WeView Verdict: Outlast

As I mentioned in the original article last week, Outlast has come along during a resurgence of horror titles in the indie gaming scene, and has been scaring people since it launched on PlayStation Plus back in February. It’s also available on PC, and now Xbox One, so is it worth checking out if you missed it back then?

Now, we’ve got about 20 comments here, so we’ll get through as many of them as we can before delivering the final verdict.

Unfortunately, psychobudgie was not enamoured with the title, saying that it was “very underwhelming to the point where I just couldn’t be bothered” and that it’s essentially a “one trick pony” which “lacks atmosphere”. A controversial opinion, perhaps, but still quite an interesting one!

MrYd completely disagreed with the previous comment, describing it as “possibly the most terrifying game” he’s played and stating ” it relies on some cheap jump scares in places, but it doesn’t abuse that too much”. This then evolved into an interesting discussion about horror in general from both Yd and psychobudgie, which you can read here if you feel so inclined.

“While it’s enjoyable and scary as absolute fudge, the fear pours away when you get caught and killed because you can just pick back up from about a minute prior and go through it all again.” said CrawFail, bringing up an interesting point. “The consequence for getting caught wasn’t enough in my opinion.” continued Craw. Tony Cawley, meanwhile, hasn’t gone back to the game after getting stuck on a puzzle.

LegendishThingy said that Outlast “comes dangerously close to giving you a heart attack whilst actually making the game quite enjoyable to play at the same time”, something which has been praised time and time again. JustTaylorNow didn’t agree, saying that much of the scares were expected, yet elpablo79 hasn’t even finished it due to being scared.

Similarly, Eldur only managed about fifteen minutes of game time before “some… thing… scampering around in the room you’ve just left” was too much to handle! “I will go back, but only when it’s light outside and I can be assured nobody will leap out at me when I stop playing.” TSBonyman’s comment was lovely and concise: “I liked the fright but didn’t enjoy the flight instead of fight.”

Andrewww’s comment really highlighted what makes Outlast so good, across a number of reasons:

This game mixes a few elements so brilliantly that the resulting atmosphere is just fantastic. First, it’s not the usual shooter, you cannot even hit back, you just can run or hide, or die. This makes it so much scarier, as you feel pretty helpless and out of control. Second, the darkness and the limited vision when using the camera work perfectly, you often don’t see things coming, and you know that there will be things that are after you. Third, the sound design is just great, your ‘own’ breathing, the theme when Walker is around, and sometimes in the dark you have to listen carefully where your opponent is, and it works so well.

So, that’s it for Outlast. There’s been a bit of a mixed response to this one, with seven votes for Buy It, one for Plus It and two votes for Avoid It. Seems as though it’s worth checking out, then!


We’ve got South Park: The Stick of Truth coming up tomorrow, which should be an interesting one. That means that Octodad and OlliOlli return to the poll, while they’re joined by newcomers in the form of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and Thief.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

20 Comments

  1. It does look an interesting one. I really don’t like scary games at night, so I’d have to play it in daylight (I’m not claiming to have strength here). By far the most scariest thing in these types of games is the sound. DS2 nearly gave me a heart attack when the fire suppression system turned on.

    • Play it in daylight?? Small children will point at you and laugh in the street!

      It must be played at night. Turn the lights off and have proper surround sound turned up to a suitable volume, so your neighbours can complain about the noise of the game (or call the police, fearing for your safety) rather than hear your squeals of terror.

      No playing it in daylight, or with headphones (unless you’ve got some fancy surround sound headphones). It’s supposed to terrify you. Don’t go and ruin that effect with bright light and a nice cup of tea nearby.

      • Play at night, absolutely but DO use headphones, the lack of the usual day to day noises, the cat, the fridge, cars driving by etc makes it even more scary as you’re totally immersed.

      • Headphones are better than surround sound for horror, always have been.

        They block outside sound and deliver the game’s atmosphere straight to your ears louder than anyone with neighbours would be able to put a surround sound system on at night.

        Definitely play it in the dark though.

      • But on the other hand, unless you’ve got fancy surround sound headphones, you don’t get things creepy up behind you.

        Which really can mess with your head. I’ll freely admit to actually turning round to see what was behind me at times.

        And if something suddenly scares the shit out of you, I’m not sure I want to be using headphones. Don’t want them falling off your head every time something does that. And yes, I know you can have them nice and tight, to make your ears all hot and sweaty. Or even have things that go in your ear, which are just horrible and all sound a bit crap anyway.

        So headphones are a last resort, if you don’t want to annoy anyone else, and you’re not playing anything that might cause them to fall off.

      • Some decent £30 or less stereo headphones give a very good 3D sound effect.

      • Any good pair of stereo headphones will give the 3D effect perfectly, you’ll hear them coming from behind you.

        Noise cancelling is easily more important than surround sound.

  2. Did I imagine reading a Ratchet and Clank verdict earlier this morning? Did a night shift last night so hopefully I was either right or sleep deprived and not going loopy.

    • Yeah, that was a mistake on our part :)

      • Good, thanks, my mind is at peace again!

  3. I tried it this morning and only got as far as jumping up the ledge to get inside the asylum. Horror is not my definition of pleasure or entertainment, but each to their own!

    • There’s a video on youtube where someone gets as far as climbing up to get inside, then turns around, runs back to the car and drives away. Which is what any sane person would do. Should have had that as part of the game with a trophy for doing it, really.

  4. Did I already mention I loved Outlast..? :o)
    Do yourself a favour and play it, in the dark, alone, with headphones, some zombies around might help too, but that depends on where you live… ;o)

  5. I’m in complete agreement with psychobudgie on this one.

    I tried to get into it and just couldn’t. I even turned the lights off & cranked the volume right up on my speakers but didn’t find it remotely scary. I just couldn’t be bothered with running around in the dark avoiding something I couldn’t take a swing at.

    • High five! If anyone thinks it’s scary they should try telling my missus that we are out of tea bags. True definition of horror.

      • I played about 2 hours worth in the dark didn’t find it that scary either. Much prefer the first two Dead Space games.

  6. Great game. I thought the game mechanics were pretty fun and played at night with a surround sound system it was very atmospheric – almost close to the Condemned games.

    Good story too – written by JT Petty who was written and directed some great horror films.

  7. Since submitting my little review I’ve had chance to play and finish the Whistleblower DLC.
    It’s even more terrifying than the original game! If you like Outlast, get the DLC. It’s short but my GOD is it atmospheric, grim and downright bob your pants scary.

    It suffers from the same problem as I mentioned in the review though. All tension ebbs away once you’re caught and killed.

  8. I played about 2 hours worth in the dark didn’t find it that scary either. Much prefer the first two Dead Space games.

  9. Gotta get back this game. It’s great and truly horrifying. It’s the vulnerability that does it. Haven’t been this shited since Dead Space 1.

Comments are now closed for this post.