Outlast II: Review

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I can say with confidence that no other horror game has fucked me up as much as Outlast II did.

Outlast II isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s relentless scares, brutal death animations, unforgiving enemy designs, and the provocative but very real and personal meditations on Religion are an anxiety-inducing but very personal experience.  Outlast II suffers from pacing and some problems with navigation, which makes me wish for a minimap of sorts but that doesn’t really affect the game. The flight mechanic and the overall game experience had a sense of dread and personal reflection throughout for me at least personally, the ending had stayed with me for weeks even now I’m still thinking about it.

Outlast II benefits from ditching most tropes that most horror games do and replacing it with Southwestern Horror and takes us to the  Sonoran Desert, where Blake is looking for his wife Lynn after crash landing in the Supai Region, let’s be clear that Outlast II isn’t deep south horror like Resident Evil 7 is; Supai is untamed cornfields, rows of shacks, and gory remnants.

Outlast II is more open than the original, which adds to a more authentic and personal  horror experience. With more hiding mechanics, it is more easier to hide from enemies but it’s harder for you to see them. Red Barrels have created a world where linearity exists but it’s deceptive and where you escape each time is due to to the world building.

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Much of this comes down to the way how the world looks and the usage of lightning, you’re armed with your camcorder and the camcorder’s built in reliable night vision to make your way through the dark, and because you spend most of your time in the dark and being chased, you have to relay on the most basic visual signs and landmarks to stay on the right path like certain buildings, road paths, lamp-posts, and flickering lights to mark your way.

The game is filled to the brim with environmental story-telling, body parts and bloody handprints that worked to keep me on edge and the uneasy feeling. If the over-the-top horror and the overall story pushes the game then the catholic religion themes push the game to the masterpiece level. As it turns out, the religion theme makes the game more personal. While religion and the corruption of said religion is a major theme and what ultimately is the glue of the game, the game doesn’t make any assumptions or accusations and it doesn’t attempt to change your mind. The message hit me hard as a former person of faith, now a Atheist and now that is why I believe that Outlast II is a masterpiece of a game.

In the end, Outlast II is a masterpiece of a game. It invokes feelings and brings up memories that you’ve probably forgotten as you moved on from Sunday School, so few games does what Outlast II does. This is one of the games that I recommend to you all, it’s more than just a horror videogame, it’s something special and unique. Outlast II is the reason why I believe videogames can become more then just what they are, they are artwork.

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