29th Mar2018

‘Outlast: Bundle of Terror’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

outlast-switch-header

In Outlast: Bundle of Terror, Switch owners are treated to perhaps one of the most terrifying first person horror experiences ever made, which is even more personal as the result of the way in which Switch games immerse players so deeply into the experience. That said, Outlast is almost five years old now and despite being released on next generation hardware, it is still visually impressive.

When I heard about its relatively surprising release on the Switch, I was curious about how Outlast would hold up both because of its age and due to the hardware on which it is being played. There have, of course, been many Xbox 360 and PS3 ports onto Nintendo’s excellent hybrid console, but not all of them have been entirely successful due to the way that the Switch manages and distributes its processing efforts.

The first thing to say, then, is that the Switch port of Outlast (and its bundled Whistleblower DLC) is entirely successful from a technical perspective. Whilst suggesting that it is actually better looking than the original console versions would be a stretch, it is certainly a game that benefits from the small, clear screen – and of course that intimacy that I mentioned earlier. Played using decent headphones on a late, dark train home is quite a daunting prospect I can assure you.

The game itself (at least based on my memories of the original Xbox 360 version) is more or less completely unchanged. It features both the story of Miles Upshur and that of The Whistleblower, who is the man actually responsible for giving Miles the tip off that leads him to exploring the setting for both parts of the game; the Mount Massive Asylum. Both stories are entirely standalone, although they cross in interesting and intelligent ways.

Whilst Outlast does tell a story that has been told a thousand times before (just another asylum filled with creepy, chain dragging cannibals) it delivers the narrative with a certain panache. It also features several of the walking/horror simulator tropes that are now commonplace – for example, the player character has no weapon and carries only a video camera (equipped with night vision) to keep them company.

As a result, the player must negotiate their way around the asylum whilst all the while being hunted by some very, very scary nasty’s. In most cases, running and hiding is the best option and whilst Alien: Isolation refined the concept of hiding, shaking in lockers whilst an ememy prowled outside, Outlast does it exceptionally well, especially when dealing with the main antagonist, who is so horrifying that I won’t describe him here for fear of spoilers.

Ultimately, Outlast: Bundle of Terror is a fantastic addition to the Switch catalogue and it easily lines up alongside Layers of Fear and Resident Evil: Revelations as one of the very best horror games available to Switch players. It may be a relatively old game now, but it proves that well done, classic horror is just as effective today as it ever has been, with jump scares and heart pounding chases galore to make the point.

**** 4/5

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