... and that is to really, really scare you. I have played a lot of horror games throughout my gaming lifetime. I've played Condemned, Amnesia, System Shock, FEAR etc yet I've never quite had an experience like the one that Outlast provides. Outlast sets a certain tone that genuinely shocks and terrifies you, you explore the game feeling completely unsettled and unnerved.
You are Miles Upshur, a freelance journalist, who receives an anonymous tip about Mount Massive Asylum. Upon his arrival he realizes that not everything is quite what it seems and makes many disturbing discoveries. Miles has no combat ability and relies on the use of his camcorder with night-vision capabilities to document the happenings within Mount Massive. This creates a similar tension to a previously mentioned game Amnesia, though you care less about Outlasts narrative and back-story because you so immersed into its worryingly captivating atmosphere.
This is what makes Outlast so good, its atmosphere and the way it sets a scene. From the moments where you know something bad is going to happen and to the moments where it catches you completely off guard; it does these moments perfectly. The opening hour defines this by throwing you into various situations. The opening gives you a brief run down of the games core mechanics, the ability to hide in lockers, slowly open and peek through doors, the beautiful usage of the night-vision camera that illuminates the room in such a way you feel like your there. This sets the scene and makes you think "God i can imagine what situation i might use THAT in.". Your then introduced to a number of jump-scares, nothing to threatening, but combined with the games classic use of, what i can only describe as: "DUN-DUN" music, these truly shock... i warn anyone who is using Turtlebeach headphones to be aware of these, as tears may follow. You are then thrown into the basement... the moment of the game which defines your Outlast experience, as it is filled with moments like these.
A strange priest who seems to be wandering the halls of the asylum decides to shut off the power, leaving it up to you to turn on the 3 power conduits and then turn on the overall power, these conduits are located in the basement... the perfect setting. You clamber down some stairs in the darkness, you can hear the sound of water dripping, footsteps coming from other areas of the asylum, along with other unsettling clangs and bumps and venture in to the depths of the basement.
It's dark, water is sloshing beneath your feet and everything seems abnormally quiet. You find the first conduit and power it on, the loud clanging of the machinery coming back to life is enough to make you feel even more uneasy. You turn around to see a man wielding what looks like a spiked bat slowly walking to the entrance and he spots you. The "DUN-DUN" chase music kicks in... you panic, you flail your arms in the air and realise you probably should run. You run in continued panic, as he shouts and curses at you, through corridors and open the first door you come to and jump inside the room. You slam the door shut behind you frantically search around the room for a potential hiding place... a locker! PERFECT! You clamber inside, shut off your camcorder which is starting to run out of battery and try to calm your nerves.
This was one of my first experiences in a game where i felt a genuine moment of fear and panic, being chased with no ability to fight and with no real sense of where i was. No game had ever made me feel this sense before, of course games had scared me but moments like this continued to happen in a section which, realistically, if i had a gun I would have been able to complete in the space of 5 minutes. Instead i had a camcorder and it took me nearly an hour to turn on 3-4 switches in what turned out to be quite a small area.
Outlasts setting and fantastic stealth to panic pacing works an absolute treat and delivers throughout the entire game.
My only bugbears with the game that made me rate it "8" was for the following reasons:
1. Game situations, regardless of there intensity, become quite a laborious task after a while.
2. Sometimes too much unnecessary gore and violence... not one room i went into didn't have a pile of intestines or organs randomly splattered all over the place, that included toilets and well everywhere really.
3. Due to its intensity, i could only play this game in short bursts, an hour/hour:30 was long enough without stressing me out too much.
Overall, has been the best horror title i have played in a long time. Beats Amnesia: Machine For Pigs personally by miles.
You cant go wrong with this horror game.