Can you Outlast the Boredom?

Outlast 2 Demo – Impression

 

Tea: Fennel Tea

 

Outlast was a horror sensation a lot of people enjoyed and I didn’t very much. Now the demo for the second game found its way onto the PSN store and I thought I’d give Outlast a second chance. A new setting with a stronger occult element does show the developers aim to move the series into new directions instead of rehashing the first game at the very least. So let’s see whether Outlast can be redeemed or whether I have to crucify it upside down.

The first Outlast and this one seem to be solely based on the idea that things looks eerie and creepy through a night vision camera and while that is true, the gimmick of constantly having to find batteries to power your device is one I always despised. Not only is it absurd to find batteries, but only those that actually fit. Have these people never used any electronic device? On top of that I have never actually seen a camcorder that uses batteries. Griping aside, the demo puts you into the shoes of a reporter after a helicopter crash looking for his wife in the Arizonian desert. This backdrop sets the scene for some hillbilly religious cult horror. While I do not know how much the story of this demo will factor into the main game, I would still view it as the general direction of the tone. There seems to be a stronger supernatural element with some good old impossible space thrown into the mix.

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– Just dropping in to show you my sick occult pickaxe I made this morning, it even glows in the dark. –

There is a great moment early on when you walk past some wooden houses and the dark forest is in the back. Should you whip out your night vision, you will see pair of eyes glistening in the dark, only to retreat out of sight moments later. If more moments like this would be in the game, it might actually build a decent atmosphere. But soon after, the rollercoaster ride starts. Jump scare after jump scare and scene change after scene change. There is no time to take in the environment as it changes so fast and one is constantly interrupted by an annoying… thing (?) that tries to show you its tongue uncomfortably close. Later on you also get to meet the locals and spend some quality time with them being chased through a field. Shortly after the demo just ends.

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– HorrorImagery.jpg –

Well, that’s it. The demo is not scary or even impressive. It looks great visually for sure, but there are so many factors that rob this of any quality. The setting is as generic as it gets and makes little sense when one actually thinks about it. Most of the gruesome stuff is simply there to be gruesome without any context or purpose. The use of religious occult tropes boarders on hilarious with a set-piece during the demo depicting a cross of burned children and babies on the ground and it just didn’t click for me. This is too over the top to be scary. A little restraint would have been far more effective. One burned baby and the cross shape indicating that there were/will be more is far more effective than a load of dead children. The game seems so excited to scare you it cannot hold itself back and thus destroys any atmosphere it could build. If you are looking for a great atmospheric demo, I already talked about the RE7 demo which is still good and still more entertaining than this little time sink.

 

 

Image sources in order of appearance:

 

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2 thoughts on “Can you Outlast the Boredom?

  1. I started to play Outlast 1. “Started” meaning that I played it only one single time and then never again. It wasn´t that I was scared or freaked out but rather positively annoyed by these stupid batteries. It´s things like these that turn me into a true wreck and suddenly I die because I want to hasten through the game, risking my life recklessly, just because I don´t want to run out of energy. Sure one could say: “Yeah, that´s basically the intended effect here, make you feel you´ll run out of time. A certain sense of pressure added to the horror around you, thus heightening it.”
    However, the very same thing regularly happens in other games that have nothing to do with horror. Oh these panicked looks I kept shooting at my petrol metre in Mass Effect!
    Definitely not my cup of tea.

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    • I’d agree. It is an arbitrary way of infusing tension which makes immersion difficult rather than heightening it. While I have long given up questioning piles of ammunition lying around, batteries and device that drain them faster than one can drink a glass of water will never not annoy me. While I have not run into such a limitation as you mention with Mass Effect I can imagine the frustration.

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