The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn’t Miss

The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn't Miss

Despite not being the biggest fan of Outlast 2, the original Outlast and its Whistleblower DLC were some of my favourite survival horror experiences from the last decade. With the release of The Outlast Trials, I was eager to get strapped in and check out Red Barrels’ take on a multiplayer-focused Outlast.

Taking place inside a secret Murkoff labyrinthian prison, which acts as the central player hub and lobby, players occupy the space as one of the many unwilling guinea pigs. They are forced to partake in an increasingly sinister gauntlet of objectives with the vague promise of rehabilitation and escape.

Before getting access to the said gauntlets or trials, The Outlast Trials opens with a rather lengthy tutorial section but one that feels organic in that it successfully introduces the player to its world and setting. This includes introducing players to the sinister Mother Gooseberry, a deranged puppeteer and warden-type character who acts as the tutorial’s primary enemy that chases players throughout the game’s opening section à la Chris Walker or one of Outlast’s many other big bads.

The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn'T Miss

Outside of the exciting and terrifying story beats and giving returning players time to appreciate The Outlast Trial’s gorgeous visuals, the tutorial teaches the basics of playing the game. This, in essence, feels similar to just playing Outlast or Outlast 2 with an added emphasis on player abilities and having to juggle between solving light puzzles, inventory management and carrying heavy key items from different points on the map while avoiding detection.

The Outlast Trials can be played with upwards of 4 players, which is likely the ideal setup as each map can feel overwhelming for smaller party sizes.”

During my short time, I managed to get through the first three levels of the game, outside of the available 4, with the aid of a friend who joined me for some co-op action. It should be noted, however, that The Outlast Trials can be played with upwards of 4 players, which is likely the ideal setup as each map can feel overwhelming for smaller party sizes.

Each trial or level in the game is themed around a different setting that evokes that level’s warden or Prime Asset. For example, the first trial is called Police Station and features the character Leland Coyle, a darkly disturbed cop who only just manages to lampoon the real-life equivalent, thanks to his penchant for doling out pain to the player via electrocution.

The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn'T Miss

Outside of the looming threat of the Prime Asset enemy, each level in The Outlast Trials includes other NPC inmates that slowly become more and more of a threat as players progress through the objectives, which ultimately come down to executing a particular target before bolting towards the exit.

If you’ve played Outlast or its sequel, then the gameplay in The Outlast Trials will feel familiar in that gameplay primarily consists of the player evading detection while hiding in the shadows and crouching when necessary to avoid the enemy’s gaze. Naturally, this includes having to use night vision when obscured sparingly; however, instead of a camera, all player avatars are forced to don a nightmarish take on something you’d find in Sam Fisher’s CIA wardrobe via head-mounted goggles.

Batteries for your night vision goggles aren’t the only resource players have to manage, as The Outlast Trials also feature anti-hallucination drugs, health replenishing meds, throwable items such as bottles and bricks, lockpicking tools, adrenaline shots and special batteries for your player RIG.

The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn'T Miss

RIGs unlock after the player accumulates enough points, usually after completing the first level and act as passive skills that are on a cool-down, such as a healing mist or the ability to stun enemies momentarily without using a brick or throwable. RIG abilities are imperative as they alleviate the player’s limited 3-slot inventory limit and can mean the difference between life and death in some situations.

“Thankfully, dying in The Outlast Trials isn’t the end of the world, just as long as the other players are still alive.”

Thankfully, dying in The Outlast Trials isn’t the end of the world, just as long as the other players are still alive. Players can resuscitate allies via injections that can be found strewn about the levels. Additionally, the downed player in question will also drop all of their loot, which can be handy if they have an injection already.

Score and grading for each level in The Outlast Trials are calculated by how efficiently the player finishes the level while completing secondary objectives also grants a substantial bonus. Penalizations take the form of getting caught, dying, and overall time. Grading is important as it not only incentivizes replaying levels, but higher grades equal more money and experience, which then can be used to unlock cosmetics and other skills.

The Outlast Trials: A Sequel Fans Shouldn'T Miss

Outside of RIGs, the player can unlock prescriptions which are essentially additional skills such as being able to run and open doors, help players who are being attacked and other small but crucial powers that make encounters with enemies in The Outlast Trials less dire. Cosmetic items include items that the player can use to furnish their cells, such as TVs, toys, posters and even clothing. Overall, there is a robust set of unlockables that should keep players invested in The Outlast Trials for its launch.

Ultimately, The Outlast Trials feels like a natural progression of the series that incorporates multiplayer in an exciting way that fans of the series shouldn’t miss. That being said, it’s hard to gauge how long The Outlast Trials will keep its player base interested, but as far as first impressions go, Red Barrels has done a fantastic job of expanding the Outlast universe.

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