Outlast is the newest PS4 addition to the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, and it’s frankly terrifying. You must explore the Mount Massive Asylum and uncover the strange goings on there, but unlike other survival horror games you have no weapons at your disposal. This means confrontations with the twisted inmates can only end one of two ways--you escape, or you die.
If you rush into the madhouse completely unprepared you’ll quickly end up like the unfortunate chap in the image above, so we’ve put together a set of survival tips to keep you alive through the dark corridors and foreboding wards that lie within its walls.
If you charge around the Asylum like a bull in a china shop, you’ll soon attract the attention of the inmates and things will turn sour fast. The key to survival is taking a stealthy approach, and always checking the area ahead before you proceed.
By using L2 and R2 you can lean to the side to look around obstacles, and if you’re stood by a doorway or wall you’ll lean on it and peek out--try not to get freaked out when your hand appears on screen to brace yourself! While peeking you can also pull up your camcorder and use the zoom function to see further ahead, to get a better idea of what’s to come.
When opening doors, hold down Square then nudge the left stick to reveal which direction it opens in. You can then slowly push in the required direction to move the door quietly ajar and see what’s on the other side before choosing your moment to proceed.
Use your ears
Obviously being able to see an enemy in front of you is a dead giveaway that trouble’s ahead, but audio clues can be just as useful for locating your foes. Listening out for their muttering voices or approaching footsteps can give you advanced warning of their presence and allow you time to hide before they arrive.
Likewise, when hiding and unable to fully observe the room you’re in, you can use the sound of the inmates footsteps fading away to determine when you’re back in the clear. In certain areas you can even work out where they’re patrolling by listening to the sound their steps make on different surfaces.
Ration your batteries
There are plenty of dark areas to navigate within the Asylum, and unless you plan on bumbling around blindly you’ll need to use the Night Vision mode on your camcorder. However, this constantly drains your battery life when activated so try to use it sparingly and be sure to switch it off as soon as you reach a better lit location.
Always be on the lookout for glowing spare batteries and grab as many as possible to hold in reserve--you can carry up to 10 in Normal mode but this capacity is reduced on the harder difficulties. Pressing Triangle at any point while in camera mode will insert a new battery, but you should avoid doing this until the previous one has completely expired to get maximum use from your limited supplies.
Although it’s often a hindrance, the darkness can also be useful in some situations as it allows you to hide from patrolling enemies--make sure you don’t move when they’re near though, or the sound may give away your position.
Switches are noisy
There are a number of puzzle-like tasks that you need to complete in order to proceed through the game, most of which involve activating switches or turning on machinery. Although these are a requirement to move the story forward, they invariably make a lot of noise that alerts nearby enemies and draws them to your location.
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to push a switch or pull a lever, take a minute to survey the area first and identify the nearest hiding place. That way, as soon as you trigger the next event you can quickly get yourself out of sight, and whoever comes to investigate will safely pass you by.
Know your enemies
Although encounters with them are pretty frightening, bear in mind that inmates will appear at the same locations every time, which means you should be subjected to much fewer scares once you start identifying where they can be found.
Enemies that move around will always follow the same scripted patrol routes, so by taking your time and observing them you can spot opportunities to slip past undetected. Make sure you say hidden or keep a safe distance away while watching them, otherwise you’ll end up initiating a chase sequence.
Always have an escape plan
Familiarise yourself with your surroundings while exploring the Asylum and make a mental note of any hiding places you see along the way. Should you unexpectedly bump into an enemy you’ll need to turn on your heels and flee, and knowing where the nearest hiding spots are could save your life.
When escaping a chase sequence you first need to make sure you break the line of sight with your pursuer so they don’t observe where you go, which can be achieved by turning corners and shutting doors behind you, then find a place to hide once you’re out of view and wait for them to pass.
Enemies have the ability to vault over obstacles but they can’t crawl/squeeze through gaps or climb up ledges, giving you escape routes where hiding isn’t an option. Remember--you are faster than your foes so you can always outrun them.
Death is not the end
Naturally the whole point of survival horror games is to stay alive, but if you get caught and killed in Outlast it’s not the end of your game--unless you’re playing on Insane mode, but there’s more on that in the next slide. If you do meet your demise at the hands of a crazed Mount Massive resident, the worst that will happen is you’ll be sent back to the previous checkpoint to try again.
Although this gives you a safety net and makes dying a much less scary prospect, you can still lose a generous amount of progress if you were in the middle of a multi-step task at the time. Bear in mind that although you can pause and save the game at any point, if you reload this file afterwards you’ll resume at the last checkpoint you passed, so there’s no benefit in terms of preserving progress to saving regularly during a play session.
Beat Insane mode
To unlock one of Outlast’s two gold Trophies you’ll need to finish it in Insane mode, which is described as the ‘ultimate heart-attack experience’--it's the hardest difficulty available and has no checkpoints or save game opportunities, meaning a single death at any point will wipe out all your progress and send you right back to the beginning.
The increased difficulty means enemies must be avoided at all costs, as any of them can kill you with one or two blows. Also, you can only carry two camcorder batteries at a time and there are a lot fewer spares to be found, meaning you’ll need to remember the location of these power packs and backtrack to collect them as and when they’re required.
Make sure you’ve played through the entire story at least once before attempting Insane Mode, as you need to know exactly where you’re going and what you need to do in advance so you don’t get caught out.
So, those are our survival tips--hopefully we’ve given you enough information to keep out of the inmates’ clutches and stay alive, because now you’re on your own. Use our advice to push on through the Asylum, and uncover the truth about the mysterious events taking place inside.
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