Screenshot of Outlast Game Cover

What is Outlast?

Outlast was published and developed by Red Barrels in 2013, as the first-person survival horror game. It has a unique premise and it is narrative driven, while creating a feeling of dread through its dark atmosphere. The game enjoys positive reviews right from the start and prompted developers to work on a sequel. Outlast: Whistleblower was released one year later, with another sequel hitting the stores in 2017.

Key facts about Outlast

  • Outlast is one of the scariest first-person shooter horror games.
  • The feeling of impending doom is created through smart visuals and unique sound design.
  • Outlast compels players to outsmart opponents, as no weapons are available.
  • The video game is story driven and goes well beyond the patterns of the horror genre.
  • Outlast has a unique gameplay, but not much replayability.

Gameplay of Outlast

The Outlast gameplay is truly different from what mainstream horror video games have to offer. Players assume the role of a journalist who investigates a psychiatric hospital and runs into untold horrors. There is no arsenal of weapons to be used against the monsters and human enemies. Instead players need to use stealth, hide and make the most of their camera with night vision to stay alive. The stealth mechanics are essential, but when they fail to deliver results, players also have the option of running.

Moving around the haunting hospital can be a tedious process because of the numerous obstacles blocking the way. Players can walk, run and jump over obstacles with relative ease, but the monsters are fast and relentless. Darkness is both an enemy and a friend, as it conceals players but also provides opponents with a chance to strike when least expected. The camcorder is used to navigate the narrow corridors, but its night vision capability depends on batteries.

Avoiding monsters and learning more about the secrets hidden in the psychiatric hospital is only half of the challenge. Finding new batteries before available once run out and moving from one room to the other is the real challenge. There are documents littered all around and they shed some light on the narrative. The gameplay of Outlast can feel a bit limiting for those familiar with the horror genre. Players don’t unlock weapons or new skills and are just as powerless early in the game and in its latest stages.

Screenshot of Outlast Lurking in the Dark

Plot of Outlast

Miles Upshur is the main character in Outlast and he takes it upon himself to investigate Mount Massive. Hoping to find out whether the inhumane experiments allegedly performed upon patience are true, he ventures into the unknown. Upon entering the facility, he discovers countless dying staff and SWAT officers. With the way back blocked, he has no choice but to persevere and uses his camcorder to distinguish the surroundings.

The plot of Outlast will feature encounters with nightmarish creatures, but also deranged individuals, such as Father Martin Archimbaud. He traps Miles and shows him tapes featuring monsters that were responsible for killing patience and staff alike. The encounter with Rick Trager, an executive of the corporation owning the hospital is even more brutal. Miles barely survives the encounter and kills Rick in the process, but learns more about the experiments conducted a hospital.

As the Outlast plot evolves, players encounter the malevolent being called the Walrider. The biotechnological entity can only be killed by terminating a comatose patient called Billy Hope. He manages to control the creature telepathically and when Miles finally kills him, the Walrider attacks him. He merges with his body and uses it as a new host. In the last chapter when Murkoff operatives kill Miles, the Walrider emerges once again and kills everyone.

Screenshot of Outlast Zombie Victim

Development of Outlast

Outlast development started in the third quarter of 2013 and was released five months later. The team working on the horror first-person shooter managed to beat the expectations and release it ahead of schedule. Available for download on Steam, the game can be played on PlayStation 4 and later had versions for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows powered PCs.

In the wake of its international release, the game appealed to players and development started on the expansion. Outlast: Whistleblower came out as a downloadable content, with its unique story overlapping the original game. In this game, the main character is Waylon Park the one who provided Miles Upshur with the tip in the first place. Both games are available to play on all consoles and PC.

Where can I download Outlast?

In order to download Outlast, Whistleblower and the sequel Outlast 2, players should go to Steam. All these first-person horror video games are available here, but also on the developer’s website. The perk of visiting Red Barrels to download any of the games is that they are available to buy in a bundle at a discounted price. The developers contemplate the possibility of producing an expansion for Outlast 2 and it will also be available on the website.

Fans of horror video games have several other options if they want to play games produced by other developers. The F.E.A.R series is a great alternative, with F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin and F.E.A.R 3 proposing an entirely different type of gameplay. It can be a nice diversion from the stealthy mechanics of Outlast, for those who want to battle the monsters.

Screenshot of Outlast Protect the Gospel

What are others saying about Outlast?

Outlast sold millions of copies all over the world and it is still played after the sequel was released. Many of those who discovered the original felt compelled to play the sequel and the other way around. Outlast reviews were extremely positive, with the average score exceeding 80 out of 100 on aggregator websites. Players praised the story driven game and the unique atmosphere, as well as the game mechanics. There was consensus about the usefulness of emphasizing stealth to create the feeling of impending doom.

The critics were equally impressed by the achievement of Outlast developers and their unique take on horror games. They agreed that this game ended up as being a very successful experiment and an original take on the genre. They were also people who were less impressed by the achievement, as they regarded the game as a little bit too linear. Overall, players enjoyed the game and liked the evasive maneuvers proposed by the gameplay as a welcome diversion.

My Rating of Outlast

Ever since I was a little boy I enjoyed playing and watching horror games and movies. I’ve learned not to set the bar too high because the vast majority of video games and films belonging to this genre are mediocre at best. Outlast was a pleasant surprise and right from the start I was attracted by the unique gameplay and mechanics. The idea of surviving in such a hostile environment, without any weapons or special skills was irresistible.

Outlast scared me straight more than once and in hindsight, playing it at night was probably not the best idea. Truth be told, even if you play it at high noon, there’s a very good chance to be absolutely terrified. If you thought that games are supposed to be fun and relaxing, then think again and steer clear from this title. However, if you think you are hard to scare and want a real challenge, then this is the perfect choice. Your heart will skip more than one beat but you’ll almost certainly come back for more. That’s why I’m happy to rate this game 9 out of 10 and recommend it wholeheartedly to horror fans.