A PC game that’s actually scary


Photo via Red Barrels

Sam Boyd, Sports Editor

Shock and fear. If I had to choose two words to describe “Outlast” (Red Barrels Games), those would be it. From the second I pressed start, I realized that this dark and drab game is nothing to mess with. Playing as journalist Miles Upshur, who is investigating a psychiatric hospital in Colorado, the gamer is clueless at first. The game is seen through the eyes of Upshur’s camera, which allows the player to see in the dark by turning on night vision, though it only lasts a limited time until the batteries completely die.

Just getting into the asylum is a scary puzzle in itself, and by the time the character gains entrance, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to continue this story anymore. Almost instantly, Upshur is met by bodies thrown all over the ground and even SWAT officers begging him to escape. Being Upshur, the immediate reaction is to listen to the nice police man, but in typical horror game fashion, there is no escape. Running away, Upshur is met by a giant inmate who calls him a “little pig” before throwing him two stories to the ground. As he wakes, Upshur meets an inmate named Father Martin who probably is not a priest, but does tell Upshur that he was sent by God to show the world the cruelty of this asylum.

The rest of the game is a compilation of screaming and running for your life. Every turn seems like a new danger and the addition of a constant search for batteries adds to the scary setting. Not only is the game an attempt to avoid death, but an attempt to see five feet in front of you. “Outlast” hands out heart attacks on several occasions and more than I hit the escape key to look at pictures of kittens. Jump scares in this game are well timed, by which the game is a series of never-ending jump scares.

The thing that stands out about “Outlast” is that there is no option to fight back: only to run or hide. For the typical “Call of Duty” player, that is a difficult change in tempo. The game makes you feel weak as a person and grants the experience of true fear giving you the decisions between hiding in a locker to see the knife-wielding inmate or making a run for it. (Hint: Upshur can’t run forever.) With a good mixture of interesting characters – also known as the summation of nightmares – and disturbing images, “Outlast” definitely makes the grade, but console users will have to wait because the game is only on PC right now.

Beware, the game is short due to its quick pace and feels like only 30 minutes of game play. All in all, Outlast is a great horror game that tests your sanity and will make you kick the bottom of your PC on multiple occasions. Compared to this year’s other horror game, the disappointing sequel “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs,” “Outlast” gets the edge and should receive more downloads and purchases once it comes to consoles early next year.