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The Attic: ‘Outlast 2’ Game Review

Outlast 2 review

Welcome to The Attic, you better start praying… that every freaking thing stops chasing you.

After Outlast 2 was pushed beyond the “Fall 2016” placeholder, I put it out of my mind for the time being. Fast forward to the end of April, and I know I wasn’t the only one that was shocked to learn the game had been released without hearing about it beforehand. I follow many gamers and gaming pages both on Facebook and Twitter, and I never once heard a mention of a date being set for this year.

Outlast was met with many positive reviews opon its release in 2013. Critics and consumers alike were raving about this terrifying experience in an old asylum. Not only was it very well made, but it was a new IP. It exceeded my expectations and remains one of my favorite horror games I have ever played. Why, then, did Outlast 2 come in with a whisper? Lowered expectations and less hype is always a good thing, in my opinion. But for someone who has kept an eye on a game for so long to not even hear that it is coming out was very surprising. Your guess is as good as mine why this was the case. Regardless, I rushed out to buy the new Trinity Pack (which includes Outlast, its DLC Whistleblower, and Outlast 2) and sat down to play as soon as I could.

Outlast 2 review

Atmosphere: that is the biggest strength in Outlast 2. This game takes place largely at night, and that certainly aids to the horror vibe, but it’s so much more than that. Lush, sprawling cornfields, old shacks, and thick woods make up for a fantastic setting. I can’t even describe how nervous I felt when I had to hide in the cornfields. You can barely see anything and the fact that you can’t just hide under a bed or desk is so unnerving. I found myself looking over my own shoulder because the inability to back defensively into a corner was really scary.

Outlast 2 review

Another thing I absolutely loved was when we got to explore the school. I’m sure I’ve said this before but few things are as unnerving as being in a school alone. It’s like being in an amusement park alone at night; what should be a loud and happy place is terrifyingly unusual when it sits empty and quiet. Those were my favorite parts of the game for the most part, and I wish we had spent even more time in there.

While we’re on things I loved, can we talk about the rain?

"The Rain"

The instant I appeared in that small room and saw a red glow outside I knew something creepy was going on. But I had no idea what I was about to be met with. As I stepped outside and looked up in complete and total awe, blood fell down from the heavens in the most terrifying rain you can imagine. It was raining blood. Stopping in my tracks, I just watched as it splashed down around me. I was almost giddy when I saw it collecting on my character’s arms. Pausing the game to run to Twitter, I stated there that this was going to be one of the most memorable scenes in a horror game I’ve ever played. I fully believe that will always be the case. It was phenomenal to see, and one of the most chilling things I’ve ever experienced in a game.
Outlast 2 review blood rain

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While running around in the dark is a common and often enjoyable experience, Outlast 2 was too dark. It led to a lot of frustration when you’re trying to find your way. Even increasing your brightness level won’t help very much. I’m sure many will argue this helped the fear factor, but at a certain point it just gets annoying. Alas, this is a small gripe on its own. But in conjunction with my next, and biggest, problem with the game, it’s huge…

Outlast 2 review

So. Much. Chasing. If I never play a chase sequence again it’ll be too soon. Yes, they are a common, and often effective, tactic to throw in a horror game. However, when you feel like 80% of the game is spent running, you’ve gone too far. It’s really difficult to enjoy a beautifully creepy scenario when it’s flying by you. I’d like to feel immersed in the moment. Let me sit in awe of the beautiful moon or marvel at the corn stalks rustling. Or better yet, stop and listen to the crazy lady singing in the distance and wonder if she’s going to hunt me down or not. Let me see the burning cross and really let it sink in that this is a dark and twisted setting.

Nothing ruins the experience, setting, and atmosphere of a horror game like something constantly chasing you here and there. Add in that it’s too dark to see half of the time, and you’ll be rolling your eyes in frustration like I was. Near the end of the game I felt myself just wanting to finish it as quickly as possible because I was tired of the aggravation.

Outlast 2 review

Get used to creepy singing…

It’s a real shame to just want to “finish it already” when the game had a lot going for it. In fact, while I still prefer the first of the two, the setting and plot were better in this one. An overtly “religious” backdrop in a horror game is incredibly disturbing. Seeing bodies being burned on a cross really puts me on edge. I loved the isolated feeling you get in this game as you explore the canyons and valleys. It actually made me stop and think, how the hell would I handle this situation with no one around to help?

Outlast 2 was also confusing as hell. There were too many different things going on and not enough explanation of what was real and what wasn’t. They basically hid a very (SPOILERS) vital note that explains a lot of what is going on. It also really draws a direct line between the two games, so I don’t understand why they’d make that so difficult to find. The ending left me with a lot of questions, though. And I’d like to list some of the bigger ones, so click to read the following only if you’ve played the game and/or are ok with spoiling it!

SPOILERS

The ending left me scratching my head and asking a million questions. I don’t mind when a horror game decides to leave some up for debate, but I felt like the whole game I had experienced came into question. How much of the game was real? Was Lynn actually pregnant? Did she even survive the crash? Surely they weren’t trying to actually say the world ended in this game, so what was that flash?

We know something wasn’t right when Lynn said “there’s nothing there” right after she gave birth. What did she mean? Was she trying to get you to see that there wasn’t a baby at all? What was with those bright flashes? Well, if we see that hidden note then it seems like the locals were being brainwashed somehow and going insane due to that. How did all of this tie into this childhood experience of his friend Jessica being abused and potentially murdered?

Outlast 2 review

Are these flashes to blame for the insanity?

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As you can see I have questions, and many more after these. It is incredibly frustrating when games leave you more confused than satisfied. When you combine this with constantly being forced to run from everything it really took away from what could have been a fantastic experience. I don’t hate Outlast 2, but I didn’t love it, and the first game is still way better, in my opinion.

Stay scared,
Dark Princess

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