Outlast Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer Red Barrel Games

Publisher Red Barrel Games

File Size 5.8G

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: $24,99 USD, £19,99 GBP

Story

The story in Outlast revolves around freelance investigative journalist Miles Upshur who decides to take it upon himself to investigate Mount Massive Asylum due to a tip that something wasn’t right there. The place was supposed to be abandoned but as a good journalist does he decides to break in! The story is set with you driving down a country road deep in the mountains and when you see the asylum it’s really impressive. As you begin to investigate the story is is drip fed to you in a series of journals left a around the asylum and it’s fascinating to find out all the crazy horrible stuff thats been taking place. The great thing about how the story is told is the more you preservere through this horror the more you are rewarded with story and I think thats a great way of delivering it and works very well in this game as you are a journalist after all so it fits.

Audio

The audio created in Outlast is very impressive. As with any good horror film or game it’s the basis to build up tension and atmosphere which this game has in spades. The sound of breathing in this game takes breathing sounds to new heights. It’s used to great effect to make you understand how our protagonist is feeling and this fear in his breathing transmits itself to you as the player. When we see something grotesque the breathing gets faster and heavier. When you are running away you can hear the fear in each breath you take. When walking around the asylum, floor boards creak, patients scream, phones have that sound they make when they are out of order and Tv’s inexplicably turn on and hiss. Jump scares are also hear aplenty but the tension and atmosphere builds really nicely to the point where your ready to scream. Violins play in the background ready to reach a crescendo when the next horrific scene appears. I could go on about how good the sound design is here, suffice to say it’s excellent.

Visuals and performance

This may be a four year old game but graphically it was good back then and it’s still good now. This game uses light very well indeed. In the asylum often the horrors are in the dark and the use of your camcorder to record the going’s on at this asylum comes in very handy with it’s night vision mode. You see you won’t be able to see anything in some of the darker zones of the game and using the night vision on your camcorder becomes essential. Some of the textures of course are not to todays standards but they still hold up really well.

I was most impressed with how smooth this game ran and how it didn’t present me with any performance issues. Everything ran buttery smooth which is essential in a first person perspective game like this. It’s especially impressive when you run around as I didn’t notice many drops in the frame rate.The asylums inhabitants have all had grotesque things done to them and are depicted well from afar. It’s only when you zoom in on them a bit that they don’t look quite so detailed. This is even more noticeable in handheld mode. Overall though I was very happy with both the graphical fidelity and the performance in this game.The game is a 6 gig file so bare this in mind when playing the game as it’s quite large, frame rate is 30FPS and both in handheld and docked it runs great.

Gameplay

You may have played this on PS4 or Xbox One already but I am completely new to this franchise. Being a horror fan I am not sure how this passed me by but in a way I am glad it did as I got to experience it as a new game on the Nintendo Switch. The gameplay here is pretty simple in that you have to walk around and explore the asylum picking up documents along the way which will further the story for you. You have your hand camcorder which you will need to traverse the darkened rooms, sewers, patient rooms and other places in this game. The reason you need it, is for its night vision mode and this is when things get really tense. It’s also needed for you to record some of the horrors and your note book will be updated each time you record one of the pre determined scenes.

The game starts off very strongly and I enjoyed how it built tension in it’s first sections of the asylum where exploration was tense with every step you take and  brings home what your are in for. It’s when you get to the sections where you meet the enemies where things really ramp up.

In these particular sections you will have to do things like hit two breaker switches to turn the power on for the security room or drain sewage pipes of water so you can get down them. These areas are often quite similar and will most of the time involve you confronting one of the grotesque enemies,running away and having to hide. This is a game of stealth but get caught and you will have to run fast and perform parkour style jumping over obstacles to get to your hiding place which can often be a little far away cue the heavy breathing and panicked running. Get to your hiding place and the enemy goes back to their normal patterns. if you hide under a bed though and the enemy sees you do it, it will grab you and kill you so make sure you are out of their field of vision which isn’t always obvious.

Sometimes you get cornered and die which can be frustrating. You will have to learn the enemy patterns run and hide rinse and repeat. The first few times I found it to be really intense but you soon get used to it and then it becomes a little repetitive and that was my main issue with the gameplay overall. Don’t get me wrong it’s all implemented really well and like Layers of Fear and Detention there are no weapons which you can hurt your enemies with. I often wondered what it could be like if you could actually fight the enemies but then that would defeat the purpose of the game. See here you have no power, you are powerless and you have to survive by hiding. These enemies are just not to be messed with and will take you down very quickly if you give them the chance. Problem is it’s often hard to see them, there is a part in the sewers which felt a little unfair. It’s so dark you just can’t see anything in front of you which made it very difficult to avoid the enemy and find your way out.

The game rewards your exploration with more of the story which is certainly very interesting and I enjoyed finding these when I had recovered from the last scare! The game controls superbly well and is a joy to play both in handheld and in docked mode. It’s all very responsive and the buttons are logically placed. For those that want challenge then you have bags of it here. You can play the game in five difficulty modes ranging from normal to insane where if you get caught and hit just once your dead.

This game is certainly not for the feint hearted, you will see lots of grotesque things here, blood guts and deformity so I only recommend this game if you love horror and don’t have a weak heart or stomach as some people will just not be able to take it.

Value

Most of you will know by now that buying a game on the Switch is going to cost you more than on the other platforms and it’s no different here. The game is £19,99 in the UK or 24,99 dollars in the USA. Here you get the whistleblower DLC also which is good. The game is around £5 more expensive than on Xbox or PS4 right now and if you own one of those other systems you will need to decide if portability is worth the extra coin.

In this instance for me it is but I have said that on most of my reviews and thats because I don’t have much choice in the matter. Remember that Outlast 2 is also on it’s way at the end of the month which will be even more expensive and to pick up both games your looking at just under $50 or £46. I have seen bundles of both games well under that elsewhere so again it depends what you require. For me you are paying for a triple AAA title which is four years old but has been given a new lease of life.

The game is five hours long or so but offers replayability in the form of differing difficulty levels, I have already played the game out a number of extra times again just to watch my friends reactions. For that it’s worth the money alone!

Pros

P

Scary

P

Great smooth port

P

Fantastic use of sound

Cons

P

Gameplay can become repetitive at times

P

Price