The original Outlast was one of the most disturbing games I have ever played. It wasn’t just because of its subject matter and how it was mostly set in the dark, but due to just how well all of its horror elements played together and scared the hell out of me all throughout my time playing it. Or maybe it’s because I’m just a big scaredy-cat. Either way, I tried my best to brave on and checked out Outlast 2 during E3. Lucky for me, I had Red Barrel Games’ co-founder and Outlast’s game and level designer Philippe Morin at my side for the moral support the demo readily proved I needed.
The premise of the game is that a helicopter crash landed out in the middle of Nowhere, Arizona, carrying a reporter and his wife who were off investigating a bizarre disappearance case. You, as one of the survivors, makes it out unscathed, but are left all alone, the only companion being a AAA battery-fed portable camera and its night vision mode. Yep, scary things are bound to happen, and the demo didn’t take long to pop them at me.
Just like the first one, Outlast 2 is a first-person game that’s entirely based on investigating spooky environments, solving puzzles and hiding/running away from danger. This time, instead of the psychiatric asylum, you’re trapped in a crazy cult-controlled village and have to deal with the messed up shit that goes on in that sort of place. Shit like mutilated corpses, bloody rooms, shadows that weren’t there when you first walked into that rusted out shack… you know, that sort of thing. While I was never into movies that approached this subject matter, like Hostel and Saw, there’s something in Outlast and so far its sequel that captivate me to try and play through them, for as uncomfortable as they make me.
Maybe that’s because unlike a movie, these games actually let me decide on what to do when in a dangerous situation. Instead of thinking “damn, that dude sure is dumb walking into that dark room where the killer surely is waiting for him”, I can take charge and just run away. Yeah, that’s my usual instinct in situations like that. The same type of experience that Outlast 2‘s demo provided, as I crept through various shacks and suspiciously dark and damp rooms, with only the green hue of my camera’s viewfinder to keep me relatively calm. Thankfully, I never ran out of batteries, thanks to the few I managed to find along the way.
Suddenly, but in many ways not unexpectedly, I bumped into one of the villagers, who was obviously not very happy to see me. He knocked me out for a few seconds, and went on to creepily stand in the corner of the basement I woke up at. I promptly fled, rarely looking back. He gave chase. For as much as I tried to run away from him, he eventually caught up with me. I failed to have him lose sight of me. Death was the result, and thus my time with the demo ended. According to Phillipe, the actual demo would’ve gone a little longer, but I knew what I was in for in the final game after playing this early version for about twenty minutes. I’m in.
I’m happy/dreading to report that my fearful side lost the battle once again. The angel that usually sits on my shoulder is nowhere to be seen as the little demon prompts me to play Outlast 2 once it’s out later this year. “It’ll be a ride”, he says. Oh boy. I’m sure it will be.
In the meantime, here’s a teaser to keep you company.