Posted by Marianne Miller on Jun 14, 2013

A Brief Look At Outlast [E3 2013]

While wandering around the Sony booth at E3 this week, I managed to stumble upon a game I was very interested in checking out after seeing mentions of it across a few gaming sites and after seeing it shown briefly during Sony’s press conference.  It’s called Outlast, and looks to be another promising addition to the survival horror genre, put out by a new studio called Red Barrels.

The game’s premise is simple–a journalist explores what once was an abandoned asylum based on a tip given to him that it may not be so abandoned after all.  From Red Barrels’ website:

In the remote mountains of Colorado, horrors wait inside Mount Massive Asylum. A long-abandoned home for the mentally ill, recently re-opened by the “research and charity” branch of the transnational Murkoff Corporation, has been operating in strict secrecy… until now.

Acting on a tip from an inside source, independent journalist Miles Upshur breaks into the facility, and what he discovers walks a terrifying line being science and religion, nature and something else entirely. Once inside, his only hope of escape lies with the terrible truth at the heart of Mount Massive.

Hell is an experiment humanity may not survive.

I got to briefly play Outlast while at the Sony booth, and it felt like Amnesia and Slender: The Arrival had a horrifying baby.  The game doesn’t allow you to fight back, only to run and hide, and the entirety of it is seen through the lens of a camera, allowing for an (at times) upsetting nightvision mechanic.  Sometimes, things in pitch blackness are better left unseen.

The game looks and feels great, and the character interacts with his scenery when peeking around corners or coming up too close against a wall by touching his hands to whatever’s closest.  While startling at first, it makes for great immersion.  The controls are simple, where the X, O and triangle  buttons are assigned to crouch, jump, and replace the batteries in your camera.

Though I wasn’t able to play it long, the game did get one good jump scare out of me, much to my embarrassment and the amusement of those in the booth.  Check out the trailer below to get a better feel for the game.


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