Outlast Preview – Hide and Seek With Madmen

As I slowly inch forward in a dark and narrow room, armed with nothing but my nightvision-capable camera in my hands, I spot a figure with glowing eyes and a rather large and menacing knife in his hands.

He lurches towards me, without urgency, and without saying a word. Rather than outright run away, I simply back up, afraid that if I simply turn tail, the chase will be on. It’s at that moment I let out a shout that was louder than I care to admit, as a knife suddenly goes through my chest and I collapse to the floor. I don’t even get to turn around and see what killed me.

This is Outlast. A survival horror game developed by indie game studio Red Barrels, it puts players into the shoes of investigative reporter Miles Upshur, who makes the ill advised decision to check out some disturbances at the Mount Massive Asylum.

If you follow our videos on the GameFrontDotCom YouTube channel, you probably know that when it comes to scary games, I tend to freak out a little. So coming into my demo with Outlast at PAX Prime, needless to say I was pretty tense.

After a little bit of quiet exploration of the asylum, I happened upon my first enemy encounter. It was an inmate who didn’t at all seemed bothered by my presence and seemed more interested in pressing his face up against a wall with the words “Down the drain” written in blood, right next to a dead cop.

My pursuer entered the room, made his way over to the locker, ripped it open, pulled me out, and slit my throat. Lesson learned, Outlast. Lesson learned.

Slightly disturbed and more than a little worried that he’d suddenly turn his attention towards me, I carried on down the hall. Off in the distance I hear some disturbed shouting and the sounds of a man beating … something … to death. Up ahead a little farther, I see what exactly was making those sounds.

Its another inmate, who locks eyes with mine as I approach, but he makes no move. He simply watches me as I move along into the next room. At this point I’m wishing to god that I had a weapon so I wouldn’t have this nagging thought in my mind that I just left two psychopaths right behind me.

When I open the next door, though, I spot another inmate who doesn’t take so kindly to me interrupting him. He begins to give chase and I start running for my life back the way I came.

With no combat in Outlast, your only hope of survival is to run and hide. One thing I didn’t pick up until later on in the demo is that closing doors behind you is a great way of slowing down an enemy. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed this tip, and instead just ran until I found the first hiding spot that I saw: an empty locker.

My pursuer entered the room soon after, made his way over to the locker, pressed his head up against the door, then ripped it open, pulled me out, and slit my throat.

Lesson learned, Outlast. Lesson learned.

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