Console War, p7

Amnesia v Outlast

Friday, September 13, 2013 | 01:18 PM | by

So Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs was incredibly disappointing. I know it was made by a different developer, and unfortunately, it shows. It does not live up to its predecessor.

If you're shopping for a survival horror experience right now, pick Outlast instead.

It's hard to say if I had not so recently played Outlast, if I would have liked Amnesia 2 any better... but the bottom line is that the comparison is there.

Now, this isn't to say Amnesia didn't have its moments... I was definitely scared at times. Just not as consistently and profoundly as I was while playing Outlast.

For some reason, the developers decided to give you an unlimited lantern for Amnesia 2. No more searching for tinderboxes to keep your torch alive, no more panicked debates about using the light or not using the light, and no more insanity meter if you spent too much time in the dark.

That right there was a huge blow to the core formula that made the first Amnesia (and Outlast) so successful. The realization that you often had to explore a dark and scary side room because you might find fuel for your light in there. And you needed that light. It made you explore a bit, it took you into the creepy places you'd otherwise choose to skip.

There are other places I feel Outlast elevated the genre. The complete first-person model, wherein you look down and see your feet, you see your hands grasping at ledges when you climb, etc, pulls you into the experience further. I have to imagine it would be amazing with an Oculus Rift.

Being able to hide under beds and in lockers was also a fantastic feature. Not only that you could hide in these places to escape pursuers, but that your pursuers would check these places as well. If you ran into a room and hid under a bed, you would have to watch as your would-be murderer checked under a random bed or two. The sheer dread and panic at the realization that your pursuers were not stupid, and may find you despite your best efforts was palpable.

The ending to both games was fairly similar in tone, and neither was particularly great, but still, Outlast wins here as well. Where Outlast gives you a couple of "big bads" that follow you throughout the whole game towards the ultimate showdown, and builds that fear through experience, Amnesia just sort of conjurs a baddie and tells you they're terrifying end "boss". But you don't feel it. You don't have a connection with it as some sort of antagonist.

And overall, Amnesia just wasn't as scary. Simply as that. They relied too heavily on jump scares and did very little to build a truly frightening atmosphere.

You can watch both recordings on my Twitch channel, but for that $20 burning a hole in your pocket, Outlast is the better five hours in my opinion.

Regarding the Limited Edition Prints, about 40% of them have shipped, another 40% will be in the mail tomorrow, and the remainder will all be shipped by mid next week.