Genres: Horror, thriller, suspense
Outlast is a horror game wherein players play Miles Upshur, the man left behind in an abandoned insane asylum. It is the player’s responsibility to start sorting out what has happened, and how to best keep Miles alive, before it’s too late. The premise, as with all horrors, is simple: something’s out there, it’s trying to kill the player, and if they want to survive they have to find something to do about it.
The game is extremely dark in its initial opening scenes, having players frightened before they even get the chance to take control. With its emphasis on the horror genre, Outlast is full of guts, gore, and glory.
That being said, it doesn’t really seem to give players enough control. Most of the game involves watching things happen rather than making them happen, with very little choice or control – or surprise. Though initially frightening, Outlast unfortunately quickly wears out this fearful gore with a mix of control and routine, making the gore so normal that after a little bit players just acclimate and move forward (no more fear in a horror game…).
The puzzles themselves that the players have to endure are difficult, but again the game basically guides players step by step throughout the asylum, even having a specific order that the steps of the puzzles have to be completed in for survival.
All in all, though challenging, Outlast doesn’t really live up to the initial suspense it tries to create. It normalizes gore and keeps players essentially moving through the asylum with only puzzles in their way (no intrigue, no real fear, etc). Not the best, but not the worst.