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I Finally Outlasted Outlast


EyeQueue

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Part of my love of All Things Horror (the origins of which I'll probably make a post about soon) includes the horror genre of video games. Like many others, I love to be scared--albeit in a safe, controlled environment. And video games nicely fit these requirements, since I control the dosage and can basically say, "I'm out" whenever I want to (no safety word required...but more about that in another post).

I just finished: [Sorry...I need to figure out the re-sizing issues for future posts.]

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And believe me, I "I'm out"-ed many, many times during this experience! *shiver*

Released in 2013 (so, yeah...I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I do a lot of adulting, so there's that), Outlast is a survival horror game where you take on the persona of Miles Upshur. He's an investigative reporter who has been tipped off by an inside source that there are all kinds of illegal shenanigans going on inside Mount Massive Asylum, a psychiatric hospital located way out in the boonies of Colorado.

Armed with only your video camera, you guide Miles through the creepy, dilapidated hospital trying to find out what the Hell has happened in this place, and why there are so many disaggregated bodies lying around, and just what kind of supernatural disaster (or military-industrial complex cover-up) is the cause of all this carnage.

Oh, did I mention that very scary guys stalk you throughout your entire journey? One in particular is a huge, hulking brute who will basically tear you limb from limb if he catches you.

And you have no weapons. You only have the ability to run away and to vault over objects parkour-style as you flee in abject terror from the denizens of the asylum who--you discover through finding patient files and 'filming' scenes that then add insights into your 'notebook'--have been subjected by a private corporation to a nefarious project that involves Something Not Of This World.

Along with running, you can also squeeze through tight spaces to evade your pursuers, or hide under beds or in lockers a la Ripley from Alien. Check it out.

http://www.powerpyx.com/Screenshots/outlast/10.jpg

As you can imagine (if you're at all affected by this sort of genre/situation) this is utterly terrifying. The dude will walk away, and you'll wonder: "Is he still there? He's gone, right? I'm safe to come out now. I'm pretty sure he's gone." All the while, Miles (aka *you*) is heavy breathing in terror in the background, adding to the immersive experience.

The visuals are quite well-done, and the designers have succeeded in creating an atmosphere that contains an overall oppressively creepy and uncanny feel--qualities that I admire much more than any amount of jumpscares or gore. Don't get me wrong: There are a good number of jumpscares and gore here, but the game goes a bit beyond just that.

From time to time, you are plunged into pitch-black rooms, and the only way you can see is by activating the night vision feature on your video camera. The batteries run out quickly, though, so keep a weather eye out for extras along the way! The green-tinged visuals are similar to the feel of the Paranormal Activity series, or other recent found-footage films, which add to the immersive experience. There's also a great moment when you drop your camera and when you start using it again half the screen is cracked--a wonderful detail!

Here are a few screenshots that give you an idea of the interiors you skulk through (or sprint through in sheer adrenaline-fueled terror!).

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Flooded basement with a dilapidated, industrial-type feel.

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The use of light and darkness is quite masterful. There are interiors that feel claustrophobic, and then some spacious areas, like above, where anything can be lurking in the darkness beyond. Better use your night vision and zoom function to check things out before you charge into unlit areas.

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Your camera's night vision reveals someone lurking in the darkness. Is he a friend or foe? Some of the hospital's denizens can be neutral to your presence, or even help you along your way.

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Yeah....Nope!

Outlast took me quite awhile to get through (a couple of months). And this was because the designers were so successful in creating an immersive terrifying experience that really puts you right there in Miles' shaking shoes. My flight-or-flight responses kicked in so much that I could only take this game in small doses--15 minutes to about an hour here and there. This game, more so than any other, made me realize that I *really* don't like the feeling of being hunted in the dark in creepy surroundings--but, I'll do so in a controlled way on my terms.

But, hats off to the designers, because that is their job. Well done!

 

4 Comments


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Fluffypaws

Posted

Outlast is one of my favorite games. I believe that was the first game I played back to back. I absolutely LOVE that game. Amnesia is another that is really good. I can't wait to play Outlast 2

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EyeQueue

Posted

Outlast is one of my favorite games. I believe that was the first game I played back to back. I absolutely LOVE that game. Amnesia is another that is really good. I can't wait to play Outlast 2

I just started Whistleblower, and am looking forward to O2. I finished The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs last year. I hope they add more titles to that series, too.

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JillsFlowerHeadband

Posted

This looks interesting, actually. I'd never heard of it before but  I've played SCP: Containment Breach and enjoyed that... and from the graphics it looks like it has a similar feel to that. I'll have to give this a try in my *cough* spare time. 

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EyeQueue

Posted

This looks interesting, actually. I'd never heard of it before but  I've played SCP: Containment Breach and enjoyed that... and from the graphics it looks like it has a similar feel to that. I'll have to give this a try in my *cough* spare time. 

Oooooh. I've read reviews on that one, and the descriptions reminded me of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. I'll have to try it! Outlast is very, very good and had me jumping in my seat many times.

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