A demo for Outlast 2, the second game in the horror franchise, was released a few days ago across all platforms. It puts you in the shoes of Blake Langerman, a reporter alongside his wife Lyn who is investigating the death of a pregnant woman known as Jane Doe. The first game delivered on the horror aspect, but can the second game deliver on this same aspect? *SPOILERS FOR THE DEMO AHEAD, IF YOU WANT TO PLAY IT SPOILER-FREE THEN GO DO SO NOW*
For my experience, it did. Immediately you’re dropped into a dark and dreary area, a sense of foreboding and dread looming over you. You use a camera with night vision to see, similarly to the first game, and you spot other people lurking in the darkness, that slowly slink away when you see them. Houses are dotted about, and strong winds slam doors shut as you pass. At least, you hope it’s the wind. This area alone, with its limited lighting and atmosphere, really sets this game apart from most horror games, that rely on the jump scares to pass as horror. Of course, the jump scares are there, and they come later.
Outlast was also known for its gory and horrific moments, and it’s sequel definitely delivers on that too. You eventually reach a basement, where you’re greeted with the sight of a blood-stained manger and a shrivelled – or possibly a child’s – head attached to the wall. In the very next room, however, is something that may disgust even the strongest of stomachs; a pit of dead babies. Light shines in on the room in the shape of a crucifix in an almost ironic statement, and forces you to walk across the pit of dead children to progress. Following that, the end of the demo has you running for your life from the cultist villagers and falling down a hill, where a hooded woman with an axe-like weapon brings it down onto your groin, removing all traces of…well everything down there, leaving a gaping hole in your groin, before she brings it onto your head. It’s a brutal and gory-looking game, which helps push the horror aspect of the game.
Onto the mechanical side of Outlast 2. The gameplay was smooth and felt good, with the running and movement feeling realistic and fluid. The camera felt like an important item, but one that wasn’t forced upon players; if you were mad enough, you could play without using it at all. Graphics had also seen an upgrade. Everything looked much prettier and real, which is how it should be; the more real it looks, the more immersed you are, and then the most scared you are. Overall, the graphics and gameplay felt like an improvement over the first game.