They say fear is a choice. I wish that were true, as no matter how much I wanted NOT to choose fear, it found me over and over again in Outlast.
The horror genre, as I’ve said many times before, has been getting softer over the last decade. It’s harder to scare people. Especially for those who have seen it all before. But with titles such as Outlast making their mark on the genre, it seems as though fear is finally finding its roots again. To my surprise, Outlast is currently free to Playstation Plus subscribers, and aside from being available through Steam, Sony’s platform seems to be the only way to play it on a home console, and I believe that to be a serious plus for Playstation fans (pun intended).
Before preparing to soil myself, I made sure I’d be fully immersed into the psychotic world I was about to delve into, wearing the best headset I could get my hands on; the Astro a50s. As with any horror game, there is at least a small story between the blurry lines of fear itself. Throughout the game you play as a journalist, aiming to make his big break in the industry. As such, he gathers the will power to break into a mental institution, far away from civilisation, located atop a hill and surrounded by woodland.
Equipped with only a video camera and your ability to run and hide (as well as being able look behind you whilst running), you can record events and take notes as you make your way through dark corridors and rooms. This is when the night vision feature of the camera comes in handy, but as your night vision runs on batteries, they deplete quickly. You’ll have to remember to conserve power in order to avoid a grim situation, being able to store ten batteries at a time. If you decide to start the game on a higher difficulty than normal (and I have no idea why you would), then expect the storage count to drop to just two.
I suggest you play the game in the exact conditions I did. In complete darkness and with a headset. Remember, fear is a choice. As I slowly progressed through the large mansion, which was riddled with dead bodies and covered in blood, I began to discover what real fear felt like. After breaking in through a window, it only took a light bulb smashing to make my palms sweat. But in comparison to what lay ahead, that was child’s play. I crept further, making my way through an open air duct and exiting to find a door leading to a library. As you approach a door you have two options: you can either confidently press square to open it fast, or you can hold down square and use your right analogue stick to open the door slowly. Though you may feel the need to open them fast in the beginning, remember that forcing open a door will make noise, and that won’t end well all the time.
When I encountered my first major scare, I threw my headset off (as well as my controller), and retreated to the comfort of my bed covers. You may think that nothing compares to your first terrifying encounter, but you’ll be wrong, time and time again. This game, therefore, isn’t for the faint of heart. If you consider yourself good with frights, then perhaps you’ll need to evaluate your position. It was genuinely hard to carry on, particularly as I was completely immersed within the experience. If you play this through your tv speakers, I’m sure you’ll be just as scared, but without a headset and the lights off I think you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. Let’s be honest, nobody plays horror titles for their story. This is all about an adrenaline rush, and I believe you won’t have any problem finding one here.
If you wish to see my terror of Outlast, be sure to catch the video at the top of the page.
- + Genuine terror lurks in the shadows
- + You can look behind you whilst running
- + The ultimate challenge of mind over matter, especially with the lights off and a headset on!
- - Playing through a second time will no doubt have less of an impact
- - Resorts to some cheap scares at times