Just recently I wrote about the release of Outlast 2‘s demo for PS4, XBO, and PC. A few hours after that article went live, my significant other and I set off to play it, hoping that the demo would give us some indication of whether Outlast 2 would be a worthy sequel. Well, all signs point to Outlast 2 not only being a worthy successor, but to being one of the most exciting horror games of 2017. Read on if you enjoy being beguiled by stories of jump scares and stains that’ll probably never wash out.
I mentioned somewhere before that I’m not usually an easy person to scare. I’ll play and finish a horror game with little to no physical reactions during the entire thing — other than the very occasional jump scare that makes me briefly suck in a skosh more oxygen than what’s physiologically required. What I do experience however is a real sense of dread at certain situations, characters, scenes, sounds, and the atmosphere created by it all. The chills I get from experiencing all those things is the reason I love playing horror games, and it’s the reason I thoroughly enjoyed Outlast 2‘s demo.
Before I go any further, I should mention that the demo isn’t all that lengthy. In fact, I’m pretty sure I finished it in about 20 minutes, and that’s being generous. But I feel that the (frustratingly short) demo lets players experience enough of what the game will have to offer when it launches next year to be worth the download.
We’re given a bit of backstory at the very start of the demo which introduces our protagonist and his motivations:
After that little inspirational message there’s some talk about a typical murder-mystery that you’ve decided to try to uncover, followed by some sort of crash (probably a plain, unless cars have altimeters now), then the demo officially gets underway.
Right off the bat, you’re greeted by graphics that look like a major leap forward from the first game. Much more impressive lighting and shadows, improved texture detail, and all in all just a much prettier-looking game. It’s almost on par with a couple of AAA games. Now, while I’m a big believer that gameplay and cleverly designed levels always trump graphics, there’s no denying that improved looks can add tremendously to the scare factor of a lot of horror titles. Outlast 2 is a shining example.
The change of setting to the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert is also a major plus in my opinion. The game seems to play as much outside as it does inside, and it feels better off for it. While claustrophobic, ghosted-up mental institutions will always have a certain charm, there’s nothing quite like being chased through a cornfield by religious crazies with a taste for human genitals (and other human parts, presumably).
Speaking of running, just as in the original Outlast, the second game seems to include a lot of it. In fact, there are many similarities between the two games. The controls are essentially identical, and you still use a camera to record all the beautiful gruesomeness. The camera still has a (really unsettling) night-vision mode that drains your battery faster than Pokemon Go, because of course it does, which means that once again you’ll find yourself frantically searching every room you come across for more juice.
Overall, Outlast 2 sticks mostly to the formula that worked remarkably well in the fist game. Run away from the scary things (religious cannibals and demonic tentacles in this case), hide in lockers, under beds, inside the massive pile of crap that’s been scared out of you, and try not to screech like a freshly birthed demon spawn when something grabs you (which it will). You know, all the good stuff.
Even though fans of the original game will undoubtedly feel familiar with most of the game’s mechanics, Outlast 2 should still feel refreshingly new. The short demo alone made me feel more uneasy with what was happening around me than what I felt during my entire playthrough of the first one. It’s creepy when it needs to be (which is all the time), it keeps you guessing, it’s a whole lot darker, and everything considered, the game is shaping up to be one of the best horror releases of 2017.
But we’ll find out whether I’m right when Outlast 2 launches early next year for PC, PS4, and XBO.
Here are a few bonus screenshots I was able to take while cowering in the corner.