

Reviewed by: InfiniteKnife

 

There seem to be only so many ways a game can try to scare you these days, but developer Red Barrels gave us something newer when they released Outlast in 2014. It’s not often that a horror game leaves the player with little to no means of self defense, but these guys are all about it, and it definitely adds to the intensity and a new element to the Survival Horror genre.

Outlast 2 is not considered a direct sequel as the characters are completely different, but parts of the story definitely tie into the original. Here, we follow journalists Blake Langermann and his wife, Lynn as they investigate the murder of a pregnant woman in rural Arizona. The game begins in a helicopter and as you may have guessed, it promptly crashes, separating Blake and Lynn. As Blake, you head toward the local town to find Lynn, and again, as expected, things don’t go well. The locals are part of a strange cult who believes the world is ending soon.

It’s soon discovered that all the local children have been sacrificed and that the cult leader impregnates the women and then kills them, stating they carry what could be the Anti-Christ. They claim that Lynn is pregnant, much to her and Blake’s surprise, and before much else can be explained, she is taken by a rival cult (as if one cult wasn’t enough) who think it’s their mission to bring upon the end of days more quickly by delivering said Anti-Christ. It’s a wacky story, but Blake has to find his wife, so he sets off into the nearby towns, farms, and mine to find her. Throughout the game, Blake has several playable flashbacks that focus on the death of a childhood friend at their school. It offers a break from the Arizona farm and adds a different plot element, but otherwise plays the same as the rest of the game.

Dark figures at the end of hallways: Creepy 100% of the time

Outlast 2 has similar gameplay to the original Outlast in that it’s a First Person Shooter minus the shooting. Blake carries a camcorder with night vision capabilities that allow him to navigate the many near and completely pitch dark areas throughout the game. Using night vision drains the camera’s battery, but new ones are scattered all around. It can get a bit intense because instinct tells you to use night vision whenever possible to make sure you can see the crazed villagers hunting you down, but if you know you’re on your last battery, and considering there is zero combat, sometimes moving through an area with severely limited light is the best option.

The camcorder also comes with a zoom capability as well as an enhanced microphone that can pick up enemy footsteps and other subtle noises. I didn’t find myself using these other features much other than times where it was all but required by the game to get through certain areas, but adding in the new features to show that you’re using a different type of camera than in the original Outlast was pretty neat in itself.

Guess we can’t go that way

While there are no weapons in Outlast 2, there is still an inventory system. Blake finds spare batteries for the camera and bandages to heal from enemy attacks. The menu is simply Blake looking down at the camcorder which shows 2 jacket pockets each showing the actual spare items you have. I liked this system, because looking down and only seeing 1 battery in my pocket added more dread than just looking at a number in a HUD. It made the threat feel more real.

It’s way more intense looking down and having only a few batteries

There are also parts of the game that ask you to focus on a certain object for a few seconds to get a recording that can be re-watched in the camera menu. These bits include a narrated summary of what Blake was looking at after the fact. I did as many of them as I could when they came up, but didn’t go out of my way to make sure I collected them all. I learned enough about what was going on from the dialogue and notes scattered around.

As mentioned, Outlast 2 has zero combat, so the only way through is to sneak or run like hell past enemies, and with most of the game taking place in a village and mine, the latter is often the way to go. I really like the variety of ways Blake can hide using different parts of the environment. Many doors have bolt locks on the inside that can buy a few precious seconds of time to find a better hiding spot or another exit. There are also barrels to hide in, some empty, but some full of water, requiring Blake to hold his breath. He can only do this for a few seconds, so it can be intense when the time comes to come up for air, not knowing if your pursuer will be standing right there. Blake can also crawl in a prone position which allows him to crawl into smaller spaces to get in and out of some buildings, hide under beds and desks, and hide in lower grass. I’ll add that it’s particularly terrifying when you’re discovered in one of these hiding places and literally have nowhere to go, meaning you’re going to take damage at the very least.

Hiding in the corn field was among the creepier parts of the game

Although the enemies can’t be killed, they are still really well designed and perform some really creepy actions that do a good job of making the overall feeling of dread set in. The environments in Outlast 2 are great to look at and there was a fair amount of variety in the layouts of different areas, but one thing that sticks out in my head are the times where you find yourself in a high intensity chase that basically has you run around in a giant loop to get back to right next to where you started. It felt like the developers just needed to add in a few minutes of gameplay here and there and I don’t feel like they really added anything to the overall experience.

I played Outlast 2 on Normal difficulty and although I did die quite a few times, I was able to complete the game with relative ease. As is usually the case with these single player campaign games, I was content enough after a single playthrough. There are a few harder difficulty settings, but the achievement trophies awarded for beating them weren’t worth spending another 10-15 hours to get.

If you liked the first Outlast and/or just enjoy a creepy survival horror experience, I’d say Outlast 2 is worth checking out. I’ll warn you, however, you’ll probably find yourself doing what I did and looking up explanations for the plot and ending because it’s a lot to wrap your head around. This one is best played alone and in a dark room. It added to the creep factor for me and enhanced the overall experience.

Enjoy!

Written by InfiniteKnife

InfiniteKnife

My personal favorite games are those in the Survival Horror and Sports (baseball) genres, but I can find at least a game or 2 in just about any category that I love to play.

I grew up on Nintendo consoles (NES and SNES) and have been an Xbox guy since the first one was released in the early 2000s. It’s hard to stay away from the classics as the 16-bit era is probably still my favorite overall.

 
 

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