Tech News on G4
Creepy ‘Outlast 2’ not for the faint of heart
May 1, 2017
By John Powell - G4 Canada
As a massive horror fan, I feel that I can comfortably admit this now. I am sick of zombies. Whether on the big screen or the little screen, I have had my fill.
I get it, producers and developers can get away with so much more because zombies aren’t technically human and therefore, like androids or robots, nobody cares if they get splattered but whether it is The Walking Dead (which technically hasn’t been about zombies for a few seasons) or various zombie modes, I would rather not see a shambling undead corpse on any of my screens any time soon unless the name George R. Romero is involved.
This is partly why I found Resident Evil 7: Biohazard to be such a breath of fresh air. Not only was it a departure from the Resident Evil formula but avoided all of those tired old zombie clichés. I can now say the same for Outlast 2. In the sequel to the surprise horror hit, Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist and cameraman, finds himself stuck between two warring cults.
Investigating the disappearance of a pregnant woman with his wife, things turn tragic for Blake and Lynn when their helicopter crashes in rural Arizona. With Lynn missing and the pilot crucified by unknown assailants, Blake, armed with only his video camera and his wits, must traverse the world of murderous and deranged cultists to rescue his wife and uncover the truth about the pregnant woman’s disappearance.
Although this sequel borrows many of the mechanics from the original, like the use of a video camera for sight and sometimes sound, developer Red Barrels has improved everything from the gameplay to the graphics and the sound. Things are much, much smoother in every way but what it comes down to is better balance. There is more of a balance between using the video camera and your regular sight. There is more of a balance between the AI’s alert status or their Spidey senses and your ability to sneak past them and hide. There is more of a balance between the stealth aspects and free movement.
As Blake though, you are still not permitted to attack your foes based on the fact that he is “not a fighter”, whatever that means. Like the original, your only weapons are your video camera, your intuition, your practical judgment and your environment. You need to know when to make a move and when not to, when to hide and when to run. In Outlast 2, it sometimes all boils down to timing, a little bit of luck and your experience as a gamer.
The plot, like the game itself, is not for the faint of heart. The cult led by "Papa" Sullivan Knoth believes that Lynn will give birth to great evil as their war with the Heretics become more and more violent. There are also elements of the story that concern abuse and rape. Although neither is portrayed in a sensationalistic or visceral manner, the subject matter and just the gory and creepy elements of the game itself are certainly not for everyone.
Outlast 2’s tone, setting and gameplay can really get under your skin but in a good way, if you are a horror fan. One of the most relentless scenes for me was hiding in a corn field at night while crazy cultists scoured the area for me. The tension in that one sequence was masterful.
My one and only gripe with the game was the true reason behind the cultist’s crazed behaviour. It seems so derivative and so unnecessary that it does take something away from the conclusion of the overall mystery. Leaving things as they were would have led to a far more convincing and authentic finale.
Whether on its own or part of the Outlast Trinity release (which contains the original Outlast, the Outlast Whistleblower DLC and Outlast 2 for just $49.99), Outlast 2 is one big unrelenting jump scare that will creep you out, gross you out and occasionally freak you out.
Rating: 8 / 10
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