If you want to get the true Outlast experience, play at midnight, close the doors, shut the lights, be alone and let Mount Massive Asylum and it’s psychopathic patients scare the living soul out of you. In fact if you let this game immerse you, it will scare you. At Least for the middle point of this journey. That is to say that Outlast's repetitive gameplay loop can be a killer for many players who have dared to play that far.
What I really admire about this game is it’s story, lore and the setting where I am running away from the murderers. Mount Massive Asylum is one of the most iconic places to explore in a survival horror game. It has this very brutal feeling to it and an amazing atmosphere. One of the best atmospheres in this genre. It looks abandoned from the outside, but on the inside there are bodies, body parts and blood everywhere and crazy maniacs roaming around the facility. It is a classic setting for a horror game. Also the story and lore behind this game is awesome. I have spent countless hours watching YouTube videos and reading articles about this game's lore and all the characters. In my opinion it is really interesting to investigate all the characters, such as Chris Walker's backstories. And learn about the asylum's history and it’s secrets with Murkoff corporation. The game developers and screenwriters really did an amazing job building this horrific world and it’s story. Another well done thing regarding Outlast’s story is how it is told through journals I can find across the asylum and the notes that the protagonist writes. As a cherry on top of the cake is Outlast’s amazing sound design. It really creates this creepy immersion with all the sounds for example when you are spotted. First comes this really loud noise which creates panic and when the maniac starts chasing me there is this really intense soundtrack playing which adds the panic to it. In fact the sound design is a big part of this game’s scare factor. So I would recommend everyone to play this game with headphones to increase the scariness.
Speaking about the characters, I think Outlast has many great villains for example Chris Walker (The big guy), who is scary as hell, wallrider, the twins and doctor Richard Trager. They are all memorable and unique in their own ways. Only ones that I have a problem with are the protagonist, Miles Upshur and Father Martin. Upshur is just a mediocre “faceless” horror game protagonist with little backstory and personality. Only thing I am told is that he is an investigative journalist who arrives to investigate Mount Massive. When playing, I'm not rooting for Upshur, I'm kinda rooting for myself, because in Outlast it’s more like you are the protagonist than you are playing as somebody else. I still love what they did with Upshur, for example if something scary happens, he starts breathing heavier and kind of reacts and lives with everything happening around him. It’s better than him being also “voiceless”. But in some ways it works that Upshur is left with almost zero character development etc. because the game focuses more on the overall story and lore. Then there's father Martin, I just find him somehow annoying character and I really don’t care about him and his character arc. Another character that I find scary and interesting is Trager. In my opinion one of the scariest sequences is when you are being chased by him in his “clinic”. Before you are introduced to him you have to go through one of the most panic inducing chase scenes in the whole game and when he catches you it only gets worse.
Outlast’s gameplay and mechanics are rather simple and the game tells you it immediately in the beginning. You can only run and hide, don’t fight back. You can hide under beds and inside lockers when the maniacs are chasing you. You also have a camera with a night vision mode to help traveling in dark places and to maintain it you have to find batteries through the asylum. You can also run and check your back while running which is an amazing mechanic in my mind. That all is basically Outlast’s gameplay in a nutshell and I can say that it can get boring after a while. Especially when the whole gameplay revolves around finding a key to a door from some scary place where you are being chased. After you find the key, open the door and go to the new area, you’ll find another door or elevator which, again, needs a key to go through it. And of course you need to find the key from some scary place with maniacs chasing you. That is the whole gaming loop of this game. After the halfway point it gets really repetitive and boring. I started to get used to all the scares and someone chasing me. It wasn’t scary anymore. Outlast is a scary game about ¾ of it. The last quarter is just kind of like walking in the park. Thank god this game is about 6 hours long because if it was longer, it would be a big problem. Or at least I played it in 6 hours and I also did lots of exploring, so it's a pretty short game and you can easily play it in one sitting. The game runs pretty well. On my computer I played with very high graphics and got about an average of 70 frames per second. Graphics can be quite outdated by today's standards especially the outsides of mount massive looks really bad and Chris Walker's character model can look blurry. Otherwise graphics look stunning. But this game is full of bugs and other issues. I had a couple of instances where the twins just froze in front of the door I had to go through and when I got close they killed me. Another incident was with Trager when he just walked in place. I also had this really weird problem that my game would just suddenly minimize the screen and I had to click it open from the bottom of the screen. This happened about once a playtime.
As a conclusion, Outlast is definitely a scary game and I recommend this survival horror game to all horror fans. This is one of those must play titles if you enjoy horror games. I would say that this game is a 8/10 and without the stupid bugs and more creative gameplay loop this game would definitely be a strong 9/10. Outlast can get a little boring at the end of the game so if you get bored easily this game will bore you at least some point of the game. Luckily the game can be played in one sitting so the dullness doesn’t really overcome the scariness. This game has in my opinion one of the most memorable ending and without spoiling anything it can get you off guard. I also understand if you hate or don’t like the ending, because it can divide people into two groups. Ones who love it and ones who hate it. I really think that Outlast’s ending is perfect for this game. Outlast is still really enjoyable in 2021 and has aged pretty well even though it’s surprisingly an 8-year-old game. So if you still haven’t played this game, you should definitely buy it from a sale (I paid about 5 euros of it if I remember right) and experience mount massive asylum’s scariness by yourself in a dark room with headphones. Good luck!