Outlast 2 is finally out and currently downloading on my PS4. I’ve been waiting for this game for a while. I’m a huge fan of the original and the even better DLC, Whistleblower. It’s surreal to have two potentially great horror games so quickly in a row as we recently finished RE7, which did a tremendous job of feeling a lot like Outlast. However, very much unlike Outlast, RE7 botched the finale –- just like so many other Resident Evil games.
For those who don’t know, Outlast takes place in an ominous mental institution recently overrun by its patients. During the course of the original game you play as a journalist tipped off (by the fore mentioned whistleblower who features as the DLC’s protagonist) to unspeakable tests being performed on inmates of the facility. You’re clearly not a fighter, especially against the more violent patients, so your goal is survival typically by running and hiding whenever you encounter anyone. In the finale of the original game you are up against basically an evil spirit from which you cannot hide so you’re left with strictly parkour to save your life. In the DLC campaign, you’re pitted against the super creepy groom and have to quietly escape his lair. Both games conclude with a sequence that tests the lessons you’ve learned from the game in boss fights that are memorable and interesting.
Resident Evil 7, on the other hand, doesn’t end well. After so many fantastic sequences as you explore the freaky Baker family property the game suddenly transplants you to a derelict and significantly less interesting tanker for a few hours. It fortunately does end up back at the Baker house with a pretty stunning revelation as to who the real bad guy is, but the game devolves into several rounds of “shoot it in the face” for the final boss fight. It’s uninspired and honestly boring despite how crazy it is. It’s a shame because we highly recommend the game but the best parts are easily the first few chapters as you encounter the Baker family, especially Jack.
This actually seems like a trend in RE games though. The outstanding RE4 stands out for the moments like the chainsaw guy battle in the first village or perhaps the battle with the sea creature that you all but forget fighting the mutated Saddler on the surface of The Island. RE2, our personal favorite, impressed due to its parallel storyline against the unstoppable Mr. X that was both terrifying and entertaining anytime you interacted with the main storyline. But, again, the finale was largely forgettable as you unloaded every gun you had at a mutated blob wall of William Birkin on the high-speed train. In fact, not since the original Resident Evil, that set the stage for using a rocket launcher to blow up a tyrant, have we had a memorable final boss fight.
It’s strange because some horror games get this right. The almost perfect Dead Space 2 concludes in a thrilling last chapter as you are pursued by the unkillable ubermorph until you find the evil marker and confront the possessed part of your brain in a tense fight that forces you to use every weapon you’ve engineered over the course of the game. Alien Isolation, also excellent, concludes by upping the ante significantly revealing the ship is infected with dozens of xenomorphs and capturing you to experience the iconic moments of waking up in front of pod of a soon to be born face hugger.
For too long Resident Evil wildly over compensated with bosses that would just NEVER, EVER die or outlandish set pieces like fighting inside, yes, an active volcano. RE7 is a fantastic step in the right direction and maybe one day Capcom will deliver a final boss that’s more than just SHOOT IT IN THE FACE!
For now, Outlast 2 is over 90% downloaded so it’s time to pour a drink, settle in, and see if developer Red Barrels can go 3 for 3.