Outlast sees players stepping into the brave shoes of Miles Upshur, a freelance journalist who receives an anonymous tip about Mount Massive Asylum – a psychiatric hospital owned by the shady Murkoff Corporation. Miles travels to the asylum to find out what’s going on there – but gets more than he expected. The employees’ bodies litter the hallways, the patients are disfigured and roaming free and several asylum employees are using the mayhem as an opportunity to further their own insidious agenda.
Outlast hovers between the realms of the natural and supernatural as its story progresses to provide a genuinely intriguing journey for the player. Unfortunately, it ultimately culminates in a peculiar conclusion that not every player will be able to appreciate. Regardless, the story is intriguing enough to keep players engrossed from beginning to end – assuming you can get through it without having to stop.
The effectiveness of a good horror game is rooted in its presentation, and Outlast thankfully understands this and delivers in droves. While it’s not pushing the PS4 to its absolute limit – it brings every corridor and room to life with the most minute of details. Whether it’s the subtle glow of a television subtly lighting up a room, floating dust at the end of a dark corridor or hundreds of flies around a pile of discarded bodies and viscera – every environment in Outlast feels alive or has a story to tell despite the dilapidation of it all. A nice touch for the presentation is Miles stepping into a pool of blood and leaving footprints behind – progressively getting distant as he makes more steps. It’s a minor detail, but adds an extra level of realism to the game’s presentation. The enemies themselves are a bit of inconsistent when it comes to their presentation, as up close they look a little bit more ridiculous and less menacing than when they appear as distant silhouettes in the dark. Character models are re-used sporadically as well throughout the entire game which can be a bit jarring.