Outlast PS4 Review
Publisher: Red Barrels Developer: Red Barrels Genre: Survival Horror Players: 1 Age Rating: 18+
Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Outlast was originally released on the PC in the September of last year. It’s a first person horror game that has since been called scary by a number of writers as well as the general playing public. Now the game has been brought to the PS4, and, as it’s currently a part of the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection line-up, many people are going to be potentially scared by this one.
Outlast takes place in an asylum, which is scary enough as it is. You fill the boots of the faceless and voiceless Miles Upshur, a freelance journalist. He visits Mount Massive Asylum in the Colorado mountains, and then the nightmare escalates from there. With only a camera, it’s up to you to find out the secrets of the asylum in a passable narrative. Some journalists are just too damn nosy.
As the game takes place in a ruined and out of control asylum, you’d hope for an atmosphere that gives you a wonderful sense of place, and developer Red Barrels has certainly achieved just that. Much of the game takes place in the dark, with only the night vision light of your camera showing you the way through the darkness. The game certainly has a chilling atmosphere, and add in the fact that you get chased by scary and crazed people, with such intense situations being accompanied by intense music, and this is one game that will root you in its setting.
The camera has to be topped up with batteries to keep the night vision working at its best, which means it’s encouraged to only make use of the night vision when it’s really required, particularly on the tougher difficulties wherein you can only carry a small amount of batteries. When the battery of the camera runs out, you’ll still have the use of night vision, although it’s vastly reduced, which not only adds to the scares, but it also makes getting around a lot more difficult, particularly in the darker environments. Luckily, batteries can be found lying around, and this is one game that you’ll prefer to play in the light as opposed to the darkness.
Outlast doesn’t have any combat, thus the only choice you have when enemies appear on the scene is to run, and perhaps hide when you are out of sight by slipping under beds or shutting yourself inside a locker, and then hearing Upshur’s heavy and panicked breathing. During these situations, you’d be forgiven if you feel panic yourself, as not giving you the ability to fight back does add to the tension considerably.
The game lasts for a good five hours, but perhaps it would have benefitted from a little more variation in the objectives, and the fact of the matter is that, while you move from one place to another, you are doing the same thing over the entire course of the game. It’s not a huge flaw, but it’s still Outlast’s biggest drawback, and a little more variation would have certainly mixed things up somewhat.
Outlast is a strong survival horror game that will terrify many players. The first person viewpoint gets you more intimate with the horror, and the sound design is some of the best I’ve ever heard in a game, which means that Outlast is truly atmospheric. Being chased by the twisted enemies will result in panic for many, as will walking around in the dark with only your camera for company. It’s a brilliant debut then, although an even better sequel would be most welcome some time down the line, as Outlast is just a whisker away from being something truly special. Red Barrels is certainly a developer that is very much worth keeping an eye on.