Outlast: Why I Can’t and Won’t Finish it

Outlast is a great horror romp…for most people.

With the recent announcement of The Outlast Trials, I would like to revisit the game that started it all, the game that allowed Red Barrels to make two more games with the same disgustingly gruesome elements. Also, I have never finished it. That’s right. I have not finished this game…and it came out in 2013. However, I’d like to explain my wimpiness, which I’m sure is radiating off of me.

Found Footage is Spooky

Night vision of deserted area with big, scary patient
Ruh Roh, Raggy. (image Credit: Red Barrels)

Found footage films are great. I eat them up. From The Blair Witch Project to Grave Encounters, found footage films create a disturbing alternate reality that makes you question your own. Outlast achieves something similar to this by placing you in the role of an investigative journalist. As an investigative journalist, you do what journalists do best: trespass on dangerous or illegal grounds.

Then, the game decides that someone going into an abandoned, creepy asylum shouldn’t carry any weapons. After deciding you don’t need to protect yourself, the game makes things go bump in the night and this guy is pretty much prey. You have a camera, you have the night vision on said camera, and that’s it. The proximity in which the asylum’s patients decide to ride up on you is terrifying and you can’t do a thing to stop them.

Outlast is Grossly Taboo

A character from Outlast holding a knife near the protagonist's trapped fingers.
This guy totally wants to chop off your little fingers and eat them like chicked nuggets. (image credit: Red Barrels)

Ah, cannibalism. Isn’t it great? No? No one thinks it’s great? Well, the inclusion of two naked dudes who want to scoop your brains out isn’t going to do you any favors. Neither will the guy who decided to molest a headless corpse for funsies. If you want, you may also peruse the genital mutilation in the Whistleblower DLC. This game has many a taboo, and we won’t even mention the second game’s extremely triggering content. 

No Breaks and No Saves

One of the Outlast patients staring at a corpse
This blood looks concerning. (image credit: Red Barrels)

You read that right. The save system in Outlast is brutal. In order to properly save, the player has to reach certain checkpoints in the game. There is no manual save option for progress, but you can save the collectibles you get from the sections you play. This combined with the constant atmosphere of dread pounding you nonstop makes for a relentless and anxiety-inducing experience.

You Should Play Outlast, Even if I Can’t

Despite all of this, and my overall faint heart towards the content and atmosphere in Outlast, give it a go. Outlast is probably one of the scariest games I’ve ever attempted to play. It has critical and audience acclaim, a great concept, and a new addition coming to the canon. Expect The Outlast Trials to release sometime in 2021.

By John Castro

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