Saturday, June 10, 2017

Game Review: Outlast 2

Outlast 1 is a brutal game that focuses quite a bit on cringe-worthy and gory scenes. I did note at the time that women and children were conveniently missing from the game which is explained in a throw-away line that might as well be 'um, they're around somewhere, probably behind the camera'. In Outlast 2, it seems that they have overcome this hurdle and now we get to see women and children getting killed or tortured. So...yay for progress?

I'm not really going to touch much on the controversial scenes in the game, besides the fact that Outlast 1 was already trying to push this envelope (full frontal male nudity in the first few levels, and a REALLY cringe-worthy torture scene in the DLC), and everyone suffers equally in the second. There's a reason why this is 18+, and it fully deserves this rating. Surprisingly however, when I think of this game, I don't think of 'controversial and edgy' but usually 'boring and annoying'.

You play as Jack, a reporter who has crashed landed near a cult-village and the people seem to think your arrival will bring the apocalypse. Jack cannot fight and has to run or hide (similar to the last game) but this happened so often it soon became a chase simulator more than anything else. The stealth section feels cheapened as there are some enemies that are able to catch you for no other reason than they are pre-programmed to do so, because there is no way they can otherwise spot you from half a town away. There was a fair amount of running in Outlast 1, but this was often broken up by the atmosphere, exploration, and the friendly NP's. It wasn't always clear whether or not the inmates would attack or try to help you or just act crazy. But in this town? One friendly resident who is quickly killed off.

We do go into Jack's past memories of a school in order to break up the chasing every now and then, and while it is admittedly terrifying and atmospheric in the better parts of the game, it doesn't tie into the main game at all. The idea is that Jack is gradually losing his sanity and can't tell the difference as the game progresses. It gets to the point when he thinks he is still a child, and calls his wife a different name. But in the next scene involving the main plot, Jack suddenly snaps back to reality and sounds perfectly sane without explanation. Even with the religious overtones of the flashback, it doesn't really connect to the main ending at all.

FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 5: Good atmosphere and ideas don't work well with the characters, the flashbacks, and the gameplay. The antagonist is a religious zealout, but isn't compelling in the slightest.

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