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Unleashing Terror and Laughter: The Outlast Trials Early Access Review

The Outlast Trials

Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes)

The Outlast Trials takes a twisted spin on horror, for better and worse. Instead of shrieking in fear at sudden jumpscares, you're more likely to chuckle as your friends tease you from their hiding spots. Rather than a group of naive protagonists being picked off one by one, the ones making hilariously bad choices are the ones pursuing you and your team. While the initial access version of this cooperative horror game demonstrates the concept and features a couple of unforgettable maps, it's not a game that has fully matured overnight. Setting aside expected bugs and a general lack of polish, the content is currently limited. Still, I found enjoyment in the chaotic, gruesome, and uneven bloodbath even during these early stages.

By the way, if you're into games like Outlast, download CS 1.6 for added excitement.

The Outlast Trials throws you and your buddies into deranged "death games" reminiscent of Saw, requiring teamwork to conquer the gruesome horrors that await. The existing story is somewhat lackluster: you're kidnapped by an evil corporation, imprisoned under the guise of rehabilitation, and subjected to a series of seemingly random murder scenarios. Though you can uncover bits of intriguing lore by collecting evidence left behind by immoral corporate figures, it's not utterly captivating. And that's fine! The attraction of The Outlast Trials lies in witnessing a twisted spectacle of violence, such as a woman using a sock puppet to drill a man's face.
Nevertheless, even when embracing the game's irreverent and gory nature, the excessive violence, explicit sexual themes, and overt subject matter can become overwhelming. Some levels feature absurd characters like a deranged police officer toying with tasers and nonsensical phrases. While shock and gratuitous violence might be the intent, it occasionally feels forced and overshadows any subtler aspects. The balance is often lost between being shocking and edgy versus genuinely humorous.

Each of the early access version's three maps presents its own twisted objectives that must be accomplished amidst chaos. Yet, these macabre goals are more like intricate and noisy chores, with psychopaths drawn to your every action. Even mundane tasks become panic-inducing due to the constant threat of murderers lurking nearby.
«Experience points unlock permanent upgrades, enhancing gameplay»
Imagine being pursued by bloodthirsty killers in the least favorable location:

A cabin in the woods
An abandoned carnival
A cave
A desert
The open sea
Other - share your thoughts in the comments

Did I mention you're unarmed? At best, you have tools for distraction. Stealth, darkness, and hiding spots become your allies. When executed well, the tension mirrors classic horror scenes, as monsters loom and you hold your breath. Sometimes, however, enemy AI glitches, leaving pursuers clueless even when they should spot you. Such shortcomings dampen the cat-and-mouse thrill.

Enemies introduce psychosis through poisonous gas, resulting in hallucinations and second-guessing reality. Encounters with doppelgangers of teammates amplify mistrust among friends. Playing with friends enhances the experience, leading to both coordination and chaos. The objectives grow more complex as player count rises, trading stealth for frantic running and trap-triggering.
Experience points unlock permanent upgrades, enhancing gameplay. Unique abilities add strategic dynamics, and cosmetics allow personalization. Although grinding is required, these enhancements enrich gameplay.

However, AI's lack of intelligence becomes evident with progression. The challenge remains due to constant disruptions, but enemies' shortcomings reduce their frightening presence. Content remains limited in early access, with only three main levels and a few variations. Red Barrels plans future content, which holds promise for diversifying the experience.

In conclusion, The Outlast Trials introduces an innovative take on horror gaming, offering both memorable moments and room for improvement. While the initial version showcases potential, the execution requires refinement. The blend of tension and humor, alongside unique gameplay, keeps the experience engaging despite its current limitations.

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