Promoted as one of the ‘scariest’ games around, Outlast managed to keep people on their toes, only to punish them with routine actions in the end. Outlast is a game developed by Red Barrels and focuses on a first-person running adventure across a derelict sanitarium.
Cliché as it is, Outlast makes good use of the background and the story that it introduces. The player is Miles Upshur, an independent journalist hoping to find a big break. He does find it through an anonymous letter asking him to investigate a psychiatric hospital called Mount Massive Asylum. In the opening scene of the game, the developers made sure that the player is welcomed with open arms by the scattered bodies of dead guards and inmates. As with almost every horror tale conceived, the player finds himself trapped, unable to free himself of the place unless he discovers the truth behind the mystery.
The goal in Outlast is simple: to run across levels while keeping yourself alive. The player has neither weapons nor the capability to swing a wooden stick. Hiding and outmaneuvering is the way to go with this game. Armed with a trusty video camera, the player must also conserve batteries as they are the only means of providing vision in a darkened place. It also provides insights as to the Miles’ thoughts as he navigates around the maze-like halls of the asylum. The inmates prove themselves as the game’s main antagonists, scratching and pummeling the player if captured.
Overall, Outlast is a decent game, not very good, but playable nonetheless. The scares find their prime in the first couple levels of the game, capitalizing on the dark and cramp halls. Scripted events also provide the unexpected thrill but dwindle as the game approaches its conclusion. One main problem with Outlast was how it was unable to ‘outlast’ the player’s interest. As Miles is faster than the inmates, we found it easier to run around them in circles rather than hide and wait for a better opportunity. Also, the story provides a good background but is marred with illogical twists. Be warned if you plan on getting Outlast as it features much blood and gore. It may even make you cringe from disgust. (JG Felongco)