[As Read on GIO.]
[Titled: A Second Thought: Outlast]
Today’s blog might be a little bit on the short side, as the previous few days’ have been, and that is mainly because I’m still a little burnt out from work and other life things happening currently- and, probably because I spent so much time and effort working on Day 8’s blog. I jest, I jest. In reality, this blog doesn’t honestly need to be that long, as it is merely talks about some of the extra little details I deigned to leave out of my actual game review, or accidentally did so anyways. I’ve done a blog similar to this before, although that was for my followup to the review I created for The Last of Us. I’d include a link, but I don’t feel like doing so currently- don’t worry though, I’ll add in that link at a later date…possibly. If not, feel free to look on my last few pages of blogs, as it wasn’t too terribly long ago… Anyway, let’s get down to this, shall we?
There is one aspect of the game that just screams “double edged sword!” at me every time I play it, and considering that it is literally the major facet of the medium-sized game, it is a very important thing to correctly produce, in my opinion. That aspect would be the creative choice not to allow Miles the use of any sort of defensible components or weapons. I mean, heck, they don’t even give him a flashlight! Although they do throw us a found-footage bone in the guise of giving us a camera, which we then cling lovingly to for the remainder of the game, seeing as it is our only tool from the onset. We run for our lives, cradling the thing, we peer into the gloomy depths with its night vision, and we hide, breathing heavily in lockers. Kodak would truly be proud or what we do and where we go with this essential, battery-eating tool. And that’s another slightly annoying aspect of the camera- the battery collection, which can be very time-consuming, and I can’t help but think was thrown in both to add in that classic survival horror flair, and to lengthen the game’s short experience a bit, by tedious bit. Oh well, just my two cents worth there.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about, which is also a creative “double edged sword” in a way, is the exposition of the game itself. Now, I know many games explain things via text at their onset, such as many Zelda games and literally every Star Wars game, but come on! Three lines? That’s basically it?! With an intriguing survival plot and the secular and poetic beliefs thrown inhere and there that the less investigative gamers around could easily miss, you’re not even going to give us at least some sort of cutscene or swell narration? That just kind of comes off as a sleight. I (think) I probably know why Red Barrel did things this way, but it still leaves me slightly inconvenienced and annoyed personally. But again, oh well, nothing major, major.
And now for my final point of today’s little ditty. Let’s talk a bit about the character animations and models. For the most part, having the same bald-headed, bland models doing the same deadly and scary as hell movements and ripping works perfectly fine in a game where you spend more time in the dark, hiding, or running than you do much else, much less paying attention to details. However, at the times when things are as slowly paced as they often are at the “peaceful” times in the game, you can’t help but to start noticing the little details that don’t add up. For example, as other gamers have made note of in their own reviews, sometimes, when you leave a particular area, your foes will incredibly (lucky for you) lose interest in you and continue their searches elsewhere. While this is a godsend and a cruel joke at times, it is also quite unusual, odd, and otherwise disheartening to see the break in the otherwise pretty realistic experience. I know this seems like I’m looking the gift horse in the mouth, but it just gets better. Occasionally, you will stumble back into the enemy’s patrol area, and voila!- its right back to being ripped apart, as if the valkyrie has descended from nowhere to wreak havoc upon your day. Even better, sometimes enemies will stumble into odd portions of floors and snap a bit into the texture, therefore essentially breaking the game’s experience. These are little things that often accompany many PC games, but that doesn’t make them any less disheartening to encounter.