Thursday, April 4, 2013

PAX East 2013: Outlast (Red Barrels)


In the Indie Megabooth, there were not too many scary games, but perhaps the scariest game in all of PAX East stood in the midst: Red Barrels' Outlast.  We got to speak with one of its creators about the game and then some after I played the game, and allow me to tell you firsthand: Outlast is scary.

In Outlast, you assume the role of independent journalist Miles Upshur who, at an inside tip, breaks into the long-abandoned Mount Massive Asylum, a mysterious building that originally housed the mentally ill and eventually became under the control of Murkoff Corporation.  Inside, Miles quickly learns that the Murkoff Corporation has done a lot more to the Asylum than just assume control, and he'll find out that there are plenty of others there who do not want him to leave.

Outlast is a first-person horror adventure in which you have only one major asset: a camera which can see through the darkness.  Through the camera, players can zoom in to view further in the distance.  However, over time the battery will drain away, requiring new batteries, which thankfully can be found around the asylum.  Reloading batteries is much akin to reloading a weapon, though, so be warned that it will take some time to get the camera back on when it finally goes out.  As a note of precaution, remember that the batteries need to be reloaded...had I not realized it when I did, I surely would have been left in the dark at the worst of times.

In the game's demo, I entered the asylum and scoured the gore-covered rooms, looking for clues.  What I found were bodies hanging from the ceiling and someone with a hellbent desire to kill me.  Throughout the slow crawl, I could hear occasional screams of agony and the low rumbling of twisted anger.  In more than one instance, the monster in the demo growled out a deep, "You pig," before attempting to rend my head from my body.  Over the course of the demo, I found myself running around the tight corridors, attempting to prevent his massive form from grabbing hold of me or taking off a chunk of my body.  While the game allowed many ways for me to hide, I found that running was equally acceptable for my time with the demo.  I suspect I will need to be hiding later on in the game and that I was very lucky in the demo.

I will be honest, the game's audio and graphical presentation was very fitting to the environment and kept me on edge through it all.  There were more than a couple times I jumped from my spot, especially one time when I opened a doorway and spotted a few moving bodies combined with an ominous growl.  Amid the slow and heavy ambient music, the impressive lighting only further accentuated the darkness and made progression through the demo difficult, but more from fear than anything.  If these first fifteen minutes are maintained in terms of aesthetic and gameplay mechanics, I think we are going to be in for a very scary and worthwhile experience!

Outlast comes out for Steam on PC later this Summer.   

No comments:

Post a Comment