Outlast 2 Review – Knoth Hath Cometh
A pregnant woman has been found dead in Supai, Arizona. The circumstances so mysterious, no one is able to solve the death. The location so desolate, the only means of travel by air. Your name is Blake, an investigative journalist and cameraman working alongside your wife, Lynn. Choosing to fly out immediately to find clues, your helicopter crashes in the mountainside. You must now solve the murder, find your wife, and survive as the local religious fanatics and the heretics do everything in their power to hunt you down and kill you.
Supai, Arizona is an extremely hazardous mountain land located on the outer reaches of the Grand Canyon. Primarily a small farming community, very few people live there. The cabins are run down and soaked in the blood of those who don’t follow the rules. The forests are dark, and as confusing as they are riddled with the sick and dying. Men and women hang from the trees, while others are nailed to crosses in an extreme form of worship. My favorite part was actually in the very beginning when Blake was introduced to all of this. Stumbling onto the outskirts of town, you could see the villagers watch you from afar as they backed away disappearing into the darkness.
On the other hand, many of the locations often left me confused and lost. I would often run past broken passages or overlook climbable objects multiple times resulting in unwarranted deaths and mild frustrations. One of the more confusing, yet cool parts is when Blake would relive parts of his 4th grade childhood throughout sections of the game. There was an extreme amount of work put into the carefully orchestrated transitions between the run down valley and the classroom. Almost making it feel like the school was in the middle of the canyon itself. A lot of questions did rise from this particular section though, many of them left unanswered even in the end.
Knoth, the leader of the religious group here, has take advantage of the isolated location. He brainwashes his followers with extreme fear and violence, unafraid to kill those who see otherwise. His followers are never ending, zealous and terrifying. Some simply watch you, mocking you, while others chase you relentlessly. One of the most terrifying moments had me running through the village before resorting to the passageways under the houses. Crawling through the dirt, they would stab through the ceiling above me while I was closely being followed by those crawling behind. Another moment had me running through a mineshaft in absolute darkness, something akin to the film “The Descent.”
Blake is unable to fight back and must resort to running and hiding when things goes south. He has his video camera, outfitted with night vision and an amplified sound speaker. The night vision is an absolute must to find your way through much of the mountain paths and dark tunnels, while the sound speaker is able to amplify noise, pinpointing the exact location of those out to hunt you down. To maintain use of these, you must find batteries lightly scattered throughout the world. I never ran out of batteries, but I’ve became close enough to feel tension as I worried about what I was going to do when I finally did. I very, very rarely used the speaker system though. It just didn’t seem necessary or helpful to me. Bandages were used to heal your character as well if needed. One of the most unused mechanics were Blake’s glasses. Red Barrell made it very aware that Blake couldn’t see without his glasses in the very beginning, yet this didn’t seem to be used against him anytime after. Even in moments where he fell, or had been hit too hard. Situations that would surely knock them off.
Overall, Outlast 2 is a major step up from its predecessor. It maintains a lot of the basic mechanics, yet the setting and intense focus on detail created an entirely new experience altogether. Religions can be an easy target when it comes to horror, yet Red Barrels went out of there way to make a truly terrifying experience. If there is any DLC due, like the first Outlast, it’ll be interesting to see where they decide to take it.