In Outlast, you play as an aspiring news reporter, Miles Upshur, who goes to Mount Massive Asylum to discover what lies inside. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. Also, you have zombies, aka “patients,” coming at you while trying to kill you, so it gets to be “OMG, WHERE DO I GO NOW?” That being said, here’s what I got to play at the PAX East 2013 demo.
When you climb the ladder inside, the lights begin to flicker, and you see a blood splatter on the wall, dead bodies in chairs, and you hear a shriek coming from somewhere. The lights go out, and you are introduced to the camcorder, your primary tool. With it, you can use night vision and eventually unlock the ability to record footage. Your batteries do die out, but when they have low power, the flashlight is activated and continues on infinitely, that way you are never in complete darkness, but you lose the “better” vision.
I slowly walk through the doorway, knowing there could be anything in this place. Thankfully, though, I am seemingly allowed to gain some memory of the controls before I begin the main story (which relies entirely on clues almost, like CoD Zombies).
Walking around, I shimmy through obstacles, see dead people hanging from the ceiling, and the music is both amazing and crazy scary at the same time. I finally get my first visual clue: A man who has recently been attacked by a patient has had his body thrust into a sharp object and is now trying to tell me to get out of there (oh, the classic phrase, “Get out (of here) before it’s too late!”).
Before the demo ends, I am exposed to a very well-done cutscene, a vent system, climbing mechanics, and a zombie that is basically the “tank” in the game.
The gameplay, simply put, is amazing. There is no combat, but there really is no need either. In the small demo I played I encountered one monster, who I promptly ran away from. The Asylum is designed so there is no need for shooting, but there is a need to remember how to backtrack and where you can go to escape, because if you don’t, you will see “Game Over,” which I did the first time.
There are many different “patients” as they are called in the game, some will attack you, others won’t, and some may even surprise you.
Everything about Outlast is top-notch, from the animations to the art and even the sound. Everything is as close to AAA as you are probably going to get from a ten man indie team (made up of former ACIII, Uncharted, Splinter Cell, and Prince of Persia developers).
Price and release date, and the probability of a demo on Steam, are TBA, but one thing’s for sure: this is not your average zombie shooter.