Outlast

First-person horror game for Windows, PlayStation and Xbox

6.9

1898 Votes

  • Category Action
  • License Full version
  • Works under Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
  • Language English
  • Program by Red Barrels

Outlast is a terrifying first-person survival horror game.

When Miles Upshur, a freelance journalist, receives an anonymous tip about inhumane experiments that are being carried out in Mount Massive Asylum, a long-abandoned psychiatric hospital nestled in the Colorado mountains, he breaks in to investigate and scoop the story of a lifetime.

Taking on the role of Upshur, the aim of the game is for players to navigate their way through the dilapidated asylum, now overrun by homicidal patients and insane doctors, in an effort to find a way out. The plot cleverly develops by way of notes taken by Upshur as the game progresses and manila folders that are found sporadically throughout the asylum. These manila folders contain intriguing patient files, doctors notes and newspaper cuttings that help the story unfold and provide background information into the Murkoff Corporation’s controversial experiments.

As players stumble across mutilated corpses, disembowelled bodies, men impaled on spikes and disfigured lunatics, there are various tasks that need to be completed in order to move forwards through the dark prison cells, abandoned medical wards, corridors and offices. These tasks include finding key cards to unlock doors, restarting pumps and electrical breakers and restoring power to a selection of devices. The game is very linear in this respect as players need to figure out what to do and which way to go before moving on, however, it still offers excitement and frights at every turn.

The most significant feature of this game is that there is no combat. Although it can be quite frustrating at times, it definitely makes the game more frightening as players have to either run, squeeze between obstacles, vault over obstructions and barricade doors behind them or hide and watch from a broken locker or from under a bed as crazed inmates stalk the building. On the occasions that players do get found, watching Upshur be dragged from his hiding place and torn apart is nothing short of brutal. This game is definitely not for the fainthearted. Having no weapons to use means that there is a constant sense of helplessness throughout gameplay. This is a clever tactic when making an intensely scary game.

An ingenious aspect of Outlast is the fact that the majority of the game is viewed through the LCD screen of Upshur’s camcorder. This gives the game a terrifying ’found-footage’ feel that has been so popular in films in recent years. Making the game even more frightening is the fact that many areas are completely unlit. This forces players to use the infra-red function on the camcorder which casts an eerie green glow on the surroundings. The only downside is that the batteries run out very quickly and players must constantly search through the available rooms to find replacements.

Despite the all too familiar premise of an evil corporation carrying out dangerous experiments that go horribly wrong and the fact that although the first hour of gameplay is very scary, the routine-like scenes and tasks do become quite repetitive, the controls are excellent and the graphics are outstanding. Players really are put firmly into the shoes of Upshur, which makes for very realistic gameplay.

The sound effects are another great thing about Outlast. The sounds of Upshur’s panicked breath as he run through the corridors mixed with the shrieking, snarling and screeching noises, footsteps and breaking glass that can be heard echoing throughout the asylum, all help to create a terrifying experience.

Pros

  • Great plot
  • Good graphics and sound effects
  • Ingenious camera gimmick

Cons

  • Quite repetitive and soon loses its scare factor
  • Resources run out fast
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