Outlast 2 Xbox One Review

Fear is an understatement.

By TAYLOS, Posted 25 Apr 2017

Outlast 2 is not a game that’s meant to be played in the dark. Seriously, the game is not for squeamish or for those that are easily frightened. Everything in this game will make you look once and think twice. If it isn’t the soulless cult-like crazies that get you, the demonic entities and macabre images will. The thing that was so pleasing about Outlast 2 was no matter how much you tried to prepare, the game will always switch it up and scare the crap out of you, which leads me to the best advice I can give any fellow gamer when playing this game, "don’t look back, just run..."

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Fans of the survival-horror genre will love this game simply because it sticks to a formula. Developer Red Barrels really went to town on his game and I’ll have to say, not only is it scary, but the game looks and runs pretty damn good. You don’t get much time to think about what you've just experienced until the game's over and once you reach the end, well… you’ll see.

This game is very much about surviving and it takes away the biggest safety blanket that most gamers hold near and dear to them, weapons. It’s human instinct to defend yourself but, what happens when you can’t fight back? Every element of the game is meant to invoke fear and anxiety, taking upon your biggest uncertainties and forcing you to think on your toes. With palms sweaty, you'll get that heart-pounding “fight-or-flight” feeling and suddenly the music changes, that's usually a sign that something ominous is heading your way.

For those that played the first Outlast will quickly notice that the sequel has improved on every front ranging from enchanced aural sound, the lighting effects and even the character face mapping. The game also abandons the confines of being trapped in a claustrophobic insane asylum and now focuses on being lost in the vastness of the desert, where you truly are alone, or are you?

Players will step into the shoes of protagonist Blake who is helping his wife Lynn investigate strange happenings in Arizona’s Supai region. While traveling with Lynn, your helicopter suddenly loses power and crashes. Once you come to, Blake quickly discovers that his wife and pilot have gone missing. Surrounded by old dusty shacks, barns, defiled Christian markings, it immediately sets the tone for what you’re in for. One can’t help but notice instantly that the game’s surroundings and enemies remind you of the villagers or cultists in Resident Evil 4.

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I had a few issues trying to get the hang of the buttons and controls, given that there wasn’t much for a tutorial and there’s no button schematics built into the game. At times, I found myself on my phone having to revert to google before I got it down right. An interesting new element added to the game is allowing you to hit the view/select button and look down at your jacket pockets, allowing you to see how many batteries, bandages and access any recorded footage you have, on the fly.  

I’ll say this much, after playing Outlast 2, you’ll never underestimate the power of a camcorder again. This is easily the most important tool (weapon?) at your disposal. Nevertheless, how you use it and the night vision can determine the outcome of a few things; simply being able to see where the hell you’re going and two, trying find a place to hide while being chased.

There’s nothing more satisfying, frightening and fun about balancing the comfort of being able to see vs conserving battery life, forcing you to rely on lamp posts, fires and the moon’s light to guide your path. For those that play the game on higher difficulty levels, you’ll discover there are less resources, so batteries do become somewhat worth their weight in gold.

The graphics in Outlast 2 are pretty solid. The video camera does most of the work adding a grainy and unfiltered look. You can tell right away that the developers spent some quality time on graphics and at certain points in the game, you'll become so mesmerized that you're actually playing a video game and not watching a movie. It's pleasantly unnerving to experience.

It seems now days in every survival-horror game, developers tend to borrow elements from each other and that’s never a bad thing. One thing that I’ve always seemed to enjoy and appreciate is collecting clues and solving puzzles. From something as simple as locating a key to unlock a door or coming across biblical passage written somewhere in the game will force you to question everything, but don’t stick around too long. The game has a beautiful blend of tranquility and insanity, so it’s best to remember that you collect what you need and get moving or else you’ll have a crazed psycho on your tail.

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With all things in life, there’s also death. Hate to break it to you, but you’ll be doing a lot of dying in this game unless you learn how to adapt to your surroundings and get clever. There are a lot of elements in your surroundings to help keep you going, but you've got to be fast and smart. As mentioned before, you have no weapons, remember? RUN AND HIDE! I cannot stress enough that some of the enemies that you'll encounter in the game are just downright scary as hell and unrelenting. The AI in Outlast 2 is some of the best I’ve seen in a survival horror game. There will be times that you’ll be praying that the enemies don’t find you and your instinctive gaming brain says, "they’re too dumb to find me." Nope. Unless you stay steps ahead, there is no chance of survival, which leads to one thing that baffled me, "Why did the developers include healing bandages?" For example: if your enemy is close enough to you where they can strike you, you'll become staggered. Once hit, you slow down and the chances of surviving the encounter at that point are pretty much slim to none.

Outlast 2 has pretty badass enemies that will waste no time killing you. One in particular you’ll encounter at the beginning can only be described as the girl from the Rings movie who also wields a wooden crucifix that she conveniently uses as a pickaxe and when she spots you, you'd better have your Nikes on because she'll come running. Nuff said there.

Red Barrels does a great job at exploiting people’s fear of the unknown. Some of the things you’ll encounter aren’t always enemies, but flashbacks of Blake’s childhood memories when he attended Catholic school. One of the flashbacks in the game pays homage to a famous 1980s horror film to which movie buffs will instantly recognize, but we'll let you guess.

During this section of the storyline, you’ll traverse through Blake’s memories and the hallways of his childhood school, but despite the game slowing down in pace is when the game starts to build up. You will attempt to piece parts of your memory together that will allow you to gain enough insight as to what the hell is going on and what happened to your wife. Outlast 2 teeters on the edge of uncomfortable enjoyment and some things will make you laugh in disbelief. The enemies are somewhat cheap and will force you to use your brain matter, if you have any left near the end of the game.

Outlast 2 is a sequel that I’ve been waiting on for a long time. When the first Outlast was released on PC, I didn't own a powerful enough rig to play the game. I can remember saying to myself, "they would be fools not to release this on Xbox or PlayStation." It seemed almost immediately after, prayers were answered and Red Barrels announced that they were releasing the game on consoles in 2013.

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As fun as it was to play this game, it didn’t come without a few annoying elements here and there. Darkness in the game acts as its own entity and often times will frustrate the hell out of you, but the urge to dredge on will captivate you. The storyline is very creative and will keep you interested to the very end. To truly immerse yourself in the game, play it late at night in complete darkness. If you have surround sound, turn it up, I dare you.

Tao Dawkins, Noobfeed
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General Information

Outlast 2

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Red Barrel Studios
Developer(s): Red Barrel Studios
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: Cult Horror, Demonic
Release Date: 2017-04-25

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