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Review — The Outlast Trials

Review — The Outlast Trials

The Outlast Trials

We sit down and review The Outlast Trials. A multiplayer survival game that places back into the darkness of the IP. Here is our review of this remake for The Outlast Trials

The Early Access has ended and The Outlast Trials is out there on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. This would be the next big push into the IP from Red Barrels that takes us further into a multiplayer aspect of it all and not the solo horrors we have had from before. All while expanding the lore and terror of it all and giving us many new reasons to keep going back for all of this punishment. Now that it is out there and we have had some time with The Outlast Trials, does it live up to the hype and what we all expected? Well, that is why we are here to give you our review and experiences with the title. Strap on your night vision goggles and get ready to see the worst of humanity out there again in this twisted world…

Story

If you have even been down on your luck and needed to have some kind of hand up, well it looks like the Murkoff Corporation has an opportunity for you. Come on down, sign on up, and join some new human trials that are supposed to get you back out there and as a functioning member of society. Except, this is the Outlast universe we are talking about, so things are not fully on the up and up. After signing our life away, we are broken down and pushed to some limits all in the twisted view of science we have here. Now we are only tasked with trying to live and outlast the darker terrors and villains behind all of these horrors.

The Outlast Trials — Review

The Outlast Trials — Review

Hated

Even though many of the trials in The Outlast Trials were listed as something different in the game for us to do, almost all of them still boiled down to going to a location, finding a thing, and not getting killed in the mix. Not a terrible loop to have for a game, but not something that can be overly engaging when you have to do it many times over. Even when adding in some elements where we had to figure out which box was the correct one using a black light, The Outlast Trials still boiled down to that and then a bunch of frantic running as enemies or the main killer would hunt us down. A lot less strategy and just playing the same thing over and over with a few different narrative twists to it all. Even the games this was all based around could add something extra to keep the walking and stealth simulation engaging, but at its launch, it is still feeling like there is a lack of variety in the mix of things for me.

Moving from there, while The Outlast Trials is set up to allow for solo players to head out there into the game, that is not something that it feels like it excels at. Granted, this is a multiplayer and co-op title, so that is not too surprising, but for those who want the solo experience, it is going to be rough. Outside of the tutorial missions, some of these trials feel next to impossible to complete without pulling out hair when going solo. Mainly due to the fact that many of the antagonists in the game feel like they need to be lured away to be able to complete certain things but they have a form of ADHD and will quickly move back to what they were doing before. Sure, this is something that happened in Outlast too, but seems like it is harder to pull off in a game that was designed with the idea that two or three other players could keep a distraction while another carries heavy items or solves the random puzzle.

Lastly, and most likely just a me thing, but I was not a fan of the sanity function in The Outlast Trials or saw that there was ever a good use for it. This would be a mechanic that would add overlays to the screen as more toxins are pumped into your character and when things hit a point, the Skinner Man would be added to the roster until you could clear your sanity again. I understand the concept, but in practice, it is more annoying than adding to the tension of the match and the game’s world. Just another resource to manage while needing to manage so many others in the fast-paced action of the matches. Maybe this will build into something down the line with other updates and additions, but in the current form of it all, it made little sense or impact on adding fun to the game for me.

The Outlast Trials — Review

The Outlast Trials — Review

Loved

If there has ever been one thing that Outlast has been known for, it is the character and world design to it all. All of it is over-the-top and filled with gore while still balancing on the edge of realism to add the extra horror to it all. The Outlast Trials takes that and dials it up perfectly to set the stage for everything that is to come. Not only to make the levels feel “lived in” but also to make sure we know the world this is all taking place in. This is not just some random haunted house set up for the fun of it, no, we get to see the effects of the past trials and victims in the mix. All of this is to say that the environments, characters, and creatures we come across in the game tell a story beyond just the basics. All to show there is hyperviolence and not just for the sake of having it in the game’s world. I wish I could have spent so many hours just wandering about to take all of that in while playing the game.

To go along with the setting and world-building of the level and character design, The Outlast Trials does still manage to recapture that sense of tension that all of this should offer up while still having the action we are forced into. You can even see it in some of my gameplay below, that even though I was safe in the moment, it still felt like I was in danger with how things were playing out. More so when we need to put on the night vision goggles to hide and sneak past other enemies out there. That is what I have always come back to Outlast for and the team hits that so well even while shaking things up out there. Where do we run and hide to is always something on the mind even when trying to cart heavy boxes of sex toys to a furnace out there. Yes, that sounds silly, but the game makes it just as terrifying as it could be while having a massive person with a power drill hunting us down in the mix.

While I did harp on the solo play for The Outlast Trials, I do have to give praise for the co-op and multiplayer aspect of it all. The game was built with that in mind and that is where it does feel like things shine a lot more. Even in these messed-up situations, players feel like they need to work together and almost always opt to do that when playing online. Usually, I find, this is a split thing even when it comes to titles that are all about playing co-op. While it is part of the community for The Outlast Trials to play well together, it does feel like the design and trials set forth help to promote that when playing co-op. This is where more of the fun comes in for the game and getting a chance to try to make it through all of these insane situations for the team and not just yourself. If only other titles could take this lesson and build upon it to keep multiplayer titles just as engaging as this one was when I had a chance to play online.

The Outlast Trials — Review

The Outlast Trials — Review

Overview

Those looking to have the core experience of Outlast but in a prequel setting are most likely going to be left wanting with this title. While solo play is an option, it is not where this one excels, and sneaking alone will lead to a lot of terrible endings. If you want to have the shared tension you can have while going through a haunted house with some friends, though, The Outlast Trials offers that up rather well and is well worth the price of admission. Even if there are still only a lower number of trials and the weekly events still feel like the same loop over and over, it is quickly expanding and feels like it is going to have the staying power that other titles like it are lacking. To sum up, if you like the IP and co-op games, give this one a go. If you are looking for a solo experience, watch someone else play the game instead so you can still get the tension and horror involved.

I give The Outlast Trials 4 Boxes Of Sex Toys on the Boxes Of Sex Toys scale.

The Outlast Trials — Hades Plays The Game [PS5 Gameplay]

The Outlast Trials was developed and published by Red Barrels for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on March 5th, 2024. A PlayStation copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.

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