Outlast 2 Review: A Technical Marvel on Switch

best horror games on switch

Red Barrels’ Outlast, its expansion, and its sequel, are some of the scariest video game experiences you can have.

They instil in you a feeling of apprehension, isolation and downright fear that few games manage to achieve. It felt a little strange then, when Outlast, along with its expansion, arrived on Nintendo Switch. Aside from the fact that it’s a horror game on what for many is predominantly a handheld console, there’s also the fact that it’s one that is very adult in terms of content. It still feels a little strange playing such titles on a Nintendo console.

But it worked; Outlast on Nintendo Switch offered the full terrifying experience, potentially to a new audience of gamers who haven’t played it before. When I caught wind that Outlast 2 was also set to land on Nintendo Switch, however, I was apprehensive. Those who have played both Outlast and its sequel will know that the latter title dramatically upped the ante in terms of visuals, while also offering environments that were much more open. Surely the Nintendo Switch just couldn’t do it justice, I thought. How wrong could I have been.

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Outlast 2 on Nintendo Switch is a technical marvel. Minus a few special effects that make the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions a little more atmospheric, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between them. Okay, so it runs at 30 frames-per-second on Nintendo Switch instead of 60 elsewhere, but so what? What Red Barrels has achieved here is spectacular. Outlast 2 on Nintendo Switch is every bit as good as it is on other formats, which is to say that it is very good indeed. And it even boasts a new Story Mode difficulty setting, too, which has also been patched into other versions of the game.

For the uninitiated, Outlast 2 places you in the shoes of Blake Langermann, a cameraman desperately searching for his wife after the helicopter they are in crashes somewhere near the Arizona desert. In his way stand religious zealots led by Sullivan Knoth, though they aren’t the only horrors that await Blake on his ordeal – his personal demons are also forcing themselves to the surface. Outlast 2, then, is a 10-hour excursion full of adrenaline pumping chases, tense stealth and heart-pounding horror. It’s more story-driven and more expansive than its predecessor, and its gameplay is more involving.

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You explore, you scavenge for bandages to patch yourself up and batteries to keep your night-vision mode operational, you sneak around when enemies are near, and when you’re seen… well, you run for your life. In Outlast 2 you are defenceless. You are just an ordinary guy in a messed-up situation, and fighting your way out of it just isn’t an option. Progress is made both slowly and at a breakneck pace. The story unravels via cutscenes, in-game conversations and notes that you find lying around. It’s a game that rewards you for absorbing yourself in it, something that also makes it much more pant-wettingly scary.

Thankfully, the newly introduced Story Mode difficulty alleviates many of the problems that may have alienated players the first time around. The idiom ‘less is more’ bears fruit here; with less enemies out for your blood, you’re free to explore more areas in relative peace, which means there’s less trial and error as you proceed through the game. Additionally, when a big nasty does show up to chase and/or beat you to a pulp, it’s more alarming and unexpected.

Outlast 2 Switch

Story Mode is honestly the best way to experience Outlast 2, at least the first time around, anyway. I loved Outlast 2 when it first came out, but I can’t deny that dying repeatedly until I worked out where I needed to go in some areas annoyed me a little. With those annoyances heavily reduced, the game really does shine even brighter.

So, overall then, Outlast 2 on Nintendo Switch is pretty amazing. It looks almost as good as its console and PC counterparts, runs very well despite not being 60 frames-per-second, and the new Story Mode difficulty gives you more room to explore. It offers the full fat Outlast 2 experience with less annoyances, and in my book that makes it a brilliant port. If you’re into horror and own a Nintendo Switch, do yourself a favour and pick it up ASAP. You won’t regret it.

Outlast 2 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed the Nintendo Switch version.