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Video Game / Outlast II

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You think the first time was bad? This time, horror rises from desperation and blind faith.

"And there followed an angel, saying, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.' And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion. Saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God, give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.'"

Outlast II is a Survival Horror game developed by Red Barrels released on April 25, 2017. The game takes place in the Outlast universe, a highly acclaimed first-person horror game known for its stealth mechanics, unforgettable characters, and excessive Gorn. Its X Meets Y is Resident Evil 4 meets Silent Hill: Homecoming.

The sequel ditches the setting of Mount Massive Asylum with its Bedlam House horror, and instead focuses on a variant of Hillbilly Horrors / Cult Colony. Protagonist this time is Blake Langermann, a cameraman for his wife and investigative journalist Lynn. The two venture deep into the Arizona desert, seeking the answer to clues behind the murder of a pregnant woman, only to stumble upon Temple Gate, a Jonestown-esque cult town headed by preacher Sullivan Knoth. After a helicopter crash, Blake is separated from his wife and is lost in Temple Gate, where he is soon attacked by the preacher's rabid hordes of insane followers.

It is followed by a prequel, The Outlast Trials.

Blake must find his wife, find out what the town is hiding, and escape with his life — if he can even manage to escape.

The game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lynn, albeit off-screen. She manages to get away from the cult twice under her own power, though she needs Blake's help the second time in order to make it much further.
  • Action Survivor: The Langermanns. Both Blake and Lynn not only survive a helicopter crash, but they both manage to evade a cult full of religious nutjobs for a good long while.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: At one point, Blake crawls through an air vent. However, it gets a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when the air vent can't hold his weight, and he collapses through it into the room below.
  • All for Nothing: Lynn dies at the end of the game, rendering everything Blake has been through to save her completely meaningless. Though he can still save the child. Or not, thanks to Your Mind Makes It Real and the towers messing with their heads as much as everyone else's.
  • All There in the Manual: Outlast: The Murkoff Account provides some backstory for the game's events.
    • The inhabitants of Temple Gate are all under the influence of brainwashing microwaves emitted by several nearby tower relays, which were set up by the Murkoff Corporation. Simon Peacock explains that the Morphogenic Engine needs a "delivery mechanism" to infect someone, with the process being customized to the patient in the lab of Mount Massive, with religion used to more streamlined effect in Temple Gate.
    • The ending is also given some better context; Lynn's sudden pregnancy was actually a phantom pregnancy caused by the tower relays, meaning that the baby was, in fact, never real. The only reason Blake was able to see the baby was because he was brainwashed as well, explaining his frequent hallucinations. note  Speaking of Blake, he's still alive but is stuck in a catatonic state note , and the explosion he witnessed wasn't the sun but actually the Murkoff building.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Val clearly has the body of a woman, but there's a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise. Red Barrels gives us a concrete Shrug of God when asked about it. Datamining of the models reveals the breasts are fake and made of mud and there's a small hint of a penis under the mud vagina, implying Val is a trans woman.
  • Ambiguous Situation: A lot of the final moments of the ending are unclear. Is Lynn's child really the Antichrist? Was the final shot really the apocalypse beginning and/or the Murkoff building exploding? That is, if the baby was real to begin with. Outlast: The Murkoff Account helps clear most of this up.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. You can take, at most, two hits from Laird's crossbow before dying. To further play up the realism (and add insult to injury), they aren't even huge bolts, as they have to fit into a small crossbow that someone as tiny as Laird can wield.
  • The Antichrist: What with Knoth's cult being based around The Book of Revelation-style teachings on the End Times, it makes sense that this would be a subject of the story as well. In a dark twist, it turns out that Lynn and Blake's child is the Antichrist — or at least, the cult BELIEVES it is. By the end of the game, even Knoth seems to have been shocked back to some semblance of sanity.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Enemies are a lot smarter in this game compared to the first Outlast. They won't waste time bashing down doors if they're not locked. They'll also search rooms more thoroughly if they know you're nearby, so you must keep moving from spot to spot in order to keep from getting caught. Think you're safe crawling through small holes or crevices? They'll still pursue you if they can fit in it.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The three leaders of the main enemy factions - Knoth of the Christians, Val of the Heretics, and Laird of the Scalled, as well as the Stalker of the school segments.
  • Blatant Item Placement: One can apparently find plenty of camcorder batteries in a random rural town separated from civilization. Thankfully the flashlights of the crazies in Temple Gate feed off the exact same batteries as his camera, so it makes a lot more sense this time around.
  • Body Horror: The Scalled, exiles who have succumbed to some sort of horrifying disease which makes their skin look like they've gotten third-degree burns. Heavily hinted to be syphilis and gonorrhea, the former of which, if left untreated, can result in hideous lesions like those on the Scalled.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: What's actually going on with Knoth's cult, including the man himself; they're all being influenced by a mind-altering signal from towers set up by Murkoff. Blake falls victim to this as well, with worse effects as the game progresses.
  • The Brute:
    • Marta is a 7-foot tall killing machine who constantly terrorizes the player, just like Chris Walker from the first game. Except she's much faster and just as strong.
    • Nick is also this for the Scalled. He, like Marta, One-Hit-Kills Blake most of the time in harder difficulties and can knock down locked doors in one swing.
  • Buried Alive: The Scalled submit Blake to this, though he escapes.
  • Cat Scare: Well, Crow Scare: one flies right by Blake's face when he opens a window to one of the houses.
  • Call-Back: A message written on the wall of a house says "Fingers first. Then balls. Then tongue.", referencing how Doctor Trager tortured people in the first game.
  • Christianity is Catholic: By all evidence, the cult seems to be a perversion of some Protestant variation of Christianity, like the Jonestown Cult began for example. The hymns, the practices, and just the overall flavor of the cult ring of Southern Fundamentalism, of course a version of it corrupted through insanity. Even so, there are statues of the Virgin Mary everywhere, and there are even confessionals in the chapel, despite not one hint in any of the cultists' behavior or scriptures that they confess their sins verbally to priests or to Knoth, or that they have a particularly high respect for the Virgin Mary. Since Temple Gate was built by the cult from the ground up, meaning these structures were not merely inherited, it seems that these Catholic characteristics are present in the cult for no other reason than the Christianity is Catholic trope.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Quite a few: the helicopter pilot, the children, the protagonist... the list could go on forever.
  • Cutting Back to Reality: Blake's harrowing journey through Temple Gate is periodically interrupted by flashbacks to his childhood, forcing him to wander his deserted school while being pursued by ghostly phenomena. Often, he will cut or transition back from his hallucinations to find that he's travelled for quite some distance without even realizing it, and often, his activities in the flashback will correspond in some way to what he was doing in the real world: for example, Blake will be shimmying through the vents at the school, only for a seamless transition to reveal that he was actually crawling through a tunnel or a hollow log.
  • Darker and Edgier: This game manages to be even darker than the first Outlast, and that's a pretty high bar to clear. For starters, as horrifying as first game was, there were no dead children or violent on-screen rape, and more people were at least non-violently insane. Plus, the ending of the first Outlast was fairly bleak, but the Whistleblower DLC at least showed that there was something to hope for. This game doesn't even do that, going for a full Downer Ending where no one survives. Lynn dies, Knoth kills himself, the cult fails, and Blake has been driven completely insane at best.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: At the very end of the teaser, a night-vision overlay of the burnt cross and cornfield displays, and you can see a group of glowing eyes in the background.
  • Death of a Child: To the eleventh degree. The whole religion of Knoth revolves around sacrificing children. The cross of burnt children are a solid proof of the game not caring about this trope.
  • Dead Guy Junior: It's implied in Blake's final recording that he's named his newborn daughter (assuming she's real) after Jessica, telling himself that 'she'll get to grow up' and 'do what she's supposed to do.
  • Disposable Pilot: Poor bastard doesn't even last long enough for us to learn his name.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Horrifically averted. When Blake finds Lynn after the crash, she's been beaten up, and doesn't want to talk about what they did to her. Seconds after that, the Heretics save the couple from Knoth's men, and then a female Heretic straddles the dazed player character and licks his face in a clearly sexual manner. The games implies she would've raped him if she had time, and it's not made light of in the slightest. Team Knoth also talks about Blake's seed just as much as they talk about Lynn's womb, so even the creepy cult speeches are egalitarian.
  • Downer Ending: Lynn dies giving birth to (apparently) The Antichrist, Knoth fails to kill the child and instead slits his own throat. The entire cast, with the exception of Blake, is dead. Worse, it is suggested that neither the end of the world the cult fears, nor Lynn's baby, are actually real. Everyone, protagonists included, has been driven insane by the corrupted microwaves from Murkoff's towers, and the first game/tie-in materials state that exposure to the experiments have given female patients psychosomatic or "phantom" pregnancies. This is hinted at by Lynn's final words, "There's nothing there," even after Blake shows her the baby, the fact that she went through the entire pregnancy over the course of about a day, and the fact that the baby casts no shadow even though Blake does.
  • Driven to Suicide: Knoth slits his own throat after he fails to prevent Blake and Lynn's child from being born.
  • Eldritch Location: The setting constantly switches between the cults settlement and the 4th-grade school that Blake attended with Lynn as children alongside their friend Jess. This is due to Blake being exposed to the same signal as everyone in Temple Gate.
  • Enemy Civil War: There's a schism in the cult between Knoth's followers, who believe they're preventing the birth of the Anti-Christ, and The Heretics, who want the Anti-Christ born into the world.
  • Escape Artist: Blake gets crucified incorrectly by the usual depiction of Jesus having nails through the palms of his hands. The nails should have been driven into the wrists since the skin, tissue, and muscles of the center of the hands are too soft to support a body. This is how Blake is able to free himself, albeit very painfully.
  • Express Delivery: Lynn manages to bring a pregnancy to term without ever showing signs of being pregnant beforehand over the course of one night. And the delivery doesn't take more than a minute. Justified by the possibility that it is one of the phantom pregnancies induced by Murkoff's experimentation and the fact that Blake has been losing his mind all night. Lynn says "There's nothing there" as Blake shows her the baby, implying that she was never pregnant in the first place and Blake was just hallucinating the child.
  • First Person Snarker: Blake has plenty of sarcastic one-liners to drop in response to the insane shit he's submitted to.
    Blake: (stumbling into a giant, grotesque pit of corpses in a barn) "Aw Jesus, should've prayed for refrigeration."
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: It's only a sequel in spirit. No characters, settings, or plot-lines return from Outlast and its DLC. Aside from the Murkoff Corporation, and that's only shown through connection with the towers.
  • Fragile Speedster: Blake is just as fast as our previous two protagonists, and just as defenseless.
  • Freezeframe Bonus: When Blake is being dragged off to be crucified, if you keep looking to the right as he is being dragged, for a few seconds you'll see Father Loutermilch looking on from the side, in the only instance that his non-monster form appears outside of flashbacks.
  • Funbag Airbag: An instance definitely not played for fan service. When escaping from some heretics in the mill, Blake falls down some stairs and back into the elementary school, landing face-first into Jess's chest. Her age aside, Jess was clearly dead with her neck bruised, face bloody, and the Stalker waiting for Blake right at the top of the stairs.
  • Gainax Ending: An even bigger one than the first game. Lynn dies after (supposedly) giving birth, despite that neither she or Blake had sex for months. Said baby is apparently The Antichrist and may actually just be a hallucination, though a clear answer is never given. After all the cultist have committed suicide, the sun suddenly explodes and we're treated to one last vision of Blake at the school, where he chases Jessica and the two start praying together. Once again, The Murkoff Account helps provide some explaination for this.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Countless extremely unfortunate speedrunners were victim to one where the game crashed without fail near the end. Exclusively on Insane (permadeath).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Unlike the first game, Outlast II tries to be as immersive as possible, and it does so by making several game mechanics integrated into the situation Blake is in:
    • You can only view your batteries and bandages by looking at your inventory, as Blake closes his pockets to prevent them from spilling out while out and about.
    • Viewing notes is done by Blake picking the note up. If you want to save it, you need to record it with your camera.
    • Recordings replace the original games Diary notes. You need to record certain events by keeping the camera on them for a certain amount of time. Unlike the original game, where Miles recorded everything, Blake only records these specific moments; otherwise, the STBY on the top shows that nothing is being recorded. You can then view these moments in your files, and they are actually acted out by the player with the recordings being actual recording of your gameplay. The flashback sequences have their respective recordings filled with white noise to prove that they aren't really happening.
  • Good Bad Bugs: It is possible for the villagers to not appear in some places where they are supposed to show up to chase you, such as where you leave from the chapel in episode one after witnessing the couple´s torture, allowing you to reach your new destination at your own leisure.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: There are a few hints, and all but outright stated in Outlast: The Murkoff Account, that everything about Temple Gate and the cults of Knoth and Val are the results of another of the Murkoff Corporations's secret experiments. Several tower relays across the lake send brainwashing microwaves upon the subjects, bringing forth the hallucinations seen throughout the game... and a recent electric storm appears to have caused anomalies, which ultimately leads to the entire cult wiping itself out.
  • Groin Attack: Whenever Marta catches you, her death animation (and pickaxe) is always aimed at Blake's poor manhood.
  • Guide Dang It!: The game is far more involved with outside spaces than the first one, which took place almost exclusively within the walls of Mount Massive Asylum. As such it's a lot less linear and it's more difficult to figure out where to go or what to look for, which could already be a confusing issue in the first game. Taking this to the extreme are the school segments, where there is no set "goal", and the single highly dangerous enemy does not obey normal enemy logic (i.e. occupying a single space and chasing from there, needing to be aggro'd before a chase starts, being fooled by hiding spots) that remains constant with all other encounters. Trial-and-Error Gameplay are pretty much enforced unless you take the easy way out and flick through a walkthrough.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: After getting crucified, Blake has to wrap his hands in bandages out of necessity.
  • The Heavy: As Knoth is a Non-Action Big Bad, Marta is the cult's most dangerous and recurring enforcer.
  • Hellish Copter: The game starts with Blake and Lynn flying in a helicopter at night. Seeing as this is a horror videogame, go ahead and take a guess at how that ends.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The belief from Laird and the Scalled is that Blake is some sort of messiah and that consuming him will cure their illness.
  • Karmic Death: A double. Just before Marta finally kills you (for real), a lightning strike (AKA an act of God) dislodges a church crucifix, which goes flying and impales her.
  • Light Is Not Good: While much of the game is spent in darkness, several terrifying events are heralded by a huge blast of heavenly light and what sounds like a fog horn. Once the player reaches the lake, everything becomes clear; these blasts of light are coming from a Murkoff facility that is using microwaves to carry out experimental mind-control on the cults.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Marta is actually faster than Blake, and all of her attacks are One Hit Kills when above Normal difficulty.
  • Lost in the Maize: A good chunk of the game takes place in a massive, night-sunken cornfield.
  • Made of Iron: Blake takes a ridiculous amount of damage over the course of the game, falling off countless cliffs and a bridge, getting manhandled by several lunatics, Buried Alive, and crucified as violently as Jesus Christ himself was.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Maybe the cult was right and Lynn births The Antichrist, leading to the end of the the world. Or maybe Murkoff's brain-washing towers made everyone think that's what happened while they're actually just going crazy. Blake succumbing to the insanity too twists him into an Unreliable Narrator, so that doesn't make things any clearer. However, a certain secret document found near the lake definitely puts things into mundane territory...
    • While explanations can be dug up, some matters remain firmly unexplained. There's the fact that your camera records something during the school sequences that do not match with reality, but why they shouldn't is unclear. In another example, Laird's "Gospel of the Scalled Christ", which would appear to be written after Blake's arrival, nonetheless contains details Laird shouldn't know, such as his virginal status.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: You're more likely to find corpses of men then you will of women. Partially justified by the fact that there are more male characters than females.
  • Mental Monster: The game has sections set in the protagonist's childhood Catholic school, and is haunted by a Freudian creature resembling a nude, blood-soaked man, with no lips, nose, or lower jaw, a pulsating Overly-Long Tongue, and a dozen groping arms. As the story progresses, you come to find that it represents Blake's guilt for not seeing the signs of his childhood friend Jessica's sexual abuse. The monster's image is drawn from her abuser, Father Loutermilch, a Pedophile Priest who eventually killed her by accident.
  • Mind-Control Device: What's really causing everyone to become insane. Murkoff has a facility across the lake that is sending out signals that cause hallucinations which slowly causes people to lose their minds.
  • Mind Screw: The protagonist constantly teleports between a mountain village and a Catholic school. It's all hallucinations, though.
  • Multiple Endings: A very minor example, but Jessica’s appearance in the ending cutscene depends on what you do when you hear her being attacked. If you turn around and run back for her immediately after hearing her scream, she’ll appear healthy and uninjured. If you take too long, she’ll have sickly pale skin and rope burns around her neck.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: The night vision setting on the camera, as per tradition.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: In between exploring Temple Gate and dodging attacks by frenzied cultists, Blake experiences hallucinatory episodes where he finds himself back in the fourth grade at school - and most of the time, the transition between the real and the imaginary is almost imperceptible: Blake can be yanked down a well, only to find himself in the school's ventilation system; doors open randomly between the school and the homes and cultists; he can crawl through a narrow gap between houses and end up in a locker; at one point, he's knocked off a raft and into a lake - only to wind up in the school swimming pool.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Unlike in the first game, which takes place in close tight spaces, the second game has many outdoor environments such as forests and cornfields, giving potential attackers many more places to hide and stalk you. This is especially true for the school segments, where the setting is completely empty save for the presence of the Stalker who's appearances, while fortunately not randomized, can take players by surprise.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Blake shrugs off being crucified by the Scalled surprisingly quickly. After he wraps his busted hands in bandages, he's instantly back at 100% and able to climb ladders, ledges and cliffs without a single sign of discomfort.
  • Psychological Horror: While the previous game mainly focused on physical scares, this game involves more horrors that mess with the player's mind. Examples include seeing things that aren't really there and rooms constantly changing structure. It really does feel like the player's mind is slowly and painfully eroding. Because it is.
  • Psychosexual Horror: The Stalker is a naked creature that represents Father Loutermilch's sexual abuse towards Jessica, whom he had been molesting repeatedly until she died of a broken neck when she fell down the stairs as she was trying to run away from him. Blake blamed himself for not acting on his suspicions or helping his friend during this time, and Loutermilch was never brought to justice since her death was framed as a suicide.
  • Rain of Blood: Happens for a while around the second act, but most likely due to Blake's hallucinations. Ties into the religious theme of the game.
  • Rape as Drama: Blake was raped by Val, Lynn was possibly raped by the cult, you're investigating the death of a rape victim, and Jessica was raped by her teacher.
  • Religion of Evil: Testament of the New Ezekiel, led by crazy priest Sullivan Knoth, has taken over a small town and its residents have become crazy cultists bent on sacrificing their own children.
  • Religious Horror: TONS. Imagine the most depraved of the Southern Baptist sects, combined with Jonestown and the inbred zombie family from The Cabin in the Woods and you're still not there.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Much of the design for the town, such as the style of buildings and pavilions, seems inspired by the infamous Jonestown cult.
  • Shared Mass Hallucination: Wouldn't you know it, this is actually the explanation behind the entire plot of the game, thanks to Murkoff's brainwashing microwaves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first time Blake wakes up in his old school, he sees Jessica at the end of a long hallway, only for her to be swallowed in a wave of blood that eventually engulfs the player.
    • At one point in a hallucination segment, Blake will hear the phone ring and answer it. A brief speech from the voice on the other side ends with him getting licked by a tongue coming out of the receiver.
    • The video of the bloody shower in the women's bathroom is titled "They're all gonna laugh at you!"
    • Marta's death, being impaled by a rooftop cross that is dislodged by a bolt of lightning is taken straight out of The Omen.
    • Laird and Nick are a reference to Master and Blaster.
  • Sinister Minister: Sullivan Knoth, the main antagonist and leader of the cult. There's also Father Lauthermilch, the Catholic priest who raped and murdered Blake's childhood friend Jess.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Knoth's religious writings are liberally sprinkled with F-bombs.
  • Sprint Meter: Blake may be faster than Miles and Waylon, but now he's limited by a realistic stamina system.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Like in the prequel, the camera's night vision eats up batteries like there's no tomorrow. When the one in the camera is dying, NV starts to flicker, and once it's dead you either replace it or stay in the dark.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness / Unreliable Narrator: Blake falls under the influence of a malfunctioning Mind-Control Device as the game goes on, causing it to be increasingly difficult to distinguish between reality and his hallucinations. At one point, even the rain starts looking like blood.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: It is very difficult to hide from enemies and the environment can sometimes make it difficult to evade them. You will end up dying alot until you find the correct route or exit.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: There are a whole lot of flashlights scattered around the village, and Blake can't use any of them. At best, he can pick up the batteries near them to use in his camcorder. Justified, when you take into account that a flashlight would attract attention to Blake, thus making use of his camera's night vision mode a much more logical and inconspicuous option.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Both night vision and the new microphone feature.
    • The night vision was imperative in the original game, as being able to see in the dark was a key advantage you had over the enemies who couldn't. Here though, your enemies can use flashlights, depriving you of that advantage for added terror... for the first third of the game. After you enter the Scalled camp, enemies never use flashlights again and their ability to see is again suitably unreliable.
    • The new microphone feature is useful for being able to tell where enemies are, which is great and all, but what it doesn't tell you is how close they are. An enemy right next to you will produce the same volume as one twenty feet away provided you have the mic trained on them. This drags down what would otherwise be an excellent way to navigate, since a lot of your time spent evading cultists will be in tall grass and corn fields that render you effectively blind as to where both your enemies and goals are.
  • Villainous Rescue: Twice. Early in the game Blake and Lynn are only saved from being killed because the Heretics show up and kill Knoth's cultists. Much later, it's Team Knoth who barges in and kills the Heretics in their hideout, allowing Blake and Lynn to run free.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Scalled. While they are nominally aligned with Knoth, they don't play any role in the Heretics vs. New Ezekiel conflict, and they neither show up or are mentioned again after Blake encounters them.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Val was once one of Knoth's followers before turning on him and forming the Heretics. Even after she severs ties with him and sends him an insulting letter, Knoth expresses a willingness to forgive her.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: This is how Knoth and his followers see themselves, believing that all the monstrous things they've done will prevent the birth of the Anti-Christ.

"God don't hear dead men."

Alternative Title(s): Outlast 2