The Outlast Trials Review — Gore And Disorder

The Outlast Trials

I have always been a fan of survival horror games. Something about them keeps me engaged, and I enjoy sitting down in the dark of night playing them. However, in most of these games, I was always accompanied by a weapon of some sort in the form of a knife, bat or even a good old trusty shotgun that hardly ever missed its target. That was until I played Outlast and Outlast 2, which were brought to us by the very imaginative people at Red Barrels. These cat-and-mouse type games are set in first person and in almost complete darkness, with only your camcorder’s night vision as a way to see the derelict environments the series throws you in. The player must rely on basic stealth tactics such as hiding, sneaking, and running to survive this psychotic and disturbing game.

I was excited to learn that after almost 6 years, the same people who came together and brought us some of the most disturbing and creepy creations in video game history are back with their next and third instalment – The Outlast Trials.

The amount of torture and guts is on a whole new level

If you are not into the horror genre or games with disturbing scenes, gore, violence, and torture, then The Outlast series is not for you. Red Barrels’ Outlast series takes the horror element of Resident Evil and raises it with more gore, vulgarity, and goosebumps material than most people can handle. With that now being said, let’s move forward with The Outlast Trials.

I knew I was in for an intense experience as soon as I laid my eyes on the disturbing title screen The Outlast Trials boasts. While the game can be played solo, for the first time in the series, it can also be played with up to 4 players in co-op mode. One thing that is required, even when playing solo by your scared little self, is a persistent internet connection. Selecting solo mode allows you to create a character, which offers very basic customisation options.

Don’t take the apple!

The game is set in the time of the Cold War. An advertising poster looking for human guinea pigs or lab rats saying “We Want You” is blown off a pole and lands on a homeless character who is lying in the streets. The next thing you know, you have awoken to a nightmare! Inside some sort of medical operating room, you are introduced to the Murkhoff Corporation, which is a nod to the first Outlast game. While this is happening, you have so-called surgeons drilling into people’s heads, blood going everywhere with them trying to remove gadgets that were once attached to the living victim’s heads. It is now your turn to have your head gadget attached. Don’t worry; it does come in handy, so close your eyes and brace yourself for the impact of the drill, drilling it into your skull!

With all that done, you get a brief tutorial that throws you right into the deep end. The game starts off in some sort of Murkhoff manor with loads of locked doors, dark hallways, and a whacked-out mannequin on rails that talks and guides you around. Each room you enter will have you listening to a recording while other mannequins are on display acting out something sick and disturbing. After pressing the button and moving on, you will finally get to the theatre room, where you notice a nice green shiny apple just sitting there suspended in the curtains. You grab the apple only to encounter a hand puppet that has a drill for a tongue and starts yelling and attacking you. After this and completing some more objectives, you get stuck in an area that locks behind you. Here, you will meet the hand that controls the drill tongue puppet, and that’s in the form of a thick clownlike maid – Mother Gooseberry. You are forced to watch Mother Gooseberry dragging a man who is screaming for his life towards a meat grinder. After watching the man get his eyes drilled out by the puppet’s drill tongue, he is then tossed into the meat grinder, where his blood and guts go everywhere. Oh yeah, you’re stuck in a really happy place.

The lovely sick and psychotic Mother Gooseberry

This is only the start. It sets the tone for what this game has in store for you. While the game still doesn’t allow you to fight back against the crazed psychos that are just standing there, itching, twitching and scratching themselves, ready to stab you whenever you get too close. There are two approaches to getting through each area: stealth or throwing items that can stun an enemy. Opting for the stealth route means you can make use of cupboards, wardrobes and other furniture to keep out of harm’s way. A new feature of the series is the ability to look around corners. I loved this. Those who play Rainbow Six Siege will know what I am talking about. If you’re scared, and believe me, you’re going to be, then this feature comes in handy. An Outlast series staple mechanic returns in the form of night vision, but not in the form of the camcorder like the two previous games. The night vision device in this game is the gadget that was drilled into your skull at the beginning of the game. It still requires the player to find battery recharges, though, so don’t leave it too late and recharge it before it’s drained out otherwise, you will be stuck in the dark pooping your pants. To my delight, there is also a health bar that appears when you take damage. This can be toggled on, off, and auto-hide in settings, along with some other handle gameplay settings that you might want to check out before you start playing.

As mentioned before, there is a whole new way to experience Outlast: online co-op multiplayer. The game has crossplay, meaning players from Xbox, PlayStation, and Windows can team up together. Players are dropped into a lobby area, and from here, they can pick a trial, change the online settings, alter their loadout and invite friends. This can be done in private, friends-only, or public games. Once the game starts, players can communicate using voice chat, ping, and quick comms. Throughout the trials, your team will run, hide, and try to complete nerve-racking mini-games that resemble other games like Dead By Daylight. As you succeed through the game, you will be granted XP, which will allow you to enable new abilities to your character. One ability is being able to see through walls, which, trust me, is a big one! Even though you have friends with you in co-op, the intensity and scariness of the game is not diminished. But it can also be funny too. Listening to your team absolutely crap themselves over chat is something else entirely new to survival horror gameplay. It’s also very nerve-racking in parts with having to leave or rescue allies. Do you need them? Will you revive them before they bleed out? Make your own decision if you will save them or even sacrifice them for the team’s benefit or just because you’re too scared to get caught. The choice is yours and makes the experience a real treat.

Even though it’s bolted to your head, night visions come in handy!

You will need an online subscription to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Game Pass to play this game in multiplayer. It is insanely harder on your own as it’s just you rather than a team of up to four players, but most of my playthrough was done in solo mode, which I still enjoyed.

Visually, the game is beautiful. It’s dark, and the atmosphere matches the entire game that Red Barrels was going for. It was not very hard to do when they already had the blueprints from the two previous Outlast games. There is not much to mention in terms of soundtrack except for atmospheric sounds like screams, footsteps, and so on, where it exceeded in bundles.

Listening to your teammates crap themselves is next level!

The Outlast Trials was a fantastic yet horribly scary experience. I really enjoyed the tension the game brings. That being said, I didn’t think it was as scary as the first game in the series, but in my eyes, it has returned to its roots where I found it got lost with Outlast 2. I did find the enemy AI quite challenging at times. If you try your best stealth approach and get caught, running away can take a bit to achieve. As the game relies on movement and interaction, there isn’t much to remember about the controller scheme of things, which only lends a hand to the tension of the game.



The Outlast Trials is completely messed up in the best way. From crazed ideas of torture to obscene amounts of guts and gore, any fans of the previous Outlast titles or the psychological horror genre will love this game. If you’re after something that steps it up compared to Resident Evil or the newly released Silent Hill: A Short Message games, then The Outlast Trials is a game you need to check out! Just remember to have a spare set of underwear close by.


  • The game looks great

  • A hefty amount of jumpscares

  • Multiplayer has cross-play enabled

  • A game for true fans of absurd horror

  • 20+ hours of gameplay


  • Not the scariest Outlast title

  • Can be challenging to outsmart AI at times

  • It can feel like the game was only ever meant to be made for multiplayer

  • No offline mode, even for Solo play

The Outlast Trials is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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