I watched a couple of my favorite gamers/personalities on YouTube playing through the indie game Outlast and I was immensely disappointed.
Outlast is a horror adventure game where the player/protagonist enacts a reporter who secretly infiltrates an abandoned mental asylum at night. The goal is to find out whether the private research firm/think tank that recently took the asylum over was actually using the inmates for horrible, inhumane experiments.
Whenever a topic as banal as mental illness or a mental asylum is made the background for a horror game, you can spell out doom pretty much from the get-go. It's a cop out. It would be fun and interesting if the writers/developers would stop throwing up on the screen and think story and resolution out a little better. I saw nothing more than a whole lot of conjecture, religious superstition, and blood splatter and guts mixed all up in a shaker for good measure. *rolls eyes*
As the amount of body parts, organs, blood pools and splatter, and horribly disfigured characters increase exponentially as you progress, the storyline gets weaker and weaker until it's just a whisp of smoke by the end. *sad panda face*
As you progress through the "levels," question upon question keeps piling up around the player--much like the body parts and guts. It's almost like the developers focused on the great lighting, background graphics, and character schematics first, then left the plot until last--when most of the money was already spent.
If the visual and auditory assaults on the player are not enough to keep them entertained/hooked on this train wreck you can't look away from, they threw in little bits and pieces of information which made the player hope against hope that things would get cleared up in the end. Sadly, that "a-ha!" moment never arrives. There's no payoff.
If the gruesome sights were not enough to shock the young male audience who is obviously targeted for this game, there was a lot of full male frontal nudity--probably harping on homophobia, claustrophobia, and helplessness to kick off the cheap thrills and chills. Any game where the player is unable to equip and defend his/her character, is another clue that the game won't end well. The player is definitely being taken for a ride. And not a fun one at that.
I was really disappointed. This game had so much potential. First of all, this is an indie company, and these are getting some amazing games out lately. They really work on details and they're a joy to play through. The graphics and backgrounds were well designed in Outlast, but imagine if the developers had done their research and interspersed some real, historical, or medical material and information a into a real plot and story line. What a difference that would have made!
I hope that if there ends up being a sequel, it's a lot more well thought out. And a lot less ugly.