Wednesday night I killed the lights and settled in to play Outlast on stream. You can find the recording here. Be warned though, it’s five hours long. While I had originally planned to play for a couple of hours, once I was in the middle of it, I just kept going, right through to the end.
It was a good game, for sure. So that helped. The other part of it was, I think, that I felt I had slipped into this incredibly uneasy, tense state of being over the course of playing. I worried that if I stopped, turned the lights on and settled down, I’d never convince myself to go back. Not now knowing what was waiting for me.
Outlast stumbled in some very minor ways… the ending was a little predictable, but not unenjoyable. It successfully created an amazingly creepy atmostphere and equally disturbing characters. The full-immersion first-person point of view helped; I would dread playing this game with an Oculus Rift.
There were times when I had to rely completely on the nightvision on my camcorder in order to navigate, and doing so drains your AA batteries, creating another level of tension. I never ran out of batteries, but during some stretched out instances I came pretty close, and approached a level of panic at the idea of being left to fumble around in complete darkness.
I do have to say, Outlast had a surprising amount of penis. I feel like seventy percent of the inmates at this asylum were not wearing pants. Often they were wearing shirts of varying kinds. No pants, though.
They owned pants… I found them in some of the bedrooms late in the game. All folded up neatly on the beds and dressers. Apparently, though, when they took over the asylum pants were the first thing to go.
A large portion of the game I spent being stalked by two incredibly disturbing individuals (you can meet them at 1:03:00 in the video I linked above; check it out, they’re wonderfully written), who also happened to be stark naked from head to toe.
Now, when you’re creeping around an insane asylum lit only by the fuzzy nightvision on a camcorder, it can be fairly unsettling to open a door and be staring face-to-face with a phosphorescent member. (Myself and the stream chat began calling them Ghost Dicks. Today’s comic is a little in-joke for the great folks who tuned in and shared the whole adventure with me.)
You know what though, it all adds to the entire unhinged feeling of these twisted patients. Why aren’t they wearing pants? It doesn’t matter, they’re batshit crazy. Outlast brought some good scares, and was well worth the price of admission. Some might consider the game on the short side. I finished it in a single five-hour sitting. But this sort of survival horror experience doesn’t need to drag on. You’re in it for the thrill, the experience, and the longer it lasts the number you may get to it.
Get in, get scared, get out. Mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned.
Next week I’ll be playing/streaming Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. The first game terrified me, and so I’m interested to see what they do with the sequel, and especially interested to see how it compares to Outlast, having played it so recently.