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We just played Outlast 2, sequel to one of the most terrifying games ever

The original Outlast has been one of the most terrifying games on consoles since it launched in 2014. Things will soon get even scarier as developer Red Barrels is hard at work on Outlast 2 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam. We played an early version of the new game at PAX East in Boston and came away thoroughly spooked. Read on for full impressions and interview and gameplay video!

A whole new terror

Outlast 2 PAX East screenshot

In Outlast 2, you play as new protagonist Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist and cameraman. Along with his wife Lynn, Blake is investigating the bizarre murder of a pregnant woman whose identity remains unknown. The pair follows the trail of the crime deep into the Arizona desert, where disaster awaits them…

As the PAX East demo begins, Blake and Lynn are traveling by helicopter over the desert. Something causes their helicopter to crash in a canyon, separating the pair. Blake awakens alone and disoriented in the desert night, with only the night vision of his video camera to guide him.

The camera plays an integral role in Outlast 2, just as it did in the first game. At any moment, players look through the camera to view their surroundings. Much of Outlast 2 takes place in extreme darkness, so the camera's night vision mode will prove invaluable. But using the camera drains its battery, which Blake will have to replace if he wants to continue seeing in the dark. Managing the camera and its batteries proves a huge source of tension in Outlast 2, in addition to other terrors.

Blake soon wanders into an isolated settlement filled with rundown shacks and signs of life. Evasive locals peer at him from a distance before vanishing into the night – their glowing eyes caused by the camera's night vision proving most unsettling. Some of the buildings Blake can enter are occupied only by a dead person or two, their cause of death unknown.

In the distance, our hero hears a woman's shouts. Is someone hurting his wife? He runs to investigate, eventually heading down a lone path beyond the settlement. At the end of the road, a mine promises answers – only to reveal even more disturbing imagery.

Out of the frying pan

Outlast 2 PAX East screenshot

The protagonist walks past an unholy altar covered in blood, with someone's detached face rotting on the wall. Just beyond, Blake stumbles into a shallow pit filled with small rotting bodies – possibly those of children. A hole in the ceiling above shines an inverted cross down on the nightmarish pile.

Our hero's situation doesn't improve from there. He soon encounters a hole in the ground, from which a long and monstrous tongue reaches out and pulls him in. Outlast 2 won't just have insane people as its enemies but actual monsters, it seems!

Blake awakens inside of a series of shafts, which eventually lead him into the halls of an abandoned high school. The school looks normal enough, but down the corridor, we discover a female body hanging from the neck. Something eerily pulls her up into the ceiling.

Soon, an assailant gives Blake chase down the hall. Our hero has no defense against this monstrous humanoid, so he must hide in a locker until it passes by. Like the first game, stealth is players' only defense against the malevolent enemies. Combined with the ever-present darkness and limited camera battery life, this gives players a constant sense of danger and doom.

Eventually, Blake exits the school only to arrive in one of the desert townspeople's homes. The resident means to harm our hero, who must quickly run into the basement and hopefully find a means of escape. It's like finding yourself in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, assaulted by horrifying country folk. The reason for their enmity and dark rituals remains to be seen.

Get ready for the scares

Outlast 2 PAX East screenshot

That's about all I could take from the demo, which was held in a suitably pitch dark room. Outlast 2 looked absolutely amazing on the demo PC, with an incredible level of environmental detail. The game takes place entirely in first-person, which puts you in the middle of its nightmarish reality. Although we didn't get to check out the Xbox One version of Outlast 2 at the show, the original is one of the better looking indie games on consoles. Part 2 shouldn't disappoint there either.

Outlast 2 is due out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam in the fall. Be sure to watch our video for more details and plenty of spooky footage!

Did you guys play the first Outlast, and can your heart take even more frights from the sequel

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

32 Comments
  • Scary games aren't my thing but the graphics are pretty good. I know some folks will enjoy this quite a bit. Great interview Paul.
  • Imagine how this would play on VR. Direct heart attack!
  • I played whistle blower with vr..... Just gonna put a " f off.. And leave me alone forever in this corner " in here lul
  • I'd rather not.
  • Interesting, never been a big survival or walking simulator fan myself. They often disappointed me with the lack of engagement. This sounds like it does a good job with that, and I can only hope we get a stream to rival Slender's!
  • You don't do a lot of walking in this. Lots of hiding, screaming and running.
  • Yeah, he's giving "walking simulator" an overly broad meaning. The genre here is simply first-person horror.
  • Ehh, I guess? There are very few games with a single-genre element, especially nowadays. With this game, it seems everything is about limited to walking and observing. A game can be survival without being this (The Evil Within), so calling "first-person horror" the genre doesn't describe much of anything about it.
  • We could throw stealth in the description if we want to be especially technical. But walking simulator generally means that walking is the only form of interaction players have with a game. It doesn't just apply to all games that lack combat. There's a world of difference between actual "walking simulators" (Dear Esther and Gone Home) and the Outlast series.
  • Well, sure, but that's why I described it as both a survival game AND a walking simulator. Game's aren't single-genre in almost any case, as I stated. What you described it as initially was just "horror" (since "first-person" tells you nothing about the mechanics of the game), but that's similarly incredibly vague. Just to say, you called what I said overly broad, then used something even more vague. I'm not goign to start using the entire mechanics of a game to define its genre, it's those core elements (survival and walking simulator) that I think highlight the main interactions of the game, and I was stating that those are not things that attract me much in games. But, as I said, this also sounds like it might do it better than most. I don't play much in the way of survival/horror games because they don't impress me. I watched my cousin pay the first Amnesia, and I was baffled as to why he was tense about stuff. The Evil Within basically cut its own legs off with bad mechanics. It seems like too many games of those types fall short on tension/horror and underdeliver on game mechanics. The latter is something this game would still worry me with (hence the "walking simulator" assessment), but it at least sounds like it reasonably completes the objective of giving you a tense environment.
  • Outlast is less then a survival game, and more a run and hide horror show. While a survival game lets you interact in a mostly non linear way with the game world and lets you creat gear and equip after time to progress or survive better , outlast more or less breaks your bones over the time in game and makes it just more horrifying. You just become more dead, and don't walk nor run after some point.
    So I would rephrase what I said up there actually and say outlast is a sneaking simulator more then anything else.
  • never played outlast but this looks much scarier than the first game i would pick this up if they bundled it with the first game with the dlc. thank you paul for the coverage at pax east Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • I screamed, jumped and felt terrified probably 1000 times in Outlast. I suggest for the full experience to play in the dark, headphones, no one home.
  • You wanna kill him ? Playing the game with headphones and alone is enough dude :D
  • Played this alongside my brother last summer. Only game where we were breathless with shirts soaked through with sweat after particular tense sections. About the only horror game I'd suggest that truly is horror. (and I played Amnesia and it just didn't do it for me.)
  • I don't know if this looks scarier......I think the first was pretty scary as the psychos were actually real mental paitents...that, THAT was scary, because it was very possible. This looks kinda scary on a different level.
  • This one does escalate the threat, but there are regular humans after the hero too. I just didn't go into much detail about it because that part happened right before I stopped playing.
  • Already digging the different environments
  • Never played the first one, but I like the look of this. Man, Dead Space made me jump like mad on my first play through, this looks like it may do the same.
  • If dead space Waa horrific. Then you should never , ever play outlast. Because dead space is like a barbie game compared to the first outlast
  • Looks cool! I very much sp enjoyed the first outlast!
  • Super excited about this! I loved the original and can't wait to play this one too!
  • Need this...in VR.
  • I've played Outlast before! Just awesome...... Especially the jumpscares!
  • Give me a bazooka or flame thrower or at least a baseball bat. I wouldn't like this game at all.
  • i purchased the last never finnished it angel never started it she was to scared. i probly wont buy the next.
  • Have you seen **** goes side ways? yes this game would probably do that LOL!
  • wth with silient questions? can't listen to it in background this way!
  • We had some sound issues, so I had to subtitle the questions.
  • Currently lets laying outlast.... Freaking **** to letsplay... I always piss my pants because the graphics and the love on details in this game keep me from noticing what's going on hahaha :D But nah, outlast was a horror show. Loved it
  • Oh I absolutly loved the first one. I bought it through steam on some promo for like $5....I figured 'hey $5 dollars, it looks good enough...' Oh man was that amazing. I played it all the way through, as well as the addon. I would\should have paid like $20 for how amazing it was. Playing that in the dark in HD with surround headphones on......OMG it was so scary I had trouble sleeping some nights. Cannot wait to play this!
  • Still have to beat outlast 1