If you read our Outlast review, you know we think it’s pure survival horror fun, and we’re excited to announce that its sequel, Outlast 2, has arrived on Nintendo Switch, complete with a fresh story, new setting, and cool upgrades. Just keep in mind that this game is extremely graphic and should only be played by adults. We don’t have any graphic screenshots in our review because we know there’s a chance kids will stumble upon this page, but take our word for it: Outlast 2 is packed with ultra-violence, bloody gore, and terrifying jump scares, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Take control of Blake Langermann, a cameraman and investigative journalist about to touch down in northern Arizona near the site where a young pregnant woman was mysteriously murdered. Working with wife and partner Lynn Langermann, Blake plans to film an investigation of the murder and bring Jane Doe’s killer to justice, but when his helicopter crash-lands, Blake and Lynn are catapulted into a completely different direction. When Blake awakens at the crash site, Lynn is gone, and their pilot’s body is flayed and nailed upon a cross. So Blake sets off on an urgent mission to find his wife, a mission that will drag him deep into the bloody heart of an apocalyptic cult.
Unlike Outlast, where gameplay takes place inside a mental institution, Outlast 2 offers the open and airy terrain in rocky northern Arizona. Although you’ll pass through many dilapidated wooden structures like homes, churches, and barns, you’ll never stay indoors for long. The outdoor setting distinguishes Outlast 2 from its predecessor, and while we miss being trapped in a creepy mental institution, the new setting is really refreshing. Of course, the nighttime Arizona wilderness is still terrifying, even if it’s not an asylum—especially when fly-ridden and mutilated bodies of babies, children, adults, and animals show up in blood pools wherever you go. Plus, packs of lunatic enemies lurk about, and they’ll kill you in seconds if they get the chance. As with Outlast, you cannot fight your foes; you can sneak, run, and/or hide, and if that sound unappealing, you should probably look elsewhere for a horror game.
While Outlast 2 features an outdoor wilderness setting, certain events trigger your mind to temporarily travel back to Catholic grade school, where something sinister happened to your friend Jessica. In this way, small portions of the game take place inside a school, whose long, dark hallways; locker-lined walls; and eerily empty classrooms take us back to the asylum of Outlast—and we love it! We actually like being in the school even better than being in Arizona, and the two drastically different settings offer a great deal of visual variety, something that Outlast didn’t really offer—aside from its Murkoff Corporation bits, of course. We don’t want to spoil anything about the school bits here, but we love how the Catholic school contrasts with the bloody cult in Arizona, and it’s definitely a highlight of Outlast 2.
As in Outlast, the star mechanic is your video camera, whose night vision setting allows you to see in dark places. (This setting drains your battery, so use it wisely. But know there are many spare batteries to find along your journey.) Your camera also has some nifty upgrades from the basic Outlast camera: its picture is clearer, its zoom function is better, and it can pick up on sounds that the human ear cannot. (This last feature can alert you to distant enemy footsteps, among other things.) Another cool camera update is the auto-battery-replace feature: if you find a fresh battery but your pockets are full, you’ll automatically pick up the new battery and pop it in your camera, replacing whatever battery you had in there at the time. Just as important as batteries are bandages, a new mechanic in Outlast 2. If you got hurt in Outlast, you gradually healed with time—but if you get hurt in Outlast 2, you can only heal through the application of bandages. You can only hold a few at a time, so pick them up when you see them and try to keep stocked up.
As you play, you should pick up any glowing documents you may find, since they often offer insight into the mysterious cult that has kidnapped your wife. You should also record events that the game tells you are important. This is a major improvement from Outlast, where you just had to “sense” that a moment was important and warranted recording. And unlike in Outlast—where recorded moments let you into the main character’s thoughts by producing a handwritten note jotted down after making the recording—Outlast 2 offers something much more believable. When you record an important event, you catch a glimpse into Blake’s thoughts because he says them out loud while recording the footage! So at any time, you can view these recordings and hear what Blake had to say about them, which makes for a cool video diary of your journey.
If you played Outlast, you’ll be familiar with the basic platforming moves you’ll have to perform, like hopping across gaps, shuffling along ledges, jumping into ceiling air vents, and vaulting over low-rise obstructions. Platforming in Outlast sometimes works as it should, and sometimes it does not. Sadly, this is often the case with first-person platformers, and we wish the Outlast series would offer a third-person option a la Skyrim. But thankfully, not much platforming is required in Outlast 2, so this really isn’t a big deal. As in Outlast, you can also interact with certain movable objects, and you’ll often have to move some object to solve a puzzle. But even with these tools at the ready, you’re utterly defenseless if you’ve been detected by someone who wants to kill you, and almost everyone wants to kill you. As in Outlast, you’re simply not designed to fight. After all, it’s easy to just slaughter anyone who gets in your way, so the fact that you can’t do this and have to instead rely on your stealth and creativity makes for an interesting challenge.
Outlast 2 runs beautifully on Nintendo Switch, and its graphics are visually indistinguishable from those of an AAA release. In fact, these graphics are even better than those in the Outlast Switch port, and those graphics were pretty darn good. But don’t just take our word for it; look at the crisp screenshots in our review! We should also mention that Outlast 2 lets you adjust the game’s brightness, and we made ours just about as bright as it can go. (Outlast did not offer this option.) As with Outlast, this sequel is perfect for docked playing, especially if you have friends to watch you play and a sweet sound system on your TV. The Outlast 2 music is quite creepy, especially the screeching strings that play on the main menu. This game’s music is quite distinct from that of its predecessor; it really serves to heighten your fear, and it may even be an improvement over the music in Outlast. On top of this, the sound effects put you right in the action, and the voice acting is pretty realistic. For all these reasons, we think Outlast 2 will provide you with an immersive sensory experience.
So is Outlast 2 a Nintendeal? Well, it’s a great deal for its price if you’re into the genre. Just remember that stealth is the name of the game here, and it’s impossible for you to fight. If that’s going to bother you, this game honestly may not be for you. Also, be mindful that this game is rated M for a reason. There’s plenty of gore, including—but definitely not limited to—dismembered bodies, medieval-European-style torture, and violent death cutscenes, and this stuff isn’t fit for kids. In fact, we know several gamer friends who couldn’t even finish Outlast because it was too scary, so if Outlast 2 is too scary for you, don’t feel bad—it’s honestly a terrifying game! So if you’re up for a fresh survival horror challenge, we suggest downloading Outlast 2 very soon.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Red Barrels
Developer – Red Barrels
Price – $29.99
Genre – Adventure, Action, Horror
Size – 9.6.GB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.