Outlast is scary. Not just “creepy” like say, an over-enthusiastic uncle or a young Conservative, but more like the kind of full-on mentalist terror you feel when you realise that curry you ate isn’t going to stay in.
Plotwise it’s somewhere between Shutter Island (yes, the Scorcese/Di Caprio movie) and the Silent Hill games. You play an investigative journalist who receives a tip-off about some nefarious activity at a nearby asylum. Like every good horror story protagonists your character makes a series of dick moves, resulting in you being stuck inside.
Outlast is probably the scariest game I’ve ever played, the main reason being that your character is as about as safe as cupcake on the set of Oprah . Being completely defenceless the only thing your terrified character can do when you encounter enemies is hide (in the dark, under beds, in the closet) and enemies will try and hunt you down. Also, most of the game takes place in almost total darkness, so you have to rely on the poor visibility of the nightvision on your camera to try and get by, which ratchets up the tension further. To top it all off, the content and the subject matter is at time really dark. There are scenes and concepts in the game which you won’t forget it anytime soon.
The initial 2 or 3 hours are awesome. What lets it down is that the repetition starts to set in about half way through with the same shocks popping up (they’ll still make you jump), the same enemies stalking you and more and more fetch quests (albeit in different locations). Thankfully the change of pace toward the final third lifts things and the game manages to pull off a tense final sequence with a nice wrap up to the plot.
Though not a long game (4-6 hours), it would probably have benefitted from being a bit shorter and more concise. Nonetheless Outlast is a fun experience while it lasts. Given that there’s almost fuck all else on PS4 right now, you’ve no excuse to not download it when it comes out on February 5th.