Outlast - Xbox One

Release Date:

June 19, 2014

Also on:

Xbox One PC PS4

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.
7.9

Summary:

Outlast takes place in the remote mountains of Colorado, horrors wait inside Mount Massive Asylum. A long-abandoned home for the mentally ill, recently re-opened by the “research and charity” branch of the transnational Murkoff Corporation, the asylum has been operating in strict secrecy… until now. Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, independent journalist Miles Upshur breaks into the facility, and what he discovers walks a terrifying line between science and religion, nature and something else entirely. Once inside, his only hope of escape lies with the terrible truth at the heart of Mount Massive.

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Details

  • Developer(s):
    • Red Barrels
  • Publisher(s):
    • Red Barrels
  • Distributor(s):
    • Xbox One Store
  • Release Date(s):
    • June 19, 2014
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Mature
  • Player(s):
    • 1
  • Online Player(s):
    • N/A
  • Add-Ons:
    • Available

Technical Information

  • Required Disc Space:
    • 3.68GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Engine:
    • Unreal Engine 3.5
  • Game Format:
    • Digital Download
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 17 Hours
avatar name

Posted:
2015-07-18

Steven_Shaw

Writer

Xbox One

7.9

Outlast is a survival/horror game on the Xbox One developed by the crew over at Red Barrels. After reading reviews that said Outlast would scare you into growing hairs on your chest, we just had to pick it up. The survival and horror genres are pretty limited right now in the Xbox One library with Slender being one of the most widely played games, sadly. We didn’t feel too in love with Slender so we thought that this game would offer a bit more of a different take. Outlast was getting great critical reviews from other sources so we thought we’d give it a go and see what was up.

So the back cover tells us that we will be visiting Mount Massive Asylum as the journalist Miles Upshur. Apparently this asylum, which is located in the mountains of Colorado, is hope of horrors beyond our imagining. As a former home for the mentally ill, this re-opened asylum is being used for research by a creepy organization called the Murkoff Corporation. We, as Miles, are given a tip that something is going very wrong inside of the asylum and that we need to check it out immediately.

So the premise of the game itself isn’t terribly unique. In fact, we’d probably call it a bit trope heavy. We have the ambitious young 'do gooder' that wants to take out the evil corporation and in order to do that he has to head to some insanely creepy, definitely haunted, dangerous Mental Asylum. The setting itself is still spooky enough that the premise works, but we definitely wouldn’t have minded seeing a bit more of a unique wrinkle on at least the very basic premise. Anyway, that isn’t why we are here. We are here to get scared and try to survive in this crazy place, so let us continue.

Outlast on the Xbox One itself is not very unique, at least not in the way that it tries to present itself to you. Be prepared to experience just about every trope in the long and storied book of horror scares. You will encounter the jump scare, the child scare, the suddenly loud noise scare and so on, so forth. Once you catch on that the game is playing on your most basic fears, they are a little bit easier to understand - but still effective. One moment we had been walking through a door, our ears pricking up to listen for sounds, when a headless body swung into view. We nearly dropped our controller in surprise and fear. Heart racing we grinned and continued. That’s the kind of game that this is. You will frequently be very scared and you will enjoy the way that it scares you.

Taking a page out of Slender: The Arrival, Outlast puts you into the shoes of a character that cannot defend itself. In Slender all you could do was run in order to avoid being killed by Slenderman. The same is true of Outlast. You are a journalist and you are very alone in a very dangerous place. You don’t know how to fight. You don’t have any weapons. You don’t have any way to defend yourself from the very scary threats that will soon begin to pop up with regularity. So instead you have to carefully, cautiously, move forward through Mount Massive. Your lack of any defensive agency makes the game even scarier. Your goal is to simply be unnoticed as much as possible, ducking and dodging and sticking to the relative safety of the darkness. Once you die the first time you will begin to realize how quick and brutal your life can be ended. After that first death your experience is never the same again. You are more cautious and more ready to jump from your seat.

Outlast is a game of paranoia and it doesn’t take any sort of fancy graphical engine to play on that feeling. In fact, Outlast looks very average for an Xbox One game. The character models all look pretty good with their textures and movements, but much of what makes up Mount Massive is a little dull looking. We were startlingly reminded of the first Resident Evil in both layout and style.

In order to bank on that paranoia, the crew of developers decided to make darkness the default state of being. Darkness is deadly because it hides just what is out there. When you do run into darkness, and you will, you can switch to your camcorder with its infrared mode. Looking through this mode is almost scarier than watching the darkness. You will see your surroundings highlighted in shades of green, with red signifying anything with body heat. The battery pack in your camcorder can die out so you have to be careful how much you do it. You can find extra batteries littered throughout the Mansion, so be sure to collect them in order to fuel your camcorder. You don’t want to have to find these batteries in the dark, not when you might bump into something that bumps back.

Outlast plays heavily on the spook factor by cultivating a level of unease through some admittedly cheap factors. You could enter a door one minute only to turn around and see that it magically slams shut. Or you could see a door open at one point only to walk back and see that it is now closed. These same sort of subtle manipulations occur frequently as you travel through the mansion. Things are moving seemingly just out of your line of sight. You will almost always be tense while you are playing this game.

The biggest issue with Outlast is that it can only really be experienced once. Much like other survival/horror games, once you get past the jump scares there is surprisingly little left to relive. Outlast has a nifty little story, but most of your time will be spent jumping at your own shadow. It is a fun game the first time around and definitely worth a taste if you are a scream freak.

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By:

Red Barrels

Release Date:

June 19, 2014

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