1 person found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 9.1 hrs on record (9.1 hrs at review time)
Posted: Nov 30, 2013 @ 7:30am
Updated: May 28, 2015 @ 9:05am

Works reasonably well under Wine (v1.7.7, with GTX660M graphics @1920x1080, Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy). Had to turn the "effects" setting all the way down to avoid graphical corruption, but everything else can be cracked to maximum so game-play still looks very nice. Menus were slow and probably dropped to ~10 FPS, but quite usable and a minor annoyance. In-game performance was fine.

Throughout the campaign, I had the game crash at two points, but am not certain that either was Wine-related. One was about 1/4 of the way through just after a cut-scene (right after Father Martin gives you a sedative) where the game terminated with a crash report box, and the other was when I clicked the Exit Game option from the main menu (the game locked up). In neither case did I lose any progress.

I did experience a Wine issue whereby the mouse would occasionally (usually after a cut-scene or climbing a ledge) appear to hit a virtual wall and would not turn the character past a certain point. This is solved by left-clicking, and is not an issue unique to Outlast. A minor annoyance, but worth noting.

As for the game-play, there were some minor annoyances. There's a lot of walking along ledges involved, but sometimes the character won't actually snap to the ledge as he should, causing you to fall to your death and return to the last checkpoint. At one point, I wasn't clear how to proceed since the player would not cling to a ledge which otherwise seemed like the only obvious path forward, so I wasted some time looking for an alternate path that didn't exist.

There are also occasions where you must jump across from a ledge, and those are even harder because the jumping controls on ledges don't seem to work reliably. At one point I think I repeated attempts at jumping from a ledge about 6 times (spending about a minute resuming from the last checkpoint each time I fell to my death) which was quite frustrating.

I did appreciate that you have the ability to look behind when running, however I would have appreciated this more if the option were available when walking as well. Looking through the camera is a nice gimmick, but it doesn't appear to use battery power unless you enable night-vision. Further, certain events in your diary apparently won't be recorded unless you actually film them. All of this makes me wonder why there is even an option to put the camera down? You basically would never want to, and instead just toggle night-vision on and off.

You won't have any issues running out of batteries for your camera for the entire duration if you take time to look around. My play-through was 9 hours to completion, so I clearly spent a lot of time exploring. There was one point where I was down to two spare batteries, but upon completion I had 10 spare batteries and there were more around which I couldn't pick-up due to a 10 battery carrying cap.

Not having to worry about running out of breath was quite refreshing. Running speed only slows down if you are injured, but you recover after about 20 seconds. Even lightly injured and looking through a video camera with night-vision to see where you are going, you can still outrun probably any enemy.

There is an interesting story here, and there were scares big enough to make me knock over things on my desk and hit wrong buttons! It seems that only indie titles are capable of scares like this, as I don't recall atmosphere and frights from any AAA blockbuster reaching these levels.

If you're interested in Outlast (which you are if you've read this far), I'd suggest checking out the Penumbra series and Amnesia: The Dark Descent first. Those are similar in many respects (perhaps the biggest difference being that they involve puzzles whereas Outlast instead adds cut-scenes), but Penumbra and Amnesia have native GNU/Linux builds. Having said that, Outlast is quite enjoyable under recent Wine releases and provides plenty of good scares.

[Update: This game now provides GNU/Linux builds, so it is no longer required to use Wine. I have yet to see how the native builds perform in-game, however I notice the main menu continues to perform very slowly on the same graphics card.]
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