Tag - horror

Outlast 2 Review (PC)

In 2013, Red Barrels released their first survival horror video game, centered around a journalist investigating an insane asylum, called Outlast.  What made Outlast immediately successful was the intense story and game play, where you play a protagonist that cannot fight back so your only options was to run or die.  Pretty soon, the internet was covered in videos showing people playing Outlast, just to capture their reactions and jump scares on camera.  Outlast became known as a good game for a jump scare, but what many people forget is that the game itself had a great story line, an intriguing mystery, and tense moments that really made the player uncomfortable.  Four years later, we finally have a true sequel in the aptly named Outlast 2. Does the sequel live up to the quality of the first game, or does it get crushed in the expectations?  Be warned, I tried to stay as spoiler free as possible, but some of my critiques talk about the story, so proceed at your own risk.

Story

In Outlast 2, you play as Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist and cameraman, who is traveling to Arizona with his wife, Lynn, to investigate the discovery of the body of an unknown girl.  Near the end of the trip, the helicopter carrying Blake, Lynn, and the pilot, crashes.  Blake wakes to find his wife missing and the pilot skinned alive and attached to a tree.  Searching for his missing wife, Blake makes his way towards the town of Temple Gate, which is run by a man named “Papa” Sullivan Knoth and his cult of followers.  Blake learns that Lynn was abducted by this cult, and is pregnant with Knoth claiming the child is the Anti-Christ.  Blake also learns about another group of heretics that is opposed to Knoth’s group and is in open conflict.  Caught between the two rival groups, Blake needs to find Lynn and get her out of the area, while discovering the mysteries of Temple Gate.

Outlast 2 has a sub plot that comes out as hallucinations suffered by Blake.  Blake remembers a traumatic event that occurred while he was attending a religious school, and is centered around the death of a girl he knew, named Jessica.  These hallucinations pop up at certain times during the game, and I kept waiting for a huge pay off at the end where Blake connects this past trauma with the trauma that he is currently experiencing.   Unfortunately, that pay off never comes, and the whole sub plot of Jessica feels like it was only used to pad the length of the game.  The story would have been so much better and stronger if this sub plot was left completely out.

Other then the subplot critique, Outlast 2 has a decent story line, but no where near as strong as the first Outlast.  Miles from the first game had a strong reason to keep filming, he was documenting the horrors in the asylum to expose the events and experiments going on within the walls.  Honestly, what motivation does Blake have to continue to record his events during Outlast 2?  He isn’t hoping to expose Knoth for his crimes, or expose some conspiracy within the town of Temple Gate, he just wants to find his wife and leave.  The use of the camera in Outlast 2 is literally only there to give the player the ability to see in the dark and to listen to voices using the camera’s mic.  So, if you can suspend your disbelief knowing that, then the rest of the story of Outlast 2 works ok, but it isn’t anywhere near as compelling or as strong as the first game.

Game Play

The game play for Outlast 2 is exactly the same as Outlast, with a few new editions.  Like the first game, Blake is completely inept at defending himself from anyone.  Blake can only run and hide under beds, in barrels, in wardrobes, or in pools of water.  Blake must be in worse shape then Miles was, due to the fact that Blake has less stamina and can run for shorter distances then Miles could, so your foes will catch you much quicker in a foot race.

You will need to find batteries, just like the first game, but this time you have access to an inventory screen that allows you to see what’s in your pockets.  You can collect batteries and bandages while exploring the lovely town of Temple Gate, with the batteries recharging your camera and the bandages healing you when you get caught by the inhabitants.  Your camera also has a live mic that now allows you to listen to noises in a particular direction.  When pointed at a noise, you will hear exactly what is being said and where that noise is coming from.  This will help you avoid chance encounters when you cannot see very far in front of you, like while hiding in a corn field.  And yes, corn in Arizona is a thing, I did check on that.

The new additions to Outlast 2 were interesting, but not enough to really separate the game play from the original game for me.  This felt more like I was playing new dlc for Outlast then an actual sequel that took years to develop.  The easiest thing to say here is, if you liked the game play of Outlast then you will like the game play in Outlast 2.  If you are looking for something more, or huge advances in game play, you will be disappointed.

Aesthetics

My main critique in the aesthetics for the Outlast series is simple, you see almost the entire world through the viewfinder of a camera that is equipped with night vision.  Everything is night vision green, or too dark to see what is going on or what the environment looks like.  So, going into Outlast 2, I already had that strike set up for my review and Outlast 2 carried on with that tradition.  Also, the setting in the first Outlast is far creepier, scarier, more intense then the setting in the sequel.  We go from haunting images within an insane asylum, that is overrun by inmates, to a town in rural Arizona run by religious fanatics.  Given the two, I vote for “asylum” being a hell of a lot scarier then “rural town”.  The visuals are exactly the same quality as the first game, with no real improvement.  It works, and it works fine.  Marta is horrific, and is designed perfectly, still have nightmares about her.

Final Thoughts

So, it looks like I hated the game, as I reread through what I’ve written up to this point, and that is far from the actual truth.  I would say that I was disappointed by the sequel, but did not hate it.  For me, sequels should take what was good about the first one, and really build on top of it to become great.  Most sequels fall at this, some fail horribly.  Outlast 2 simply does not improve on the original’s design, and that is ultimately my biggest critique with the game.  Outlast is far creepier and scarier for me, but mostly due to its originality and setting. You know exactly what you will be getting when you load up Outlast 2, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  If you liked the first game, you’ll like the second game.  It is more of the same, and it’s good.  Where Outlast 2 failed to impress me, is that it isn’t different enough from Outlast to become great.  Is that worth condemning an game?  Absolutely not, but it also isn’t worth overly praising a game either.  Outlast 2 is solid, though confusing at times.  Outlast 2 is available now through Steam.


Outlast 2 Review Score

(3 out of 5 stars)


 

Midsummer Scream’s Scream Park Presentation Schedule

Here is the schedule for Midsummer Scream’s “scream park” presentations. A scream park, for those of you who don’t know, is a large haunted event with multiple haunted houses to be experienced therein. The Midsummer Scream Halloween / horror convention will run on July 29 and July 30 at the Long Beach Convention Center. You can find ticket information and more at their official website.

Saturday, July 29

  • 1:30pm: Knott’s Scary Farm
  • 3:00pm: Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest
  • 6:00pm: Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Sunday, July 30

  • 1:30pm: Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights

The Shining Coming to Halloween Horror Nights

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (May 19, 2017) – For the first time ever, the psychological  horror film, The Shining, will bring unspeakable terror to “Halloween Horror Nights” in terrifying new mazes opening at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning this September.

The twisted minds behind the nation’s best, most intense Halloween events will bring every gruesome moment and paranormal haunting that fans have seen in the film to life in original, disturbingly authentic mazes.

“The Shining” maze at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will provide guests with a unique opportunity to relive some of the film’s most iconic, and sinister, moments.  While venturing through the eerie Overlook Hotel, guests will be thrust into the hotel’s tragic history of murder and madness, bearing witness to caretaker Jack Torrance’s spiraling descent into insanity. Nightmarish visions will come to life in this macabre maze, overwhelming guests with the “shine” of the murderous, ghostly entities that lurk around every turn – all while trying to escape the wrath of Jack Torrance as he violently succumbs to the hotel’s paranormal forces.

The Shining has been regarded as “a masterpiece of modern horror” by critics and fans alike. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the film’s enormous influence on pop culture has been captured throughout a multitude of films, television shows, music and more since its disturbing debut in 1980.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Scare LA Tickets Half Off Pre-Sale

LOS ANGELES, CA – May 16, 2017 – All monsters can still take advantage of our Halfoween sale to receive 1/2 OFF General Admission and Fear Freak tickets (using the code HALFOSCARE at checkout). Fans must purchase tickets now before the extended treat expires!

The August 5-6 convention where all monsters come together attracted over 12,000 last year and is on track to be the biggest and most exciting yet and will be coming to one of the largest venues in Southern California, the Los Angeles Convention Center! As registered guests, all will receive exclusive updates of spooky thrills that will be part of the gathering.

ScareLA’s 2017 theme, “Monsters Come Together,” celebrates diversity, unity and tolerance. Created to bring people together in a celebration of the scary and unusual, the convention aims to build and strengthen community ties across diverse groups, backgrounds and interests.

For more information, visit www.scarela.com.

# # #

About ScareLA:

ScareLA is the world’s first summer Halloween convention. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, the event celebrates the American scare season traditions and the diverse cultural heritage of the Greater Los Angeles region. Featuring hundreds of specialty vendors, education programming, world-class industry presentations, ScareLA draws thousands of professionals, fans and families from the U.S. and abroad to celebrate Halloween early every summer. ScareLA is one of the fastest growing independent fan conventions in the U.S. addressing a $10 billion Halloween industry worldwide.

Useful Links:

Official Hashtag: #ScareLA

ScareLA Website: http://www.scarela.com

ScareLA’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScareLAcon/

ScareLA’s Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/scarelosangeles

ScareLA’s Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/scarelosangeles

ScareLA’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/scarelosangeles

The Thing Infection at Outpost 31 Board Game Announced

May 3, 2017 – Mondo and USAopoly are excited to announce the release and share a sneak peek at the design for The Thing™ Infection at Outpost 31, the first board game collaboration with USAopoly’s designer games division, Project Raygun. The regular version of the game will be in stores and online nationwide this October, and a limited edition Mondo exclusive version will be available at MondoTees.com.

An alien lifeform has infiltrated a bleak and desolate Antarctic research station assimilating other organisms and then imitating them. In the hidden identity game The Thing™ Infection at Outpost 31, you will relive John Carpenter’s sci-fi cult classic from Universal Pictures in a race to discover who among the team has been infected by this heinous lifeform.

The game has been designed to be as authentically cinematic as possible, ensuring that the players will experience the paranoia and tension that makes the film so great.

The regular version of the game features artwork and designs by Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative. The Mondo exclusive version, sold exclusively through MondoTees.com, is limited to 1,982 copies, and features different packaging artwork by Jock. The limited edition game will also come with a Mondo print, enamel pin and two additional sculpted movers: the Norwegian character and the Palmer Thing.

The Thing™ Infection at Outpost 31 Gameplay Description
It is the start of the bleak, desolate Antarctic winter when a group of NSF researchers manning the claustrophobic, isolated U.S. Outpost 31 comes into contact with a hostile extraterrestrial lifeform. Bent on assimilating Earth’s native species, this being infiltrates the facility-creating a perfect imitation of one of the Outpost 31 crew. The staff frantically begin a sweep of the base, desperate to purge this alien infection before escaping to warn McMurdo Station that somewhere, out there in the frigid darkness, something horrible is waiting.

In The Thing™ Infection at Outpost 31, relive John Carpenter’s sci-fi cult classic as a hidden identity game designed to push you to the edge. Play as one of a dozen characters like helicopter pilot MacReady, mechanic Childs, or station manager Garry. Face sabotage and infection as you investigate the facility-gather gear, battle The Thing, expose any imitations among you, and escape Outpost 31!

Tension mounts and paranoia ensues as you question who you can trust in the ultimate race to save humanity.

A board game based on the cult-classic film THE THING. The full game title will be THE THING™: INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31. MSRP (TBD). Release date Fall 2017.

POLAROID Poster and Release Info

The upcoming horror film, POLAROID has released its first official poster as well as announced some release date info. The film, directed by Lars Klevberg (The Wall) and starring Kathryn Prescott (FINDING CARTER), Mitch Pileggi (THE X-FILES), and Grace Zabriskie (THE GRUDGE) will be released on August 25, 2017. POLAROID tell the story of high school loner Bird Fitcher, who has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon.

ScareLA Announces Halfoween Pre-Sale Weekend

LOS ANGELES, CA – April 28, 2017 – An early Halloween treat has arrived! Our Halfoween Weekend sale gives all fans an opportunity to purchase tickets and receive 1/2 OFF General Admission and Fear Freak tickets (using the code HALFOSCARE) to the groundbreaking Halloween convention, this weekend only! As it has done every year, the convention has grown beyond expectations and will include even bigger scares at its new home, The Los Angeles Convention Center.

Since debuting in 2013, ScareLA has captivated audiences by kicking off Halloween early. The show’s unique premise is combining a favorite U.S. tradition, Halloween, with the peak season for fun and travel, the summer. Set in the entertainment capital of the world, the convention is a mecca for horror fans of all ages. Attracting a record 12,000 attendees in 2016, ScareLA has become one of the fastest-growing independent conventions in the U.S. to-date.

“2017 marks a milestone for ScareLA and our fifth year anniversary,” said Lora Ivanova, ScareLA Executive Producer and Founder. “To celebrate this occasion, we are brewing up an incredible mix of entertainment, and preparing for what is sure to be our biggest and best year yet. We are thrilled to welcome fans to our new home at the Los Angeles Convention Center, our city’s premier event venue. We believe our community deserves the very best and we are proud to take our place among the best shows in the country. “

In 2016 more than 171 million Americans celebrated Halloween. Total spending in the U.S. reached a whopping $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the history of NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights. The survey found that 7 in 10 consumers hand out candy on Halloween, and nearly half decorate their home or dress in costume.

ScareLA’s 2017 theme, “Monsters Come Together,” celebrates diversity, unity and tolerance. Created to bring people together in a celebration of the scary and unusual, the convention aims to build and strengthen community ties across diverse groups, backgrounds and interests.

For more information, visit www.scarela.com.

# # #

About ScareLA:

ScareLA is the world’s first summer Halloween convention. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, the event celebrates the American scare season traditions and the diverse cultural heritage of the Greater Los Angeles region. Featuring hundreds of specialty vendors, education programming, world-class industry presentations, ScareLA draws thousands of professionals, fans and families from the U.S. and abroad to celebrate Halloween early every summer. ScareLA is one of the fastest growing independent fan conventions in the U.S. addressing a $10 billion Halloween industry worldwide.

Useful Links:

Official Hashtag: #ScareLA

ScareLA Website: http://www.scarela.com

ScareLA’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScareLAcon/

ScareLA’s Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/scarelosangeles

ScareLA’s Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/scarelosangeles

ScareLA’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/scarelosangeles

Perception Break the Silence Trailer Released

April 28, 2017 – Dim the lights and grab your safety blankets: we are excited to announce the release date for Perception, a first-person psychological horror game that thrusts players into the role of a blind woman named Cassie who depends on her ultra-sensitive hearing to solve an ancient mystery. Plagued by nightmares that lead her to a haunted New England estate, Cassie must use her wits to remain hidden and outmaneuver a malevolent force that threatens her life. Perception was crafted by the folks at The Deep End Games (Staffed with veterans of the AAA threats, BioShock and Dead Space) and released by publisher Feardemic; the game launches simultaneously on Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 on May 30, 2017.

This news is accompanied by a brand new trailer, which showcases the haunting, singular experience players can expect when Perception. Fans of games like SOMA, be sure to tune in. Perception will serve you your daily dose of creeps.

Story:

After months of research, Cassie has discovered an abandoned mansion in Gloucester, Mass. Armed with a cellphone to contact the outside world and her drive to solve the mystery, she sets off for Echo Bluff… only to find it’s worse than her nightmares. A ghostly “Presence” has tormented the house’ inhabitants for generations, and now has its eyes set on Cassie. She must solve the estate’s mysteries or risk becoming one of its victims.

Cassie finds her way through the house by tapping her cane to “see” via echolocation. Every sound creates a visual, but there is a cost. Each cane tap will reveal her whereabouts not only to herself, but to her pursuer, the Presence. She must avoid detection by using the ambient noise of the house to help her navigate or by making use of objects to create distractions.

Only one thing is certain: The Presence is searching for Cassie… and it’s listening.

Game Features:

  • “See” using echolocation. Every sound creates a visual.
  • Engage in a deadly game of hide and seek with relentless enemies, including The Presence.
  • Trigger radical change at the Estate at Echo Bluff each time you solve its mysteries.
  • Travel back through history to exorcise your own nightmares.

Perception launches on Xbox One, PC and the PlayStation®4 computer system on May 30, 2017.

Sinister Pointe Hosting Warehouse Sale this Weekend

Southern California haunted attractions company, Sinister Pointe, is hosting a big warehouse sale on April 22 and April 23 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at their location in Brea, CA. The warehouse sale will be an opportunity for the company to clean house and make way for bigger and better things coming down the pipe. At the sale, you will find video projectors, masks, costumes, speakers, lighting equipment, smoke machines, and a whole lot more.

Sinister Pointe
189 Viking Ave
Brea, CA 92821