Oh boy. Here we go, another horror game for me but this time I wasn’t prepared. Outlast II is a first-person perspective and atmosphere-driven horror title… and it’s really friggin’ terrifying.
Outlast 2 Is Terrifying
Ever since I played the first Outlast way back when it was released in 2013, I always thought that it was not going to remain a ‘niche’ game. A couple of years later, I was proven right. The thing that made the original Outlast stand out is that it was a genuine horror experience. It balanced the supernatural, as well as the fear of the unknown. Not knowing whether everything worked out well enough in the end.
I describe Outlast II as a perspective and atmosphere-driven horror game. And I do that because that’s where the horror is strongest in this sequel. You know, like when you don’t know what to expect and when you start to hear things that aren’t really there.
From the get-go, Outlast II starts out pretty much the same way the original Outlast game did. You start by going to the ‘location’ of the game after everyone has told you of the risks and that you shouldn’t go there in the first place. In this case, a journalist/cameraman wife and husband duo are aboard a helicopter to investigate the case of ‘Jane Doe’ who seems to have died of environment-related diseases.
From the couple’s conversation, it can be gathered that the woman died because the ‘factory’ near their habitat keeps on dumping wastes in the river which causes illness and even dead among the town’s population. Well, this is Outlast so that’s a load of bull.
After a few minutes of discussing the plot of the game and why they were going to that Godforsaken place even after all of the warning signs, their helicopter magically crashes to the ground.
The player controlled character is obviously the husband who is the cameraman. He wakes up with one thing on his mind: ‘Nothing else is important. I have to find [her]’ and off he goes on his journey.
As a horror game veteran, I knew this was the ‘tutorial’ phase of the game where I spend a few hours familiarizing myself with the controls and the game. Boy was I proven wrong. 20 minutes in the game, with barely any batteries on my night-vision camera, I run into something more ferocious than Nemesis from Resident Evil and any other game stalker you think of combined and of course, I die horribly.
I was enthused by this experience and I wanted more, masochism be damned. I tried approximately 4 times and by the fifth time, I remembered that Outlast isn’t a game about fighting or running. It’s about NOT RUNNING INTO enemies in the first place. Nothing in Outlast is unpassable and there’s always a way around everything. I was right and I proceeded to finish the game after a few hours of nearly shitting myself.
Visuals and Sounds
Outlast II runs on the Unreal Engine with some reused assets from the original Outlast. It looks great and everything looks animated well enough to be played. In fact, I never really experienced any technical errors and the game looked great on ultra. The shadows look a little wonky and sometimes, the game is a little too dark for its own good but other than that, everything looks great.
The sounds, on the other hand, are amazing. What makes Outlast great is that it gives you a visceral visual and sound experience like no other game. You can almost ‘feel’ your character’s fear and that’s the sort of sound that deserves merit. The voice acting, on the other hand, is shitty. It’s not great and it’s not too bad – it’s just shitty. It’s a good thing that the narrative for Outlast II does not exactly rely on conversations because this game would probably tank if that was the case.
What is great, however, are the sounds of the various hunters in the game. We’ll get to I call them ‘hunters’ instead of enemies later. Anyway, you will sometimes hear people praying an unknown ‘biblical verse’ to an unknown God. I think the production team did a good job with how they portray the hunters as religious zealots and the fear that the player can experience when they run into one is an experience I will not forget soon.
Gameplay and Controls
The controls are very similar to any FPS game that you may have played. It’s very traditional with little to no changes from the original Outlast game and anyone who has ever played on a PC before will get their groove after a few minutes of trying things out. Everything is very intuitive and the controls are great, but character movement is not.
Unlike Resident Evil, you are controlling a civilian who has not had any formal training whatsoever. You can run, but your hunters are faster than you. You can’t fight back and you shouldn’t even think about fighting back at all. You rely on stealth and if that’s not Metal Gear enough for you, your ‘flashlight’ runs out of batteries after a few minutes of usage.
Worth noting is that the game is significantly more violent than Outlast and it also has some sexual content isn’t really what you are expecting. Truth be told, I was intrigued when I saw the warning when the game was starting out but like I said, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I won’t say anymore and I’ll let you see that scene for yourself.
Moving forward, the games style of Outlast II is pretty much the same as the original Outlast. You have a camera which doubles as night-vision goggles which you have to keep ‘healthy’ by finding batteries scattered around the map. You are in a foreign place and you are helpless and surrounded. See, you don’t have enemies in the game because having an enemy implies that you can fight back. Instead, what you have are hunters and boy they are hungry for your camera booty.
What Makes Outlast II Great
Based on everything that I have said, Outlast II is basically Outlast but better. The atmosphere is eerie and the sounds are disturbing. The lore is more messed up than in the original game and the scares aren’t that predictable when compared to other horror games. It’s so good that I am officially scared to even try another playthrough. It’s that messed up.
Anyway, what makes this game more hated (therefore ‘good’) for me are the implications of the actions of the main ‘antagonist’. He does what he wants with his ‘cult’ and nothing really good happens to the people who believe in him.
Outlast II could be said to be trying to be edgy by involving sexual violence as well as over the top violence and scare tactics in the game but what makes it great is the things that you can’t see. Everything is worse when it is left to the individual’s imagination which is what Konami did with the infamous ‘Paz Tapes’ from Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
Outlast II is a great horror game and is pretty much an improvement over the previous entry and you should definitely play it if you can afford it. If not, save up and wait for a discount. This game is worth it.