Friday, July 18, 2014

First Impressions: Outlast (PC)

Outlast is a game that came out last September (2013) and that I purchased, I think, around December during a Steam Winter sale.  A while back after watching a fairly decent (not great, but not bad either) film on Netflix, I developed the odd urge to start this game up.  Conklederp also asked me if there was a game that I wanted to play, so there was that too. 

Outlast reminds me a lot of the Penumbra and Amnesia series in that the game is in first person, you are a man going into an unfamiliar location where there are things that can kill you and since you are unarmed, your only option is to run and hide when said aggressors decide that your death would make their day so much better.  The manipulation of objects is not as detailed as it is in either of the prior mentioned series as objects are immediately picked up and doors/drawers are either opened or closed, no slowly opening them just a little.  Either doors are slightly open, open all the way or slammed shut.  Yes, your only option while in a psychiatric hospital filled with a lot of murderous minds is to slam doors, even when you know you are supposed to be quiet or are attempting to hide from your pursuer.

The story so far, is that you are a reporter who was tipped off about all sorts of things going wrong/bad at this building that is/was a psychiatric hospital.  So being the wanna-be Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, you head to said hospital in your jeep armed with nothing but a video camera with night vision and two extra batteries that power said night vision.  Your one choice for when you run into hostiles is to run and hide and hope that the baddies were not close enough behind you to figure out that you happen to be hiding in either a storage locker or under a desk.  Thankfully said antagonists are not too bright (although they do seem to have reflective retinas) so when running into a room with say, two lockers, they might check one, grumble something then walk out of the room.  Or they will scour the room, eventually find you then start wailing away on your squishy body with a not-so-squishy crowbar.

One aspect of the game that is a bit odd is the video camera.  When it is up and you are filming, you have the chance of making observations in written form, but when the camera is not up, no notes will be taken.  This I did not find out for the first hour into the game, during which if there was enough light, I did not use the camera.  The main purpose of the camera is to use the night vision in dark areas, of which there are a lot.  The night vision is powered by a separate battery (as opposed to the infinite main battery of the camera) that has a life of two and-a-half minutes before you have to change the battery.  If the battery runs out, you have a limited night vision, only being able to see a couple of feet in front of you, as opposed to the, say, 15 to 20 feet with the night vision activated.  

The visual quality between having the camera up and not using the camera is very negligible.  And you are able to zoom in with the camera up, which is a nice added bonus when you do not want to be killed by whatever that thing way over on the other side of the room.  Why then is there the option to have the video camera down if there is no added benefit?  Just a thought.

Presently I am about 4 1/2 hours into the game and I am in an area where I have to avoid at least two violent inmates at either end of a building.  Both areas are dark (ie: pitch black without the night vision function activated) and I have six batteries in reserve, so I am not doing too poorly.  

I will say that about two hours into the game, the protagonist, one Mr. Miles Upsur finally came to the conclusion that I had within the first 30 minutes.

That.  Exactly that.  Mr. Miles decided to scribe this note shortly after being chased by two very large men who wanted to do all sorts of unspeakable things to his body and then having run into a guy strapped into a wheel chair yelling about something-or-other.

I am getting the feeling that I am about halfway through the game and there are maybe five more hours of gameplay left, which would be perfectly fine with me.  I do not know how long the game would be able to keep up its sense of fear and dread without becoming old and frustrating, what with the being killed every so often and all.  But in the meantime, I am having a lot of fun playing Outlast and there is the DLC Whistleblower which was released back in May of this year, so I will have that to look forward to once I finish the main campaign.

Here is to surviving that long.


Only The Good Die Young

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