Game Review: Outlast II brings true terror back
Outlast 2 is not a game for the faint of heart and requires large amounts of stamina whether you have played the first game or not. Red Barrels has set the barrier very high for themselves after the release of the previoous Outlast game which, in my opinion, is one of the best horror titles in recent years. With the new installment, Red Barrels steps up their game with a game that takes the terror and gore to a whole new level that will make even the bravest of you lose your calm plenty of times throughout the adventure. Have they managed to deliver a game worthy of the first, which will offer similar or louder emotions to the player? Let's find out.
Outlast II follows a completely different path in comparison to its predecessor, and this time it doesn’t take place inside an asylum but instead it places the player in mostly open, albeit dark areas. In this game the player takes on the role of Blake Langermann, a cameraman who, along with his journalist wife, is traveling by helicopter to a deserted location in Arizona, USA, to unravel the mystery of a dead pregnant woman named Jane Doe (a name given to unidentified female victims). After their helicopter crashes, Blake finds himself alone in the hostile environment and tries to find his wife but unfortunately for him, he finds himself trapped in a village inhabited by a paranoid religious heresy that believes that the end of the world is near and performs tortures, atrocities and even sacrifices of men and children. What could go wrong, right?
Despite its simple mechanics, the game offers a very challenging horror-survival experience. Similar to Outlast 1, it is a first person game and the capabilities of our main character are very limited. By holding only a camera in hand and using his shutter night vision to see in the darkness, Blake can do absolutely nothing to defend himself or use any kind of weapon. All we, as players, can do is help him hide and run away from the countless dangers awaiting in every corner. If you thought Outlast 1 was difficult in that aspect, wait to see how many times you’ll die in this one.
As you can see, Outlast II continues the tradition of hide-and-seek between the player and the enemies, and any contact with them means (almost) instant death, as it only takes 2-3 hits to die. There are many hiding places however, such as wardrobes, barrels, beds, etc. and you can also collect bandages to heal yourself, and I suggest you look for them diligently because they are almost as important as the camcorder batteries that you will find even in the weirdest of places e.g. caves. The game is very linear but also leaves some room for exploration to discover some collectibles that will help you find some clues behind what is going on. Also, I should mention that that there are no puzzles in this title, just sometimes you will need to find a necessary object to be able to advance e.g. levers, rope, etc..
If you have played the first Outlast then by now you will know that the gameplay is basically the same with the only difference being that in Outlast II there are far more chase scenes than hiding like the first title. The controls are also functioning the same way, and the only feature that is different is the way the camera works as you can now record certain areas and review them later for clues.
As expected of a horror franchise such as Outlast, Outlast II is full of jumpscares, gore, torture and graphic content that if you can’t handle then you should probably refrain from playing or play with company and with lights on.
Pricing & Availability
Outlast II is available for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The PC version is available on Steam for $28.
Graphics & Sounds
Visually the game is definitely a step forward from the first game. Everything is designed with great attention to detail which creates the perfect atmosphere of terror and all effects run smoothly with no issues. The voice acting is also something worth of praise and the various sound effects and BG music of impeccable quality.
In conclusion, if you liked the first Outlast, you'll love this more extreme sequel that has plenty of improvements compared to the first, despite having the same gameplay. If you can handle the horror that comes with it then you will enjoy it immensely. Definitely one of the best horror games of the year. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Outlast II screenshots (above) and trailer (below)