Two and a half years after Outlast (opens in new tab) let players explore a creepy asylum until they got killed or their cameras ran out of batteries, Outlast 2 (opens in new tab) has arrived. The first-person survival horror follow-up trades the claustrophobic halls of Mount Massive for cultist-patrolled cornfields and unnervingly quiet church sanctuaries. The GamesRadar+ Outlast 2 review tried to embrace the fear but was too frustrated by the trial-and-error enemy encounters to ever really enjoy it. What do other critics think? Let's take a look.
Outlast 2's visuals and graphics - Twinfinite (opens in new tab) (3/5)
"In fact, all of Outlast 2 is visually appealing. I often found myself simply staring at various vistas, thinking about how evil lurked under that same moonlight. There’s a surprising amount of detail in everything you see, and it helps add to the immersion of the world as you slowly move through it or run for your life. The first game looked good for sure, but this sequel definitely outclasses its predecessor in every way, and may very well be the best looking horror game of this year so far."
Outlast 2's oppressive atmosphere - Easy Allies (opens in new tab) (4/5)
"Outlast 2’s greatest strength is its atmosphere. There is clear inspiration from films like The Hills Have Eyes, The Sacrament and The Descent but Red Barrels have still managed to create a unique world. Murky woods, mutilated corpses and dilapidated cottages contribute to a constant feeling of trepidation. The attention to detail in each environment is enveloping, hindered only by the fact that it’s hard to stop and take in the sights while being constantly hunted. Deranged lunatics prowl the surroundings hell-bent on killing you, and the sinister soundtrack ramps up at all the right moments. The vast Arizona desert feels isolated from the rest of the world, emphasizing vulnerability and loneliness."
Outlast 2's not-so-open level design - Paste (opens in new tab) (3/10)
"Levels are large and have multiple areas for exploration, but only one route for escape. Rather than relying on our wits, and thanks to a very forgiving checkpoint system, we overcome enemies using trial and error. Such is Outlast 2’s most damaging contradiction. By taking our weapons and placing us, often, in diffuse arenas with many places to hide, it suggests we use our minds and skills to succeed; by providing ultimately but one means for survival, one right door we must open, one right wall we must climb, one right lever to turn, it precludes any initiative."
Outlast 2's intense moments and quiet spells - Polygon (opens in new tab) (7.5/10)
"The encounter design is inconsistent, even if it isn't uniformly terrible. Outlast 2 feels at its best at two extremes: first, when it focuses on chase sequences, where you’re supposed to just run through the environment as fast as you can, sliding under debris and jumping into open windows like an amateur parkour enthusiast; and second, when it cuts out enemies entirely and just allows you to explore creepy environments and piece together the plot. These are the moments where Outlast 2 hit a great stride, and I got comfortable enough with the game to allow myself to get freaked out."
Outlast 2's frustrating trial and error - GameSpot (opens in new tab) (7/10)
"To make matters worse, the game's most harrowing moments--those sequences where you're spotted by an enemy and must flee to safety--frequently devolve into trial-and-error tedium. Almost invariably, these chases are scripted, meaning you must get from point A to a specific point B as quickly as possible. Problem is, point B is rarely obvious. It might be a tiny opening you have to crawl through or a bookcase you have to move, but you'll only have a few seconds to figure it out before your pursuers catch up and kill you, forcing you to replay most of the chase in order to return to the apparent dead end where you got stuck. At that point, the game stops being scary and simply becomes frustrating."
Outlast 2's religious themes - PC Gamer (opens in new tab) (85/100)
"Long after the final minutes of Outlast 2, I felt queasy, uncertain that what I saw had actually happened. It’s one of the most bizarre ending sequences I’ve witnessed, tapping into a fear I’ve known since my first week at Sunday school. It's not a fear about being hunted, artistic viscera spills, or neatly arranged corpses on spikes (though there’s plenty of that stuff). It’s fear of the drastic measures people will take to ensure their salvation, the burden of guilt, and whether or not the big guy up top exists and gives a damn."
If that isn't enough shrieking at your screen for you, check out our list of the 20 best horror games of all time (opens in new tab) and read our Resident Evil 7 review (opens in new tab).