What I'm Playing: Outlast

If this game depicts the life of a journalist, then Tom Moorcroft wants out.

Tom Moorcroft
31st October 2019
Image: IGDB
As Halloween nears, I can’t help but think back  on the scariest games I played during my childhood, and one comes to mind straight away: Outlast. For those unaware of the 2014 cult classic, you play as Miles Usphur, an investigative journalist who, after receiving an anonymous email, decides to investigate the horrifying experiments being conducted on patients at an asylum.

Sounds scary, right? That doesn’t even scratch the surface on how terrifying this game really is (not least when you’re fourteen).

Whilst the narrative itself is shocking, the immersive nature of the game, refusing to adopt a third person camera and instead using first person, coupled with the lack of a health bar or any other conventional heads up display elements, left me immersed in a way I haven’t been in other horror games. At times I felt as if I was actually inside this asylum, and I’m not afraid to admit I had to take a few breaks as my heart rate climbed; whether this was whilst getting chased by violent patients down the hall, or  being mutilated on a surgery table by Doctor Trager.

"What if I told you the game is set, for the most part, in complete darkness, and the only way you can see is through the screen of an infra-red camera?"

Sound a bit scarier? What if I told you the game is set, for the most part, in complete darkness, and the only way you can see is through the screen of an infra-red camera? And to make matters worse, the camera eats batteries like there’s no tomorrow, so you have to constantly be on the lookout for more.

Trust me, you haven’t known fear until you’re trapped in a basement, in complete darkness, with no batteries. And that’s the thing… YOU believe that you’re trapped in this basement, water up to your knees, hiding from crazed inmates. YOU believe that you’re on the lookout for batteries, fearing the worst if you're unsuccessful in your search. YOU believe that you’re one step away from making a grave mistake.

"...for that 10 minute period, we were Miles Usphur, and it was scary enough to make us turn off the Xbox and stick FIFA on instead."

I can remember first playing the game when I was 14, going round to my mates house, and making it 10 minutes before we switched to something a little less nightmare prone. But for that 10 minute period, we were Miles Usphur, and it was scary enough to make us turn off the Xbox and stick FIFA on instead.

Outlast is a testament to how immersive gaming can be, and whilst reflecting on my experience of playing this game, it’s brought back a lot of good memories. For anyone reading this who isn’t persuaded of how scary the game is, I recommend you give it a download. You can buy all 3 games for around £7-8, a small price to pay for guaranteed terror!

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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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