Early Access Preview : The Outlast Trials

Outlast from Red Barrels has become a staple among horror fans, and, for an indie game, it has become a franchise that rivals some of the biggest franchises in the genre.

The Outlast Trials is no different but aims to create a cooperative multiplayer experience that horror fans will have a hard time putting down. Don’t be mistaken, I did type cooperative and not asymmetrical. This title is a completely unique experience to multiplayer horror games, and fans will be thrilled to know that Outlast’s potent taste of terror is just as strong as its numbered entries. With a formula that has been broadened to fit a live-service game model, along with rewarding progression and haunting missions, Outlast Trials has the potential of growth to surpass its past entries.

You start the game with a jarring introduction sequence leading into a guided tutorial. Now, if you have played prior entries to this franchise, the controls will be familiar. You still can’t necessarily eliminate threats present in the missions, and there is a need for stealth. To navigate the dark, you have a set of newly-minted night vision goggles that are screwed into your head akin to the video camera in the first two entries.

Each mission has a theme, and each one has three variations that are unique as well as changing the enemy population and difficulty. For example, even though you finished a mission on the base level, you will not be as familiar when you do the intermediate version of the same mission or the hard iteration.

Now, although each mission boasts a different theme and a different flow, I can imagine the gameplay loop will get stale and less scary with each time you group up to go through one of these macabre and hellish challenges. You will sneak, you will be chased, you will coordinate, and, as you learn the maps’ layouts, you will succeed. And this does, in fact, feel rewarding.

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Upon every completion of a successful mission, you receive rewards from a very enjoyable progression system that allows the player to customize their cell at the Murkoff Institute as well as their appearance. This allows the player to express themselves and give themselves an identity in this title as you progress to unlock more abilities and vendors. You utilize tickets to upgrade your abilities, and you get cash to flesh out your identity in this horrific world.

What’s even more interesting is there are different “RIG”s which grant the player abilities that recharge and are non-perishable. You have the option of having a permanent stun, the ability to place a mine, group healing, and an x-ray ability to use in your group’s arsenal.

The best thing about The Outlast Trials is that, at its very mangled bones of terror, it is a co-op experience. With mechanics that force you to communicate, coordinate, and execute thought-out plans, it still carries the weight of being just as scary as its predecessors. I found that this made the experience that much more unique as I expected the cooperative aspect to dilute how scary this entry could be. There were a couple times I audibly welped and jumped while playing with my friends, and the anxiety of your mission can create moments of laughter, bringing your group tighter together.

The Outlast Trials offers something that is unique in the best way. It is not a carbon clone; it has learned from what other games have flunked in live service and provided an experience that fits perfectly among its twisted predecessors. The Outlast Trials played flawlessly on my computer, better then I expected, I might add. Although it is in early access, I am excited to watch this title grow with content, creativity, and popularity.

Red Barrels has stated that this is only the beginning and the foundation for what’s to come. New areas will be introduced alongside new enemies, missions, challenges, progression items, and more. Stay tuned to Seasoned Gaming for more on The Outlast Trials in the coming weeks including a discussion on the Bitcast soon!

By American Psycho

I am a proud father, and a United States Marine Corps Veteran with a passion for gaming. All around I am a big geek with interests in horror, comics, and metal music. I mostly play on PS5 and PC, while gravitating to horror games, and single player RPGs. I am also a content creator for the gaming community Regiment and help fundraise for many different Veteran benefit organizations such as Stack-Up, Veteran's Puppy for Life, and Shellback Tech. You can find me avidly tweeting at www.twitter.com/Amer1c4n_Psych0

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