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Trick Or Retreat: Outlast Mixes Scares, Mirror's Edge

THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR SHIRT LET ME GET IT FOR YOU.

Alright now, everyone, gather ’round. I’m going to tell you a ghost story. One especially spooooooooky sunlit morning, we brought you word of Outlast, a PC-only survival-horror scare-a-thon from a group of folks who worked on Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, and Uncharted. The attached 50-second snippet of footage seemed to hold promise, but tickled fancies more than it did scarybones. Now, though, developer Red Barrels has shoved a camera into the mouth of Outlast’s madness to show us its guts and – somewhat shockingly – they look kind of like Mirror’s Edge. See for yourself after the brea– oh, right, the ghost story. So anyway, it turns out that John is only a cloud of bats that walks and talks like a man. Ghost bats. From outer space.

My feelings on this one are mixed. On one hand, most of the “scares” in that trailer are so predictable that I’ve gotten more of a rush from friends pranking me by leaping out and shouting “boo!” Also, for all of Red Barrels’ ballyhooing about maniacal human enemies, that thing giving chase sure did look supernatural. Then again, it also opted to sneak up on the player at the last minute, so hopefully there’s more to Outlast’s asylum inhabitants than meets the eye.

I really like the apparent focus on running (away) and climbing over running and gunning, though. And did you see? We get to have legs! It saddens me to live in a world where the majority of first person games still haven’t adopted Mirror’s-Edge-style character embodiment mechanics, but I appreciate that Outlast is attempting to get it right. It seems pretty unique in that respect, too. I mean, have we seen any other asylum-bound hair-raisers that put emphasis on level flow, avoiding obstacles, and verticality? I’m also interested in finding out more about what sort of the role the camera will play, given that the main character’s a journalist and all.

So then, to sum up, I am wary of Outlast but also intrigued, and John is bats. It’ll be out in 2013.

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Nathan Grayson

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