The most disgusting game of the year is here and Steam is loving it

The Outlast exams is overly nasty and obscene – appropriate considering it’s developer Red Barrels’ first sequel in six years, and in the best sense of the word. abominable Survive survival horror series. Since his Early Access release On May 18, the blood-soaked multiplayer took place slides up the Steam chartswhich makes me nostalgic for a return The gross horror of the last decade. But the game — at least in its Early Access form — is often more frustrating than spooky full-throttle horror.

That’s a shame, because it’s the refined commitment to maximalism that has made me so obsessed with the original Survive a decade ago. This game balanced the overwhelming, animalistic fear (being overwhelmed, being trapped in the unfamiliar darkness, cannibalism) by stretching it thin and long, like spun sugar, until you felt like you were just screaming in excitement . The protagonist Miles Upshur could never fight back. He just gasped and hid and watched, trembling, as monstrous humans searched for him in the pitch darkness, bone scissors in hand.

A protagonist from the Outlast Trials clutches her bloody hand.

screenshot: Red Barrels / Kotaku

like the original game, The Outlast exams enjoy making you weak. In first-person and without the ability to fight back, you loosely adjustable The character stumbles through several gruesome “tests” where the seedy Murkoff Corporation has tricked her into playing human guinea pigs. “Let the wonders of science give you meaning,” said the cheerful pink aviator. “The world owes you everything.”

Welcome to the real world

Yes, exactly. The world actually puts you in a haunted house, waiting for you to die. I experience it in my roughly two hour gameplay, which begins with a tutorial “attempt” in which I must destroy crates containing my public and private records in a sizzling meat grinder. I navigate the tutorial house on my own, but in later trials I can add up to four players to complete tasks such as kidnapping a snitch while the police are being tortured or finding antipsychotics beforehand my violent hallucination sucks up my entire health bar. If you lose track of reality in multiplayer, you might also see a teammate’s doppelganger, unfortunately armed with a knife. Rich in quests and cheaters, Try is disgusting Between usI state soberly.

For the first few minutes I spend in the practice house, I hesitate to turn corners and open doors for fear of what I might find. That is a Survive game you know What if a depraved Mormon in rubber boots walked by and split my ass open with a meat hook?

And then comes the moment I’d been dreading: my Murkoff-issued night-vision goggles run out of battery after I couldn’t find another, and I prepare to sink into a dawning dread.

But the goggles turned out to work reasonably well without power, and after I’ve made up my mind to keep exploring, I realize there’s just more corners around the corner. Unlike a lo-fi HellraiserWhen the looking character smashes my head in after I accidentally step on some crusty glass (“What the heck,” he mutters before finding me), I’m not scared. Nothing bad happens.

I’m beginning to find amusement at the game’s many cheesy attempts at intimidation. The house is filled with stiff animatronics holding knives and a lady with a skin mask and a duck puppet buzzes a giant drill into my hand. After she puts another screaming Murkoff test subject in the meat grinder, I step onto the floor in patches of red gristle. Cute.

Try Tutorial complete

Real trials are similarly overdone but lack excitement. After I finish the tutorial, a static TV tells me I’ve been reincarnated. I go to the bunk room, an embellished pigsty with personalized cells (for 100 of the in-game currency you earn every time you try a trial, even if you don’t complete it, you can decorate your walls with it The thin blue line Poster). I go to the pharmacy where other online players are congregating, but find out that I don’t have the required therapy level to interact with it. Imagine that.

In the dormitory you can choose thematic tests that you can complete alone or in a group. Since Trials are only unlocked after completing the previous Trial, my only option is “Kill the Snitch”, with my goal being to “Silence”. [a prisoner’s] lies,” before allegedly babbling to police about Murkoff’s barbarism. Unfortunately, cops are crazy too. As the trial loads, it shows me an awesome cutscene of a cop having fun with a taser that sparkles with blue electricity prongs. I laugh. It looks like something that might be running on the concert screen during a diplo set.

A trial in The Outlast Trials features mannequins and burning police cars.

No, actually I’m fine.
screenshot: Red Barrels / Kotaku

Once in the process, I immediately detonate flashing red mines that release hallucinatory gas and electrocution before running straight into the sex-positive cop. Oops, I didn’t see any of that during the tutorial.

But because it is So There’s a lot to avoid, I don’t have enough time to really get scared. When I scream, it’s out of frustration, especially when the cop runs after me with his taser (“I hope you washed that first,” I want to tell him) and corners me even though I’m squatting in the dark, the place where bad guys hang out I shouldn’t see you. Since my stamina wears off quickly, I can’t run away either. Instead, I die too many times and get kicked out of the trial, earning me $100 and an “F” rating.

“F”, “F”, “F” reads a hallway lined with accusatory TVs. “You failed because you are a failure,” a floating voice informs me.

So I’m trying multiplayer again, hoping that maybe we can divide and conquer. But one of my teammates breaks off immediately as he enters the room and as someone lurks in wait for him Hellraiser Spawn unceremoniously impales me (despite my valiant attempts to hide from him), I’m embarrassed when the game tells my only remaining teammate that I’m bleeding to death.

I’m being offered the opportunity to see the game from a first-person perspective. I switch gears and watch as they come at me with a revitalizer. But then they hesitate and choose to leave the game instead. Oh ok. I’m gonna fuck myself now.

Any kind of social commentary Try could try (in life we ​​fight endlessly, just to make enough money to beat one The thin blue line posters on our cells) seems stifled by over-the-top level design and lackluster multiplayer. The game doesn’t immediately encourage you to be a good partner. It’s too cynical and concerned to ask, “Isn’t that so?” scared? Is not that so? rough?

Sure, yes. It is. But its enemies are unfairly relentless, and the game is often visually stunning (largely because it doesn’t have accessibility settings to turn off migraine-inducing blinking lights and aberrations). But while it feels a far cry from the knife-edge horror of the first game, The Outlast exams is at least entertaining in its absurdity. Of all the claims a horror game can make, this is certainly not the worst.

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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