Let’s get this out of the way: Outlast II is horrible. It’s a terrifying piece of work that’s going to shake you, make you scream, and leave you with nightmares. But if you like the adrenaline rush that comes from fear and anxiety, Outlast II delivers all that survival horror fans will enjoy and more, as it builds upon the foundations of what made its predecessor memorable.
Like many survival horror greats, Outlast II casts you in the shoes of an ordinary Joe, in this case – Blake Langermann, a cameraman searching for his missing wife (typical) after their helicopter crash-landed in the Arizona desert. From the get-go, it’s immediately obvious that something is wrong, and Blake’s discovery of a town nearby only leads players down a path of terror at the hands of overly religious zealots.
With a setting that is as Southern as it gets, players will be able to explore a larger, more open world that is unlike the cramped, claustrophobic asylum of Outlast. From expansive cornfields to dilapidated buildings, the unsettling environments are packed with incredibly rich detail that is only matched by a tense, nerve-jangling music score. Sound plays the biggest role in dialing up the sense of foreboding – breathing life into the locales, while keeping gamers on edge. And players will be constantly on their toes, as Outlast retains its combat-less gameplay mechanics. Running and hiding is the only way to stay alive, while the handheld camera provides access to nightvision and other strappings, including a new zoom microphone function, which helps greatly when you need to listen for the crazies through paper-thin walls. These fancy features are welcomed comforts, but they also consume a lot of battery, making the search for replacement batteries an exercise in resource management.
Tension also comes from some of the game’s frantic run sequences that will have players sprinting across linear portions to get away from monsters and madmen. While intense, these sequences can be all too frustrating when gamers end up dying over and over again, so much so that it becomes more tedious than frightening. Otherwise, these sections help break the ennui of stealth that players will be accustomed to over the course of the game.
Without giving away too much, however, Outlast plays like the bad dreams you get when you’re not feeling well. With some of the most grotesque, disturbing scenes and scenery to ever grace a video game, fans of the original and survival horror junkies will certainly find a lot to love about the sequel. A word of warning though: always have a fresh pair of pants nearby.
CONCLUSION Fans of the original and horror junkies will love this terrifying sequel.
The inventory system resembles 2008’s Alone in the Dark reboot.