In a genre where fans and Youtube gamers are easily startled from simple horror games with cheap jump scares, horror fans wouldn’t expect a similar experience from a game that has a carefully thought, high-quality production value.
Outlast 2, the anticipated, indirect sequel of Outlast, was produced and published by Red Barrels, an independent Canadian video game developer. Under the supervision of Red Barrels co-founder Philippe Morin and writer J. T. Petty, the horror survival game defines the horror genre, which is powered by Unreal Engine 3.
According to the game’s official website, players take the role of cameraman Blake Langermann. He teams up with his wife, Lynn Langermann, as investigative journalists. The duo courageously takes cases no one dares to unravel. They are currently investigating a case of a murdered pregnant woman identified as Jane Doe. Their pursuit leads them to an Arizona desert, but they got separated as their helicopter crashed. With Lynn missing and being stranded in a cultist’s town called Temple Gate, players have to navigate their own way out, rescue Lynn and uncover the truth behind the cult known as the Testament of the New Ezekiel. Along the way, players will encounter hallucinations from Blake’s fears and dark past.
Straying away from the cramped hallways of Outlast’s abandoned asylum, Outlast 2 introduces a massive forest complex, filled with feverous cultists and horrifying monsters that players will definitely be afraid to encounter. Unlike other horror survival games where enemies can be defeated by going in a blaze of glory, players have to depend on tactics and stealth. The players are reminded that Blake is a mere mortal since the doomsday cultists can kill them immediately. Just like in the first game, players are forced in a gameplay that will test their patience and presence of mind. This involves sneaking in crevasses, crawling under the bed, hiding in lockers, entering barrels, swimming in a pool or sprinting away to safety. Stamina is also reintroduced in the game where players have to manage how long they will run, otherwise, they will be caught by their pursuers.
In an article by PlayStation LifeStyle, Blake is also wearing a pair glasses. If their glasses fall off, the players’ vision becomes limited and they have to find it. As a journalist, players have to capture every footage through their camcorder. The camcorder is built with night vision that quickly drains power, so players have to manage its limited battery life while scavenging for spare batteries as well. Unlike Outlast, this game’s camcorder is improved with features like clearer recording, audio detection and zoom. Players can use this as an advantage not only for capturing important footages but also for detecting noises and navigating the dim environment. Players can recover slowly from their injuries with bandages but they can be interrupted by enemies while doing so. In order to progress, players have to search for clues while avoiding traps laid by the cult.
As a fair discretion for non-survival horror enthusiast, anyone who can’t stomach disturbing scenes, or anyone sensitive to topics like occultism, players will be immersed in an environment filled with dismembered corpses, gore, excrement and blood. In addition, the game has loose interpretations of bible passages matched with disturbing cultist imageries. Other than the excruciating and dark atmosphere, players shall expect jump scares, horrifying cut-scenes from murdered NPCs to tortures and even the most painful death if they ever get captured by the cultists or trigger hidden traps. Despite working with some of the horror clichés and tropes like jump scares, chase scenes and gore, the game is still very effective due to its production value and effective execution of scenes.
Outlast 2 is digitally available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Fans can also purchase Outlast Trinity, the physical collection of Outlast, Outlast: Whistleblower and Outlast 2 to experience the definition of true horror survival at its finest.