Outlast 2 - Steam/PC Review

A dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Game Info

  • System: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Red Barrels Games
  • Developer: Red Barrels Games
  • Release Date: April 25, 2017

Outlast 2 Launch Trailer

Who it Caters to

Fans of the original will certainly have something to be thrilled about, because Outlast 2 takes what made Outlast great and takes it to another level of fear. While many of the same aspects are still intact, that being running for your life and not dying, Outlast 2 takes you into new territory far from the old asylum and throws you into this grimy and grotesque village.

Much of the game reminds us of Resident Evil 4 simply because both games have a protagonist who ventures into an unknown village to save someone from danger. Furthermore, both villages are totally possessed and manic, with you not really understanding their biblical tongue right away. We'll dive more into this in the gameplay section but if you enjoyed the RE4 vibe, and pair that with the Outlast insanity then this one will be an absolute freak fest.

What to Expect

For the most part what you'll discover in Outlast 2 is that, it's not situated in a run down confined asylum. Outlast 2 throws you into the wild, and you have to fend for yourself at every corner you turn. The world is more open and immersive, which adds more to the fear because just about anyone or anything could jump out from the shadows at any moment. You're always in a constant state of tension because there's never a moment of calm. When things go absolutely silent, psychologically things start to fall out of place because now you're totally unaware of what could happen and despite having a camera with you, it simply can't stop a villager from jumping from out the bush to impale you with his machete.

For this reason, Outlast 2 doesn't fool around when trying to force you into a corner and watch you squirm as you desperately try to gather as many batteries and bandages as possible to live another day. Flashbacks are truly another freakish element to Outlast 2, and running around in an empty school with only your footsteps and breathing as the only ambience is terrifying. Walking through the school halls, we honestly had to blink a few times to make sure we weren’t watching a cutscene, because this game looks so photo realistic at times it blew our minds.

Story

You and your spouse Lynn have been assigned to conduct a report on a pregnant woman who had been brutally murdered in a village around the Arizona desert, and the two of you need to gather information as to why it happened. As you two are recording in the helicopter on the way to the location, the engine gives out and the two of you descend in what seems like the inevitable end. The helicopter crashes and you wake up hours later next to the burning rubble, but Lynn is nowhere to be found. It's now your task to search for Lynn, while also gathering more information about this mysterious village that lies ahead.

Gameplay

So as we mentioned earlier, Outlast 2 seems to pay homage to Resident Evil 4, at least from our perspective. You wander into a village that's possessed by some devilish being, and is heavily supported by religion and satanic rituals. God is always brought up throughout the game as being the savior of all things, and that all sacrifices are safe in his will. While this may come off as controversial for the religious heads, it does paint an interesting picture of just how corrupt and frightening things can get when things go overboard.

Women get raped, children get mutilated, men get emasculated, these are just some of the grotesque images you'll encounter in Outlast 2. It's deliberately placed there to evoke strong emotions from the player, to make you realize the harsh reality we live in, which is what creates more fear in the end. We say this because the village you travel to feels all too real, and we imagine if this game had VR mode a vast majority of people wouldn't last 10 minutes. You're either so disgusted by all the sick and twisted things around you, or your heart beats frantically as you try to avoid being bombarded by a horde of possessed villagers out to kill. Once you get to know more about Sullivan Knoth and his totally twisted plans, you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Unlike in RE4 where you have weapons to dispose of those who stand in your way, the only tool you have is your camera to record and listen to your surroundings. You'll often times hide in crop fields and overhear random religious chants and murmurs, your heart racing as you pray someone doesn't wander into the crops to find you eavesdropping. You come to learn as you play through the game, that there's more to the village and its people. There are another race of beings known as Heretics and you'll find out more once you dive deeper. Speaking of the camera, you'll need to be on high alert especially when it comes to battery usage.

Outlast 2 is an extremely dark game both literally and figuratively, and so you'll often times be walking over thin ledges or descending down into a dark abyss not knowing what could be there. Your battery consumption starts to become a game in itself because you'll need to sometimes save power for important moments, such as recording specific events or more importantly running the hell away and knowing exactly where to run.

We often times ran out of batteries at the most pivotal moments and that's when the fear factor skyrocketed well beyond what we could fathom. When it's absolutely dark, it is DARK. You can barely see anything in front of you and the night light is so dim it provides no merit. We highly recommend to search for as many batteries as possible otherwise you'll end up in a terrible situation. You can hold up to about 6-8 batteries and around 4 bandages, which is certainly enough for the long trek. However the battery life is short especially when you keep the camera running, so it becomes a strategy to turn off your camera in locations that provide enough lighting to move around.

You'll often come across various sheets of paper which entail stories of the writer before their untimely gruesome deaths. Some speak of being raped, while others have been tortured. It's just a wild emotional rollercoaster and there's no turning back once you're locked into your seat. We tried so hard to read every sheet of paper but honestly wasn't easy, especially when you know someone could be lurking behind you. You're always uneasy and paranoid, your eyes shifting constantly in every direction like a chicken knowing it's about to meet its end. You flashback about Lynn and Jessica and these flashbacks often provide clues as to how everything unfolded.

However just when you think you've got the answer, the game violently drags your already damaged conscience back into the freakish village, where you now have to avoid being impaled by a woman walking around with a cross-shaped axe, who seeks nothing more than to hear your blood curdling scream as she drills her axe straight through your gut.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Outlast 2 is an incredibly fun game that does come with drawbacks. On the one hand, the lack of batteries lying around provides a nice challenge to the player, but that very same challenge can get you killed quite frequently. Of course that's what adds the element of fear into the game, but there were times when our battery supply was so low that we had to traverse through an area in complete darkness, blind and unaware as to what could harm us. It made traveling around a little irritating because the camera is like our only way of survival, and without enough batteries around you often end up on the other side of a machete or an axe.

Fortunately, you can manually save at points within the game so you could continue from a desired checkpoint. However that isn't the case all the time, and so getting over obstacles could prove difficult when you can't really see what's in front of you. We absolutely loved the story and overall setting of Outlast 2, if it wasn't already clear in our earlier paragraphs where we compared it to RE4 but without weapons. Being thrown into a vast open world where your chances of survival are so low is quite the rush, because you're always trying to come up with ways to gather information about the antagonist and his plot, without dying in vain. It's cat and mouse at it's best, with some tactical elements to keep you on your toes.

The voice acting was stellar and having a town full of obsessed religious bloodthirsty townspeople was superbly done. While Outlast 2 certainly does provide a plethora of scares and surprises, the more you dive into it and get accustomed to everything you become more horrified of the blood and guts than you do with random enemy pop ups. That isn’t to say that the scares are lackluster because they’re far from that, but when you constantly die in the same spot over and over again you kind of know what to expect. Be that as it may, Outlast 2 is one horror game definitely picking up, especially if you’re a fan of the series but also if you truly love a nice scare or two.

Honey's Pros:

  • Outstanding visuals paired with wonderful scripting.
  • Solid narrative with a ton of scares.
  • Pretty decent campaign running at around 6-10 hours.

Honey's Cons:

  • Not being able to find enough batteries to survive was irritating at times.
  • After a while you start getting used to the environment and it becomes less scary.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Outlast 2 was a wild ride from start to finish, and it certainly begs the question if Red Barrels Games would ever consider going total VR with this. We can honestly say that this title may contest well with Resident Evil 7 as one of the scariest titles we’ve ever played, but only if it had the VR experience. Outside of that Outlast 2 still comes with a bag full of surprises and is sure to keep you on your toes for hours on end. Due to the extremely graphic nature of the game, we remind you that if you’re sensitive to mutilation or any other gruesome scenes just know you’ll be seeing quite a lot of it. Thanks again to Red Barrels Games for giving us the opportunity to play through Outlast 2 and have a blast with it. Let us know what you think about the Outlast franchise in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the articles you need.

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Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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