Tuesday, 02 May 2017 12:09

REVIEW: Outlast 2 (Xbox One)

Written by Brett Hale
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The game that almost never made it to Australian shores after some confusion with the wrong version of the game being submitted to the Australian Classification Board. Now, that's all been sorted and the game is finally out, and more importantly, the same version as the rest of the world.

Having played the original Outlast and it’s Whistleblower DLC, I was hoping it wouldn’t be too long before a sequel was made, and it was just a couple of years later that Outlast 2 was announced. It's much like its predecessor’s survivor horror style, which is in first person. Both Outlast and Outlast 2 take place in the same region. You have nothing but you’re handheld camera, your legs to run or hiding as best you can to survive. At no time will you ever have a weapon, only the freaks and creatures in the game will have those at their disposal. Which has all odds stacked against you.

What drives the story of Outlast 2 is a pregnant Jane Doe, husband & cameraman Blake Langermann, and his wife Lynn, which are in the business of uncovering stories others wouldn’t dare to. After their chopper goes down in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, they start to run into trouble, and shit gets real fucked up, real fast. The story goes from trying to uncover the pregnant Jane Doe to trying to survive and find you’re wife Lynn.

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Let’s get one thing straight, this game is scary!!!! I played only at night and in complete darkness for several reasons. Having young kids I couldn’t play when they were awake, and also who plays horror games during the day? I also only played whilst using headphones which really ups the ante with the scary atmosphere. Outlast 2 is not for the faint of heart. It’ll have you feeling very uncomfortable at times, even I felt a little sick at some of the things i’d witnessed whilst playing the game, so I can honestly say Outlast 2 really earnt it’s R rating. Without going to much into it, you’ll be confronted with murder, torture, sexual violence, dead bodies hanging from trees, well, dead bodies are seen almost everywhere in Outlast 2. On Top of that, the gore is pretty brutal. Early on in the game you’ll find yourself inside of a school, a place you’ll come accross pretty often, but one part is almost a scene from Stanley Kubrick's ‘The Shining’ having a flood of blood flowing down a narrow corridor.

Because you don’t get a weapon, just like in the first Outlast, the key thing you’ll need to depend on is your camera. It does a few key things, it’ll allow you to record things and also in those pitch black moments, you’ll be able to turn on the night vision mode. It has one other feature which is a microphone, where everwhere you point your camera, it’ll detect voices and footsteps, the closer the sound you hear is the higher the icon indicators will go, red and yellow means very close. But to use your camera you’ll need to have batteries on hand, and they can be found while searching houses and other places. You don’t ever want to find yourself without batteries, not knowing which way to walk or if someone or something is right in front of you would be a nightmare.

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When you feel as though you’re close to enemies you can choose to hide, and hiding is a must in certain situations. You can hide under beds, under tables, inside closets or inside empty barrels. You can also hide in the shadows, but hiding isn’t death proof, if they see you whilst you attempt to hide, once spotted death is futile. Now there are times to hide, but there are times when running is your only hope. When running to survive, it’s best to have your night vision on to see where you’re going when in the dark.

I found that when facing some parts of Outlast 2 it was a trial and error scenario before I figured where I actually had to run or what I had to do to get to the next point. This was the same with the original Outlast. This title auto saves frequently which for this style of game is needed.

Even when you think you're alone, you still won’t feel as though you are. Playing with a headset, hearing a ruffling in the bushes around you really can freak you out, it made me on edge not knowing if something was going to jump out at me. Horror games like this make you feel scared and on edge for two reason, visually, and by sound. Outlast 2, hits both those elements on the head with perfection. Eerie music, with sounds of screeching violins among other sounds really sets the mood when walking up or down stairs or even whilst traveling through a confined cave in the dark, sure even with night vision a cave isn’t a safe place to be if something was to confront you. There are times you could cut the tension with a knife.

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On a visual standpoint, Outlast 2 has had a graphics overhaul when compared to the first game, not that Outlast didn’t look great, but Outlast 2 here really shines. This creates a really scary place to be in. Old creepy cabins, in the middle of nowhere, outdoor lights will swing in the wind, and you can see the environment change around you. The moon at times will light up your surroundings, but the game is mostly dark. There isn’t a HUD except when you’re using your camera. You’ll see your camera's battery level, night vision and mic icons, along with a couple of other things that aren't too important.

Outlast 2 will take you to many places, it's just a shame there places you don’t want to go. Such as crawling under houses with people crawling after you while someone inside the house smashes a pitchfork through the floorboards. It’s a safe bet you should play with with an extra pair of undies on, because getting scared out of your senses is 100% going to happen. It’s in my opinion that this is the ultimate survival horror game released to date, it takes from the original and improves for an even scarier atmosphere. Most scares are genuine, leaving just a few unnecessary “jump scares” in Outlast 2.

Your mind will be tormented, and you’re morals tested, you’ll see a lot of messed up situations, but remember it’s just a game.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Red Barrels Studio
  • Genre: Misc