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Outlast is a first person survival horror developed and published by Red Barrels released originally on PC and now on PS4. The game is set in Mount Massive Asylum which is psychiatric hospital for the insane. You play as Mike Upshur, a freelance journalist. He can't fight enemies, and is armed only with a video camera which fortunately offers night vision. Mike is looking for his big break and has received a anonymous tip about this mysterious Asylum which is owned by the Murkoff Corporation. As soon as you enter the Asylum you get a small treat of the hell you're about to witness; lights turn off in the rooms, bodies of the tortured staff start dangling around, before you suddenly run into a SWAT member with a pole through his neck telling you to escape while you still can. But before getting the chance to retrace your steps and look for an exit you get attacked and thrown down to the lobby where you meet Father Martin, who believes he is the priest of the Asylum and that you are sent from God.
After some searching and escaping enemies you find the security room where the power is down, you then must go to the basement to switch the power back on. You have to run, hide or die in order to turn the switches back on so you can access the security room to open the doors to your freedom. You finally escape the basement, after turning on all the switches you go back to the security room only to be injected with a needle from Martin. He says you can't leave until you witness all the events that the Asylum has to offer and shows you a video of the Asylum's security officers being slaughtered by a supernatural entity, before you pass out and wake up in the holding cells.
Exploring the holding cells is a creepy and scary objective, especially since you don't know which inmate will turn around and decide to slaughter you. You eventually have to move on through the dark sewers full of enemies, where there is blood running through the streams instead of water... You end back at the showers near the holding cells where you get ambushed by inmates and as you run for your life you are saved by the freakiest, scariest doctor in history, who then tricks you and puts you into a wheelchair where he shows you the exit but turns you around bringing you to a dark toilet where there's broken tiles and blood, then in-shape tiles. The doctor then cuts of two of your fingers before leaving and you break your hands loose and start a while goose chase with the doctor.
The goose chase finally ends as you escape through the elevator which then gets stuck because the doctor gets trapped between levels. You find Father Martin who plays Wheres Wally through the grass area, where the only light you see is from the thunder, and after escaping Chris from earlier you see the supernatural entity fly past you before you end up at the Female Ward where you have to follow the trail of blood to find Father Martin, where you find even more dark, twisted secrets about what was going on in this Aslyum. The story is a great mystery which slowly gets unwrapped and, most importantly, scares the living shit out of you. The ending is great and shocking, leaving you wanting to know more about what you had just discovered. With some great dark orchestral music from time to time to build suspense and make you shake as you run or sneak through these amazingly-done creepy levels running at 60FPS, showing off some of the most scariest and freakiest level designs in history of gaming. Although the game tends to repeat a lot of the objectives, which can get a bit "ohh, come on" some new different types of missions would be cool apart from sneaking/running past enemies and turning on valves, but it is a survival horror and I can't think of anything they could add new mission-wise.
The game's mechanics are really the reason why Outlast actually scares you so well throughout. Since you cannot fight any enemies apart from a couple of sections where the game does it for you, it gives you a great sense of fright because, when an enemy sees you, all you can do is run for your life and hope it doesn't catch you while you your heart pounds quickly and your controller shakes. A excellent mechanic is the realism [for the most part] used throughout the game. When enemies start to come closer you start breathing heavily, and all you can see is through your own two eyes, also how the game doesn't give you any help and doesn't hold your hand once... apart from when holding down to the touch-pad it gives you an objective.
Since you have no weapons, all you have is a video camera, and it controls very well. The video camera helps as it has night vision mode and since every level is mysteriously dark it will help you evade death for another minute. But the camera's batteries drain quicker with night vision on and you have to scout around for batteries or you'll be guessing where to go in complete darkness. You don't talk throughout the game, but you write notes down on your thoughts when you are recording several things with your camera which you can read along with the many documents you can find scattered throughout the campaign. Another great mechanic are the ways you open doors, you can open them up quietly or quickly, which is great for either sneaking or escaping. It's either run, hide or die in this game, and the mechanics truly help the horror experience.
The campaign isn't that long though, it takes around 5 hours to finish, maybe around 7 if you're exploring every little corner or if you want to completely stealth the whole way through. The game includes an insane difficulty, which is finishing the whole game without dying; which can prove to be a great challenge for some or even scarier for most people. Apart from Insane mode and collectibles, unfortunately there isn't too much re-playability left, which is fine because the game released for only $18.
Outlast is masterpiece at scaring you, and not just with jump scares; it's the way you take control of the player and have to go through all kind of crazy, creepy shit to discover the truth and live to tell the tale. The game's freaky level design and lack of weapons to fight for yourself will make you check your back everytime you move a few steps. It tells a wicked, shocking and mainly screwed up story which will leave you with questions. It defines the genre well and only suffers from lack of mission variety and replayability.