by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
The Gates of Hell (cntd)
Do you remember the opening of Resident Evil 4 when Leon happens upon a small town, and then he has told hold out for a certain amount of time? I want you to imagine that scene, but with no firepower and in the dead of night. I want you to imagine where if you startle the locals, it could very well mean certain death if you don’t know what you’re doing. I ask you to imagine that, because it’s exactly what you’ll be doing in quite a few portions of the game. Hiding spots have been expanded upon from the first game, as well as ways to delay your pursuers. Locking doors to buy yourself a few precious seconds to decide if you hide under a bed, in a closet, push a book case in front of a door, or climb out a window and hope that you don’t land on anything that crunches loud enough to alert them never gets old. Oh, and word to the wise; don’t make the same mistake I did and assume that NPCs can’t follow you into crawlspaces. They can, and they will butcher you ankles and upward.
There’s not much I can say about the scripted sequences as they’d be spoiler heavy, but even though they’re going to be very memorable and predictable in future, I think the design of these unique encounters will make sure that they stay scary even if the initial shock factor wears off. They are far less numerous than in the first game though, taking a backseat to the freeform encounters against the townsfolk.
You can enter nearly every structure, and almost all of them are worth it if for nothing else a place to catch your breath. But you can also find much needed batteries for your camera, bandages for your wounds, and of course the scrawlings of mad men and diaries of twisted women spread about shedding further light on just what insanities reigns in this society.
Only Rated M?
Quite frankly, I’m surprised this game only slid by with a Mature rating and not Adults Only. The carnage within is pretty extreme for a videogame and while it certainly elevates the fear factor, there were a few moments where I did have to give the game a break not because of the fear but because my stomach started to turn. Now maybe I’m just a bit sensitive but let me tell you, when some of the things within also contain male genital mutilation as a guy I definitely flinch. When it gets thrown in my face a few times in quick succession, I need to walk off for a moment. The gore in the game is extremely over the top, but pertains to the scenes perfectly. To sum it up, if the “birth” scene of Outlast’s DLC Whistleblower made you wince or uneasy, this will as well. Several times.
A lesser, but still noteworthy thing to mention is the game has several instances of partial and full male and female nudity. A few are in a sexual context, but most is just addition to the horror fodder.
None of this goes against how I feel about the game overall however, I just found it to be worth bringing up for those who do have boundaries of what they can and can’t stomach in media. Some of the gore made me uneasy, but when horror can make me feel more emotion than just fear that’s a damned good feat. I can say this much; I’ll be surprised if there is much uncensored gameplay on YouTube with how strict they can be.
A perfect storm of gore, atmosphere, tension, scripted and unscripted scares and a memorable plot that dares to explore darkness that can hide within the human psyche, what more can be said? Playing the game on even just normal mode for seven and a half hours was an inviting challenge of fear, misery, adrenaline, and despair which when combined together spells out fun in my book. The closest thing I can give to a negative is that the ending is a severe cliffhanger, and I hope to hear that Red Barrels will be tying up the story one way or another. I’m in love with a monster, and her name is Outlast 2.
A perfect blend of gore, atmosphere, and tension. Scripted and unscripted moments provide countless moments of terror. Plot is one of the darkest I’ve experienced in gaming.
Cliffhanger ending leaves a few important things unanswered.