A note from the author: The following review contains religious depictions found in Outlast 2, nowhere in the article does the author impose his own views, nor does he discredit any other. He is speaking purely to the content of the game. Enjoy.

Outlast 2 grabs you from the moment you start the game and takes you on a trip to hell and back. When the helicopter crashes in the Arizona desert, Outlast 2 encompasses players in a demented, haunting, and horrifying world that I highly recommend visiting. It does a hell of a job keeping what made the previous game so enjoyable and outright terrifying while bringing new things to the table that don’t hinder the overall experience.

The atmosphere is absolutely suffocating and completely intoxicating. A lot of people seemed a tad worried about the change in setting between Outlast 2 and the original. The follow-up takes players out of the dark and dreary asylum from the first game that was inhabited by psychopathic husks of former humans ruined through years of experiments and thrusts them into the dark deserts of Arizona.

Darkness constantly forces itself upon the player, if you are not using the night vision more often than not it is nearly impossible to see in most areas. The environment makes the player feel totally isolated from the world while still eliciting a feeling of being completely surrounded by the thick fog and darkness. It is absolutely chilling to see enemies emerge from the fog or hear them talking and moving around while being unable to see them until they are mere feet from you. The player also gets the sense that things are very wrong in this desert. Seeing people laid over dead at a dinner table with bags over their heads, bodies on spikes or hanging from trees, children’s playgrounds completely devoid except for toys forces a sense of foreboding into the player’s mind. As a horror fan, it is absolutely wonderful.

Supplies are scarce, which is great, that is exactly how a horror game is supposed to be. It is legitimately frightening to know you are on your last battery and have no idea where another one is and that at any moment the darkness will begin to close in. Outlast 2 is a very dark game both in terms of content and being incredibly literal. Every time I switched away from the night vision the emptiness and lack of light greeted me. Running out of bandages wasn’t anywhere near as scary, I was actually just surprised I had been hurt that many times.

Speaking of getting injured, the gore is still incredibly top notch and gruesome. Blood pools on the floor, cows, and humans are strewn about in pieces, the team over at Red Barrels didn’t pull any punches with this one. Many of the death sequences are top tier, whether being impaled, chopped to pieces or even trying to heal the gore brings a warm and satisfying feeling to the game and I am sure it will put a smile on the face of horror fans everywhere.

The religious undertones are still very visible in the game. There seems to be two rival factions one who mimics extremist Christian based beliefs and one simply know as the Heretics. From what I understood, the extremists follow one leader whom essentially has them all brainwashed into believing they are fulfilling God’s work by killing off Satan’s children. Outlast 2’s main protagonist and his wife Lynn are the newest targets of the extremist cult. The leader of the extremists claims Lynn has the child of Satan in her womb, it essentially puts a hit out on Blake and Lynn setting off the overall story for the game. Blake is looking for Lynn, the Bible-banging extremists are out to kill them both, the best I can tell is the Heretics want the baby to be born and to keep it as their own. Outside of that, religious notes are strewn about, the extremist leader can constantly be heard spewing out hate filled things involving Satan and various other religious figures. The extremists also torture people in their own chapel, it’s actually incredibly grotesque.

The leader of the extremists

The transitions between both worlds are jarring but incredibly well done. The game tends to twist intermittently between the real world (events happening in Arizona) as well as with memory sequences where Blake is haunted by mysterious events that happened to a childhood friend named Jessica. Both Lynn and Blake grew up going to Catholic school with Jessica and it is apparently something incredibly horrible happened that Blake feels a little guilty about. So far it hasn’t been crystal clear as to what happened to Jessica or how it directly correlates with the events taking place in Arizona. What has been made apparent is Jessica was hung by her neck and someone higher up in the school who seems to be devout was involved in her death. Blake entering these instances can happen at a moments notice. At one point I climbed the wall trying to get into a barn, immediately landed in a transition where tile floor of a school greeted me. Then just as quickly, after completing what I needed to in the school, I escaped into the snow that was surrounding the school. After stumbling through the snow the ground broke and the white of the snow seamlessly changed to dirt as I was tumbling down a hill. When Blake got back up off the ground the game continued in the Arizona story arch. It is a very well implemented aspect to the game.

The newly added mechanics are all well fleshed out and don’t feel particularly clunky. The healing system works nicely. It is a small added horror to have to stop and wrap your arm in bandages to get back to normal health. Hiding in barrels is a wonderful new addition as well. I love how it makes a difference hiding in certain barrels. Some contain various liquids (usually water) that can drown Blake if he hides for too long. It’s a superbly implemented mechanic because if up at the wrong moment Blake gets seen, probably killed or he could stay and drown. Adding in the ability to creep underwater through areas is also nice, however, it can slow the game way down as Blake doesn’t move fast in water. Recording event is also handled a little differently in Outlast 2. In the first game, you could have the camera up at all times and record everything that happened. In the sequel, a red circle appears on the player’s screen indicating that an event is being recorded otherwise the camera is left in standby mode.

It is also worth noting that the game felt challenging. It never holds your hand or tells you exactly where to go in the sense that you’re an idiot. Allow me to elaborate, the game does give simple objectives such as get to the cathedral. From there it is entirely on the player’s shoulders to figure out the path to get there. I’ll be honest during a cornfield chase (not the one from the demo) I messed up several times trying to get out of the area and away from my attempted cultist assailants. There was a window near where I was actually supposed to go, that lead back to the previous area. I really wish I could tell you I caught on the first time it looped back to the beginning but I would be lying. I was so immersed in trying to get the hell away from these misfits that it took me three times of running the same path to realize my mistake.

There are a minuscule amount of items to complain about. One being if the red circle was on the screen and you had night vision equipped it wasn’t always clear what you were looking at or where you even were standing. This is of course easily bypassed by simply turning off the night vision for the duration of the recording. I understand that is how night vision works when interacting with light but it felt like a nuisance having to turn it off to figure out what was going on because the game doesn’t always make it clear you are looking at a light source or something with a light source behind it. Another small item to complain about was a character who seemed created entirely for the expositional purpose. It’s a pretty common thing to have in games. Until Dawn had the man who spent many years fighting Wendigos up in the mountains but at least he managed to make it about twenty minutes into the game before being killed off. Poor Ethan whom is the father of the missing girl that the main character Blake and his wife came to Arizona to investigate in the first place was brutally killed off in under three minutes.

Continuing on with what was bad, there is a fine balance between chase sequences scaring the player, making their adrenaline pump, palms sweat, etc and just having it dissolve into something cumbersome. At one point it seemed like Outlast 2 had back to back to back chase sequences that got downright aggravating to the point of wanting to turn the game off and go do something else. Having to figure out what to do or where to go while starting from a bad checkpoint at the start of the chase or mid-chase also makes just trying to get through the whole ordeal and reaching a new point all the more agitating.  Every time I thought it was over and I could get back to the gore and horror, whatever dumb entity was chasing me would show up and start trying to murder me again. Case in point at one time locals chased me into one area, the door got blocked behind me so I proceeded through two rooms then a locked door in front of me started getting pounded on and he burst through and I had to get past him to a new area. Not even five minutes later he was there again! The route I was supposed to take was not clear and I ended up getting chased backward through the map and made it back to a small cave I had already been through after getting back across a tiny ledge I looked across the pit to see if he was chasing me still. He was now just standing on the other side of the pit watching me. So now the game became either go back across to my attacker and die or jump off the ledge and die. This was by far the biggest grievance I had with the game.

Moving on, I have mixed feelings about the inventory system of the game but overall it seemed to work well. In order to see how many batteries and bandages you have, the player must hit the select button. At that point Blake looks down, he will say whatever the objective is at that moment and you can see into his left and right jacket pockets. On the left batteries are displayed and on the right are the bandages. I love how simplistic that is and how it negates the need for an added menu screen. There aren’t many drawbacks to it, Outlast 2 definitely implements the mechanic way better than previous games have. Alone in the Dark left a bad taste in my mouth because I felt like I actually had to dig around in his pockets for what I needed and the tracking for when he looks at the pockets was not the best.  So I often pulled the wrong item out or spent obnoxious amounts of time trying to get the exact instance for the prompt of what I needed. Thankfully that is not the case with Outlast 2.

Heading back to the positive aspect of the game. Outlast 2 loves to toy with the player. At one point I was walking around a very Silent Hill feeling foggy area. A voice came through the fog spewing some religious librettos that ties in to the overall theme. At the time I could not see any one on screen so I began to slowly creep along the path. Out of the fog comes the mysterious figure shown at the end of the Outlast 2 demo. This creature is very predominately featured in the game. She pursues the player incessantly when she is on screen. Be warned she will kill the player instantly if she catches them. At another point a ghost messes with the player by reaching around and moving it’s hands in front of the camera or briefly appearing in the corner. Early on before I caught on that it was harmless it flashed in the corner and I freaked I spun in circles and hopped around trying to get away from something that wasn’t actually a threat. It made me laugh and was a solid scare in a world where games usually just go for the jump scare without putting in any actually effort.

In closing, Outlast 2 is a dark, twisted, cavalcade of madness that is hands down one of the best games of 2017. It is very rare that any form of media makes me uncomfortable or makes my skin crawl and the team over at Red Barrels accomplished that flawlessly. They put out a solid horror title that only has a few shortcomings, all of which can be easily overlooked when compared to how enjoyable the overall game is. In fact it deserves the score I gave it below despite the grievances I talked about earlier. I highly recommend grabbing this game and possibly some diapers. You’re going to get scared.

Outlast 2 Review
All Things Horror
  • Grotesque and awesome gore
  • A truly enthralling horror game that sets itself apart from its predecessor but still stays true to its roots
  • Implements new mechanics really well
All Things Normal
  • Elongated and multiple chase sequences detract from experiance
  • Purely Exposition Based Character
  • Night Vision was a little odd sometimes
10Overall Score
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel