Outlast is right at home on the Switch…

Ah, the Switch. Nintendo’s most triumphant console in recent years has been met with so much praise since its release last year. The idea of a home console that you can seamlessly take on the move and back to your TV with no delay is possibly the best new innovation that Nintendo has come up with. Compared to the Wii U, the games have been better, the software is better, and the portable aspect is perfect for travelling gamers. One of the best parts about the Switch is how many developers have seen its success and are now running with it, and game production has only been on the incline. Whereas the Wii U put off developers, the Switch has been met with open arms, with many Nintendo games being remastered as the “definitive” editions of those games. But one of the most exciting parts about the Switch is how many good, deserving games are being redeveloped for the portable platform.

Outlast has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first Indie “Walking Simulator” games I ever played. And it scared the shit out of me. The reason I love these kinds of horror games, like Slender: The Arrival and Amnesia, to name a few, are the situations of feeling utterly futile and the vulnerable situations you are placed in. With no weapons, you are suddenly exposed and constantly in danger, forcing you to use stealth and cunning to get around obstacles. It’s too easy to give a character a weapon, and horror games with lots of weapons, in my opinion, take away from both the immersion and the scare factor. I recently started playing Call of Duty: Zombies again, and Call of Duty WWII’s Nazi Zombies mode did an amazing job of using music cues and jump scares to create atmosphere while killing zombies. But give your character access to ridiculous weaponry and perks and suddenly the game is a lot less scary. It’s reasons like this that games like Outlast have such success.

The fact that I can now play Outlast on the move is amazing. It’s not a relatively high-spec game, so it makes sense that porting it to the Switch would be a move in the right direction. There are no motion controls, but with games like this all it needs is a good port, so you can embarrass yourself on a busy train when an unexpected jump scares occurs (true story) to get all that you need from it. It’s no different to PlayStation or Xbox versions, and from what I can tell the graphics are almost the same too, so very little is lost with the Nintendo Switch version.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Outlast, this survival horror game features protagonist Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist investigating psychiatric hospital Mount Massive Asylum after receiving a tip-off from an employee that inhumane experiments were being conducted on patients. Miles is soon trapped in the asylum and armed only with a video camera and a limited supply of batteries and some at times comical hide-and-seek games with scary inmates to protect himself. Hiding or running are your only two options here, and the game does a great job of using music to get your heart rate racing as you scramble to find a hiding place. In fact, the game does such a good job of using music and lighting it’s easy to be too scared to even walk down corridors, frightened of what might be lurking in the shadows.

The DLC, Whistleblower, is also included. This story follows Waylon Park, the man who contacted Miles in the full game, and his experiences after being caught sending information to Miles. Whistleblower DLC is easily just as good as Outlast, with much of the gameplay being the same, but running almost parallel to the full game, you get a glimpse of what was happening elsewhere in the asylum.

If you are a fan of survival horrors, or twisted enough to like being in fearful situations with no way of defending yourself, like I am, then I’m sure you will enjoy this game thoroughly. It’s not a particularly long game, but the experience is what counts with games like this, and what this game provides is unforgettable. But Outlast is right at home on the Switch, and I would recommend it to any Switch owner regardless of interests, as in my opinion it is an essential game. Bring on Outlast 2!

9/10

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