A strong sense of fear elevates this title above and beyond…
Now, Outlast 2 came out around a month ago, so I’m sure you’re wondering as to why a review for it is coming out now. Because, despite all of my courage and abilities as a gamer, Outlast 2 was a terrifying experience from start to finish. That comes alongside the fact that I had picked up the Outlast: Trinity collection to get the full experience down, the full experience being that I couldn’t play for more than ten minutes at a time like the classy individual that I am.
Honestly, in regards to Outlast 2, I had a lot of trouble finishing this title. Not so much in the “Oh wow, this is unbelievably bad,” sense, but more along the lines of the, “I really hope the screeching witch lady with the large scythe is gone now,” sense. There have been a lot of great games to come out this year: Persona 5, Nier: Automata, Breath of the Wild, etc. Outlast 2 is just another for the pile in this excellent year of gaming. That being said, though, why is Outlast 2 so good?
For one thing, the setting is, for lack of a better term, unsettling. There’s just something about a town run by cultists that does a fairly good job of putting you on edge. What really brings it to life, though, is the dialogue. The interactions between characters feels surprisingly genuine for a horror game, not that certain sections of it aren’t cheesy. In fact, in regards to the main protagonist, some of what he does is a bit on the questionable side. For example, later on in-game, one of the cult members decides to give him a place to rest. Upon doing this, the very same cult member is killed and our main man kind of gets upset about it. Now, I realize that the amount of events prior didn’t help the main character’s psyche, but up until now, that individual was the only one willing to help him in any way, shape, or form. This could just be nitpicking, but I’d label it as a missed opportunity to flesh out some sort of personality.
Luckily, the action outweighs a lot of the nitpicking. The only negative thing I’ll mention is that you can’t fight back. I realize it’s there for immersion’s sake, but I’m not asking to pick up a gun and go all out. I just want the ability to throw a rock, some sand, or any kind of distraction tool. Regardless, the game play is effective and puts you in the right state of mind for what you’re getting into. Whether it be corn fields, farm houses, or abandoned low income housing, Outlast 2 makes it work.
The main premise of the game is based around you finding your love interest and escaping the cult so that the two of you can expose them to the world. There’s also several sections based around going to a school where… horror happens, sort of like The Evil Within but more on the side of trying to figure out the big mystery entwined in the school sections. It’s all solid stuff really, if not a bit out of place in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, the plot is fine, if a little predictable at times. I like the villain’s motivation, making them not so much relatable, but more identifiable in that they’re the villain and we’re the scrappy underdog. It’s a nice simplicity that has been missing in a lot of games lately.
Graphics wise, Outlast 2 looks really good. I know that’s not much to go on, especially in 2017, when new games that come out are both stunning and striking in their own way, but Outlast has always been a franchise that looks to establish atmosphere first and work in the mechanics around the given setting later on. The sound is the same way; the first time I heard the whispering and screeching that the title had to offer, I can safely say that the lights were on. Not that I didn’t try to go lights off, but it just wasn’t happening in the end.
Overall, Outlast 2 does a great job at bringing out the horror experience that fans have come to recognize. Despite a couple things, such as weird character arcs and a lack of offensive capability, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about in the latest installment to the series. Hopefully, this one will outlast the competition.