[Article assumes you've beaten the game]
Outlast 2 has been on my sight for a long, with myself waiting for an opportunity to leap into it and taste the ‘New fear expression’. The previous title of the franchise made me jump from my chair several times and grow a dull anxiety in my heart, but despite how much I liked it, the second game didn’t manage to have such a great impact.
Being straight, the graphical aspect must be highlighted. The power of Unreal Engine shines by itself, with much effort put behind of everything we can see: houses, forest, weather, water, enemies, environments… A great job was done there, but those who played Outlast 1 will already be used to it, so the impact is far less strong there. However, a new player of the franchise is more prone to experience fear while being chased with no defence tools.
One tricky thing which imbued me with some doubts was the main character’s force: sometimes he was beaten up by any enemy without effort, and then he was kicking another foe without hesitating or pushing a carriage easily. I’m aware of how practical is to make a horror game character weak, but it lost the point many times in Outlast 2. When struggling against an enemy (with the game commands) we could see that Blake is not much strong (not to mention the a bit weird animation used there) but then he was able of greater things. There’s also the candy point: jumping of a small ledge was enough to deal damage to the player and force him to use bandages, while in some cinematic parts he did larger jumps without getting hurted.
Talking about the core mechanics, there’s basically one point that everybody has criticized, and it’s the disorientation that shines all the time: there’s no clue of where to go or what to do, with no helpful item such as Dead Space’s tracking system (by far the best tool of that franchise). Another aspect that I had some fun testing was the Artificial Intelligence. Overall it worked flawlessly, but at some points I found myself running around a box to dodge an enemy until he forgot about me and went back to patrol, but this kind of bugs happened a few times only.
There’s a question which has been around my mind for hours after beating the game: does Outlast 2 produce true fear? According to a dictionary, fear is ‘an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen’. While playing, it’s easy to feel the insecurity and danger of every space, leading to a kind of sustainable fear. However, Red Barrels did a huge mistake there: enlarging the game experience way too much. Outlast 2 is divided in six chapters, being the 3rd and 4th too-much-long (with an indecent quantity of school levels also). There’s a point where the fear is replaced by routine, doing the same once more: getting to a locked zone where an item is required and getting back to the town to retrieve it while being chased. With that the player gets neither bored of the game or hardened and not scared anymore.
The plot of Outlast 2 isn’t the best I’ve have seen in ages, but neither the worst. However, it fails miserably to explain it, spamming notes and documents along the adventure. Sincerely, it gets frustrating to stop in a horror fast paced title to read a document every five minutes. Breaks completely the momentum. Getting back to the story, there are some interesting fan theories about details like the ending (much confusing) but what lost the point entirely was the ‘final boss’ cutting his own throat in the few seconds that appears there. In my opinion, what ruined the game the most were the constant visits to the school to solve slightly different puzzles every time.
In some kind of conclusion, my final statement is that Outlast 2 is great game, perfect for casual players who are just looking for some fun with friends, but not a joy for those who love horror, there are more detailed games for those like me.