Outlast II is a game that fucks me up, no other horror game has done that to me and this is the first game to do so. Horror is my number two favorite genre, I devote alot of my time to playing scary games and I love getting scared, it’s an emotion that is quite unique when it comes to humans.
Outlast II is pushing me further than most entries in the genre, I find alot of my time screaming in front of my PC, closing my eyes, and taking my shirt and covering my eyes with it when I feel something isn’t quite right. Several times, I have to take breaks and relax, at point going outside and grabbing McDonalds to clear my head, the game is very scary to me.
For some of you, that might mean it’s a terrible game but it’s not like that at all. In fact, it’s a complete success and very unique take on the Horror genre that somehow manages to affect me more than most games do. Call it sadistic if you like, but Outlast II’s goal to make me feel scared and tense in a personal way is working.
Outlast II has no ties to the original game, albeit being set in the same world and universe and no knowledge of the original game is required. You take on the role of Blake who works alongside his wife, Lynn who is a journalist and is required to investigate a story of a woman that is brutally murdered. As soon as the game starts, you are separated from your wife and you must go on the hunt to find her and going deeper and deeper into the depths of the Arizona desert, only to discover a religious cult who is preparing for the end times.
The occultists won’t make it easy as in the original game, Outlast II is a true horror game, in that you have no weapons and no way to fight back. When you run from an enemy, you must dodge his line of sight and hide either in several places like lockers, water, and under desks or a combination of all three or two.
The A.I like in the original game are dumb, but not dumb as bricks and the encounter design is quite inconsistent although not terrible but it kind of breaks the tension when you mess up for the fifth time because you went the wrong way or the enemy caught up to you in less than .5 seconds or you die by cheap means. Outlast II feels good when it’s at it’s best like: A mix of running away and exploring to get more of the story. These are the moments that the game gets tense and spooky.
I found myself less spooked out when I died by cheap means or the enemy caught up to me in less than .5 seconds and instantly killing me, or you have to find an exit or a solution to a simple puzzle, but also need to avoid enemy patrols. Outlast 2 isn’t a strong game when it comes to A.I or stealth mechanics ( despite having some really cool stealth mechanics like hiding in water.)
I died way too much during these segments, either by cheap deaths or my own bullshit like accidentally running into an enemy. At these times, it feels like you’re fighting against Red Barrel’s whims and mistakes rather than a cult that’s out to kill outsiders.
The game itself is incredibly detailed, in 4K resolution Outlast II shines and you can see down to every single detail like a cup or how the moonlight shines on a lake and they are full with storytelling like corpses or body parts scattered adding to the tension and the overall feeling of being watched.
If the over-the-top horror and the theme of the occult pushes Outlast II further, the Catholic School sequences are the ones that push Outlast II beyond the great game format and into borderline masterpiece. The creepiness of the Catholic School segments really kind of push you into the feeling of unease and creepiness, especially to someone like me who went to Catholic School and to Church every Sunday when I was younger and it becomes something more personal and in that regard, it pushes the game further than any other horror game that I’ve played.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but Outlast II is worth your time and effort. It’s a game that makes me feel like utter garbage and has the singular effort to push that and bring up those memories, that alone is the reason why you need to play Outlast II. It makes you feel something and makes you flashback to earlier parts of your life, make sure to stay tuned for my review.