Outlast. I'd talk about it and introduce it but I really don't need to, seeing how this wiki is solely dedicated to it. I like criticizing horror games, even though I'm no where near a good critic, and it's on topic so I decided to make a blog about said criticism. You'll notice that the con section is much bigger and more detailed than the pro section, letting on that I think Outlast is a bad game. That's not true, I genuinely find it a fun horror game, it just simply has more flaws than perfections that I enjoy discussing. Please post your own thoughts and say why or why not you agree with my points.
The plot is actually really original. Reporter investigating asylum? Corrupt government organization performing illegal experiments? Very cliche, but once you study the story, find out that's it's very creative and inventive.
The graphics are absolutely amazing for a company's first game.
Full Body Awareness
FBA games (first person games that lets you see your entire body) are sadly rare, but luckily, this game delivers, and makes it very realistic. It's so cool simply stand near a wall and see your character's hand place upon it, or see your shadow replicate every little movement you make.
I don't have to explain this one.
Notes and documents
The notes and documents seem like a minor detail, but they really flush out the Outlast universe into an interesting lore. It also gives the protagonists a definable personality, diminishing the overused featureless protagonist cliche.
The environment sets a great and terrifying tone. Perfect ambience, great and realistic architecture, extreme detail, and every corner has a group of Variants that immerses you into the environment. Some are neutral, just acting creepy or revolting like masturbating to corpses, while others are try to strangle you to death and act as one of horror's most terrifying monsters.
Waylon and Miles are the luckiest people on the planet
Now, Waylon and Miles are plunged into basically the worst situation a human could experience, so it makes sense the universe would feed them a little bit of karma for their absurd unluck. But instead of feeding them, the universe forces luck down their throat until their bellies explode. Let's list all of the extremely unlikely moments that occur in the asylum that saves our protagonists' skin.
- What are the odds Walker spawns out of thin air the moment Blaire is about to strangle Waylon?
- What are the odds a random hostile Variant spawns out of thin air the moment Gluskin is about to saw off Waylon's manhood?
- What are the odds Super Miles spawns out of thin air the moment Blaire is about to gut Waylon?
This game has no freedom. It's all just an extremely narrow hallway decorated so it's more free-roam than it seems. Let's list the game's mechanics, shall we?
- Saving batteries
Three mechanics. Let's take other horror games for example. Amnesia and Cry of Fear. They have an inventory system where you can keep up with items, some necessary, others optional. Alien: Isolation. It has a combat and crafting element that doesn't make you feel completely helpless, and forces you to keep up with supplies to make it all fresh. All Outlast is is going from Point A to Point B to find a keycard or activate a generator, with a few chase scenes in between. It gets extremely repetitive and could've used more gameplay mechanics so you feel more invested. Some randomized chase/hiding scenes and audio tapes would be kind too.
Trager's too minor of an antagonist
Trager. Creative concept, lovable personality, an awesome villain, a fun enemy, and everyone admires him. A 30 second wheelchair ride, 30 second torture scene, and a few minutes of chasing dedicated to him. This guy could've been the secondary, even the MAIN antagonist. Now, it makes sense Walker is instead, because he's always on the move throughout the asylum, while Trager is forced into a little lair of his. But you could either make the lair (Male Ward) bigger or force Miles to go through it again, like he does with the Admininstrative Block. I think Trager's introduction would've been better if you had already been traumatized by him beforehand so when you finally think you're saved, you find out you just trapped yourself in a dumbwaiter with the asylum's most sadistic psychopath.
Whistleblower's ending was amazing, while Outlast's sucked. Not because it's anti-climatic, theoretically, it's a good ending. Miles progresses from a broken defenseless reporter to a down-right GOD, and slaughters the douchebag and his mooks behind all of the chaos. Thing is, why does Miles get shot? I understand Rudolph is evil, but they could've had Miles contained/kidnapped, like in Containment Breach. Shooting him is just an unnecessary act of malice, like drowning a puppy. A better ending would be Rudolph and his soldiers bust down the door, drag Miles with them for some testing or something, and boom, Walrider. A minor change that would've made a major difference.
Protagonists don't speak
Now, in most survival horror games, protagonists have a valid reason to be heroic mimes. What's to say? They're being hunted down. But Waylon and Miles have a lot of people who talk to them, most not hostile, the jerks don't even have the decency to reply. Yeah, they'd be replying to psychopaths, but come on, it's just laziness on the developers' part. It'd make sense if it was some self-insersion thing like Gordon Freeman, as in you ARE the protagonist, but they both have established personalities through notes.
There's nothing wrong with a few jumpscares here and there, but they start getting repetitive and predictable.
- Waylon doesn't scream when he's about to get castrated. All he does is heavily breathe. You're about to get YOUR PACKAGE SAWED OFF WHILE CONSCIOUS, SHOW SOME EMOTION.
- Miles' finger wounds never get infected. You're in a dirty, diseased, blood splattered hospital and your fingers were chopped off. You walk around for said hospital for hours and NEVER get infected. Could've at least had a small scene where he patches them up. He is in a HOSPITAL after all.
- Why does Miles obey Father Martin after he escapes Trager?
In conclusion, Outlast is an above average horror game. Better than Cry of Fear, not as good as Alien: Isolation. It has a lot of glaring flaws, but is still enjoyable and replayable.