Preview: Outlast 2

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(This article was originally posted in October, 2016. Therefore, you’re out of luck if you wanted to download the demo. Sorry!)

With Hallowe’en upon us, developer Red Barrels released a timely demo of their upcoming horror-survival game Outlast 2. The playable teaser is currently on Steam, Xbox One, and PS4, but it can only be downloaded until November 1. You’ll want to grab it before then, because it has all the makings of an instant classic. 

I first went hands-on with the demo in August at X16 in Toronto, and even in that much less scary month Outlast 2 left me severely unnerved. It introduces Blake Langermann, who goes to solve a mysterious murder in Arizona only to encounter some seriously terrifying scenarios. As is often the case with horror, it’s best to go into the playable teaser blind and ignorant (like the protagonist). Though there are some quality jump-scares throughout the 20-minute demo (all of which worked on me), the technique isn’t overused. Instead, the game utilizes psychological elements to terrorize the player. There are off-putting images of abandoned classrooms and a cornfield school yard, while silence builds suspense for what is (and is not) to come. I tried to brace myself, but even if I was correct about what was around the corner, the buildup still had a lingering effect.

The Outlast 2 demo doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of blood or violence, but according to Red Barrels co-founder and Senior Game Designer Philipe Morin, the team hopes their upcoming effort will push boundaries in the horror game genre.

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