Outlast Leaves You Alone In The Dark And Defenseless
I love horror and unfortunately as a console gamer I tend to miss out on the good titles as they mainly release on PC. Outlast is an upcoming indie horror title releasing on PC but also on the PS4. The general consensus from people who have played the demo has been generally favorable so here is what we know about the game so far:
Genre: Survival Horror
Platforms: PC, PS4
Developers: Red Barrels
Release Date: September 4 2013 (PC Release)
Red Barrel is a developer based in Montreal made up of ex-staff from Ubisoft and Naughty Dog. The developer’s main goal is creating unforgettable single-player games and Outlast is their first attempt at doing that. For me there is a constant element of fear if a horror title is based on true events as there is always that reminder that it did happen in real life and this game is no exception.
The back-story of Outlast is inspired by the real life events of Project MKUltra. I know it sounds like the type of project where wanna-be rappers go to be ultra-cool but it’s not. Project MKUltra was a CIA experiment that began in the 1950’s where unknowing test subjects were subjected to drug, verbal and sexual abuse. They were even made to endure sensory deprivation among other things so as to alter their mental state and brain functions.
Outlast is centered on an asylum set in the forests of Mount Massive in Colorado. This asylum was used by the CIA to front the Project MKUltra experiments. The asylum is shutdown but is later re-opened by a private corporation, enter our main character Miles Upshur. Miles is following up on a mysterious tip that leads to him breaking into an asylum to investigate the experiments that are conducted on the patients. There is already something wrong with that picture because normally people break out of and not into asylums and I think our dear Miles will soon regret that decision if the gameplay videos are anything to go by.
Outlast is a first-person stealth game that does not involve any form of combat. You can’t even arm your character with a spoon. All you can do is run and hide; yes you have a hide button at your disposal. Hiding is key when spotted by whatever it is that roams the halls of the asylum as you will have to run and hide to evade it, you cannot engage in any form of combat. So being a coward is something that is embraced and encouraged by the game.
You experience this game through Miles’ camera view as he uses it to record the investigation as well as use the night vision feature when in dark places. Since there are no weapons at your disposal the only thing that you will find scattered around the asylum for your inventory are AA batteries for the camera’s night vision. You can creep around as well as peek through corners as a way to avoid detection. In moments of tension or when Miles is frightened you can hear his accelerated breathing as well as shots by the camera of his shaking hands and legs which adds to the scary atmosphere.
The game is powered by the Unreal Engine which makes it not ugly to look at. The asylum is grey and dark with lots of shadows and flickering lights with blood stained hallways that visually lend to the horror factor.
Suspected Selling Points:
- As a downloadable title the game is affordable.
- The involvement of former Naughty Dog employees might attract some of the PS4 gamers.
- The elimination of combat might lend itself to a unique and more tense experience and appeal to fans of the survival horror genre.
- The frantic nature of perpetually running and hiding may cause players to miss story points or lose out on fully experiencing the asylum’s atmosphere.
- The no combat feature could be frustrating when you run into a dead end and can’t hide.
I’m still undecided about this game but it has peaked my interest enough for it to be on my to-download list when it’s released on PS4, after I’ve raised money to buy the console through nefarious means. It definitely looks good as a survival horror title and will appeal to fans of the genre.