Outlast PS4 Review
At a Glance -
Outlast. One of the most anticipated survival-horror games in 2013 worked its way over to the PS4 on 5th February 2014, free for Playstation Plus account holders. This game was created, and developed by the Red Barrels, a group of gaming industry veterans, who have worked for the likes of Ubisoft, Microsoft and EA. They have worked on the amazing creations of Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, Watchdogs and Splinter Cell. All of their genius minds came together, to form the heart smashing, living nightmare of Outlast.
You start out as a reporter named “Miles Upshur”, who has been given a tip off from a complete stranger, to take a trip to “Mount Massive Asylum”, located within the hills of Colorado, to investigate the gruesome allegations, of what is happening to many mental patients that lie within, under the ruthless “Murkoff Industries”. It is quite literally a Madhouse. As a reporter, you only have a notepad, pen and a night vision camera, which is your main equipment. You slowly work your way into the upcoming roller-coaster ride of Mount Massive, defenceless and helpless. You cannot hit enemies, you have no weapons, all you can do, is run, hoping to get rid of your pursuer, before it’s too late. Along the way, you collect folders, batteries for your camera, and automatically make notes on what is happening. So fasten your seatbelt, and prepare for a completely unsettling, intense, mind bending but thrilling experience.
The overall presentation of the game is beautifully gruesome, and brings along the whole atmosphere of the game together, backed up with the fantastic sound scape, and diverse but yet dynamic lighting that has been cleverly crafted to keep you on edge. I was absolutely terrified of opening any doors, or exploring new surroundings, as I dreaded what may be lurking beyond the darkness. It was amazing to see the whole concept being brought to life, by bleak lighting, and the blood stained writing along the walls, normally read out loud, as in a quiet whisper, to get that sceptical eerie sensation. Little details are quite often unknown, as you leave behind a trail of footprints after stepping in a dark puddle of blood. This really does give the real impression, that Mount Massive is truly real. The detail of the characters that are inside the asylum is extraordinary, along with the grunting, and shouting of the creatures that haunt this place, literally makes you run for the hills, especially when you encounter the mad scientist: Dr Richard Trager – “Hey, hold up there buddy!”, who chases you round the asylum, with a huge scissor! To be honest, you will be too busy trying to figure a way out as soon as you can, and running like a mad man to notice any of these amazing features!
The introduction to the game is truly gripping, and really does set the scene as there are mangled bodies thrown along the pavement, blood-filled water fountains and crumbling walls of the mansion that lies in the distance. When you go along the Asylum, there are body parts in the most extraordinary of places: Heads on shelves, hands in toilets and intestines splatted along the hospital wards. As you head along through-out the game, you are met with challenges, puzzles, and a list of psychotic maniacs waiting for their kill. One of which, you will encounter early on in the game: Chris Walker. He is the hulking menace, who is your worst nightmare in this game. Throughout the game, you are completely and utterly powerless and defenceless, as you roam the halls, you never know what you may encounter. Your main tools to your survival is basically running, and hiding in anywhere possible, may that be toilets, a vent, underneath a bed, or in a locker, just hope that you don’t get found by the creatures that lie within the mansion, if you do, well then, better get your running shoes on! If you end up being found, Chris walker, the sinister beast, will separate your head apart from your body. Your real Guardian Angel is your camera, which has night-vision, and gives out a green light, to help navigate you through the darkness. This creates a huge grip on tension, and can become quite hard as you have to find batteries throughout the environment to help fuel your camera. If your camera does end up dying, it will begin to flash, and will lose power, so it will only stop emitting power. This can be a nightmare in a particularly dark area such as the basement, when the generator goes down, as my camera lost power, and it got that scary, I was forced to reload from my last save point, especially when you are not alone down there. Every door I peeked into, every ladder I managed to climb, I was always bracing myself for what eventually never came, and when I least expected something; there was always someone, or something there, ready to jump you out of your skin. You tend to come across a priest throughout the game, Father Martin. He was a patient, and he is your guide, until the end…. Along the way through the building, multiple times you will see shadows, especially in the sewers, and outside… This is the sign that the “Walrider”, or known to Dr Wernicke as “Billy” is around, he will make his actual appearance towards the very end. The Walrider is a swarm of “nanites” which are small machines who possess great strength and power, took possession of William Hope, as you will discover as you collect the documents and recordings. The ending was brilliantly dramatic, as you become “The Host”.
There are only things I would say lets the game down, is the fact that you are completely defenceless, so it’s not like you can smack these monsters with a pipe, or bring them down. If you get trapped in the corner, you may as well be prepared to die, you are completely helpless, and this is the worst situation to end up in. So because of this, instead of being terrified, most of the time you will end up becoming frustrated that you can’t get past that particular section.
This game was truly gripping, and everything was brought together well. Outlast can stand tall as one of the best Horror Survival games I have ever played. As long as you can look past the annoying features of no defence, this game is brilliant. If you love Horror, gore, twisted mind-sets and are up for a challenge, this game is definitely the one for you! Let’s hope the “Whistleblower DLC” is just as good and gripping as the original game!
See you in the Asylum.
Reviewed By Michael Hughes
Stay with the Order A Game Blog for more on Outlast.