The original Outlast arrived at the perfect time. The PS4 was only 3 months old and gamers wanted new titles to prove the upgrade was significant. Pewdiepie catapulted his career on the back of Outlast Let’s Play videos that year growing his subscriber base from 3.5MM to 19MM. It was a lightning in a bottle moment for Outlast and it helped the game was actually quite good. Red Barrels’ title had a tremendous impact on the horror genre. Games like Layers of Fear and Alien Isolation owe much to the success of Outlast. Hell the game even forced Capcom to put down their drink and take making a new RE title seriously and lifted much from the Outlast experience to make Resident Evil 7. It was only inevitable a sequel would show up eventually. Here’s our review of Outlast 2.
Outlast 2 picks up with amateur journalist and cameraman Blake Langermann crashlanding his helicopter in the Arizona wilderness along with his wife, Lynn. The two are quickly separated leaving Blake to explore the desert terrain in near pitch black night with, you guessed it, his helpful night-vision-equipped camera. On his heels are separate fanatical cults seemingly at war that share the mutual goal of mutilating Blake any chance they can get.
Yes, not much has changed since the original. You still creep around in the dark preserving precious few batteries, you pick random artifacts to deepen the story if that’s what you’re in to, and you run like hell any time anyone sees you.
Visually the game is stunning. For those that played the original and the excellent DLC, Whistleblower, you may recall how significant the visual upgrade was between the two. Red Barrels makes another significant graphical upgrade here with some stunning moonlit vistas that caused us to stop and stare even with enemies potentially in pursuit.
The significant problem is that the game just isn’t scary. Maybe it’s because the experience is very similar to the original title. Perhaps it’s the overly generous autosave that never really presents much of a threat as you play (seriously, horror games need save spots like Resident Evil, Alien Isolation, or even a Dark Souls game to make reaching those points such an accomplishment). Or it could be the fact that getting lost in the wilderness hitting invisible walls cheapens the scare. Outside of a a few encounters with the resident omnipresent mini-boss Marta, the pulse will rarely quicken.
That’s not to say it’s a bad game. We actually enjoyed the ride but we were playing to see the conclusion, not because it’s a scary game. And that’s the other problem, the game goes B-A-N-A-N-A-S in the end. The original’s story of spectral possession has nothing on the lunacy that occurs in the final chapter here. And while that’s all weird and interesting, major characters randomly die in freak accidents or suicides instead of any bout with you and the conclusion is deliberately ambiguous to make room for, presumably, DLC. It just feels incomplete.
Graphically it’s stunning to watch and will make for some fabulous Let’s Play videos (maybe a contender to Pewdiepie can take advantage of this!). Also I don’t know if I’ve seen a game end as weirdly as this one does.. so, there’s that.
What does work
The ambiguity of the finale is frustrating and the experience is largely unchanged from previous (superior) Outlast titles.
Overall: Skip it
We’re huge fans of the original game and the surprisingly good Whistleblower campaign. We like this FPS horror genre a ton too but this game isn’t scary and chooses insanity instead of a compelling ending.
It’s not a scary game, but it sure is weird.