outlast 2013

Hiatus Over - Starter Call

It’s so nice to have a computer again. Good thing is, I was able to transfer all my icons and shit. So like this for a little thing. I’ll most likely get to it tomorrow. I’m sick as shit and ready to lay down right now. You could always message me to plot too. Wanna get some serial stuff goin down with Mia. It’s been way too long.

Similarities and Connections between Outlast II and Tomb Raider 2013: An analysis

When I played Outlast 2 I felt many of the concepts were similar to Tomb Raider 2013. This strikes me a bit peculiar because Tomb Raider, initially, was not designed to be a game like Outlast. Tomb Raider has elements of survival horror in the first installment of the new reboot and also slightly in Rise of the Tomb Raider. I think in Rise of the Tomb Raider they were trying to capture Lara’s old pretty ace/demi character who is more interested in exploring rather than surviving things. I actually like Tomb Raider 2013. Gameplay is pretty awesome. But like Outlast 2 I had some problems with this Tomb Raider storyline. It just doesn’t feel like Lara all the time. The same confident and curious Lara is replaced by a traumatised person who seemingly just wants closure. Even Lara in Angel of Darkness was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she wasn’t fully interested in closure. She was interested in finding things out both for her sake and closure. The problem with Crystal Dynamics Lara is always that she is positioned as someone wanting closure which wasn’t the same with Core Design’s canon at all. Similarly, Crystal Dynamics also introduces characters that Lara doesn’t always have a clear relationship with and the evolution of their friendship is completely riffed off in the canon games. Samantha Nishimura and Lara are pretty much best friends and some even say there could be something romantic between them. Even if the latter wasn’t what happens, this friendship needs better exposure. Though, a romantic relationship between Sam and Lara is also likely seeing that they do know each other for a long time and did things together. I am okay with Rise of the Tomb Raider being focused solely on Lara. However, the next ones should include Sam and show how their friendship/relationship can evolve. Though, I do hope they don’t put it through hoops for a closure related theme.

Outlast 2 having this theme is not necessarily bad. Outlast 2 is trying to expand the “Walrider universe/Murkoff universe” and showing a seemingly “innocuous” rescue mission having effects of the “save the damsel” turn completely on its head is actually, great. Blake doesn’t necessarily “save” anyone if we think about the ways people rescue others. Neither does he ever get back being normal. Obviously, what Blake feels. what happened, is important. Outlast 2 is more plot driven, in some ways, than character driven. Unlike TR where everything to an extent depends on Lara; Outlast has eschewed that in favour of “new” characters in an expansion of their stories. This works to a certain extent. Though the first games of Outlast were also good at weaving character narratives, both protagonists and antagonists, into their share of things. We remember crucial enemies in the game: it is hard to forget Rick Trager, Jeremy Blaire, Eddie Gluskin and Frank Manera, alongside the Twins. We don’t forget Chris Walker, Billy (William) Hope and the Walrider. Ironically, we also recollect Andrew, the scientist who sadistically licks a semi-conscious Waylon Park’s face. 

All the characters in Outlast and Outlast: Whistleblower are actually memorable; this is important as they help create the ambience which then the plot unravels. This isn’t necessarily so with Outlast II and it isn’t also so for TR 2013 because they both are plot heavy. The only character well established in TR 2013 is Lara. Aside from that we can get some ideas of who some people are but never really much about them. In Outlast II we have a host of interesting characters: Understanding Knoth means reading the Gospels of Knoth and the online release they had of him. Without those two it is actually pretty unclear who Knoth is and why he is the way he is. Val gets some of that through their journals that is “strangely” scattered throughout the town of Temple Gate (perhaps it is another form of gospel? Used as a way to convert into a Heretic). Still, the game requires actual reading which I think some of the gamers don’t really do. Even still Val’s journals are not always enough to satiate our appetites for ‘knowing’ characters. Gamers need interaction as games are an interactive discourse/text. Gamers could understand Eddie and Jeremy because they had interactions with their characters (obviously, very painful for Waylon Park). Their psychosis/malevolence is pretty well documented by the sort of encounters we have have, playing as Waylon Park, to these characters. 

The paucity of information surrounding Marta is also strongly felt. She is the sledgehammer of Knoth; capable of going vast stretches, like Chris Walker, to look for her prey. Like a hound or lioness she catches you to either castrate you or disembowel you to death. Her pickaxe looks like a scythe of a grim reaper. She is also agile, I would say more than Walker. This character is aesthetically, hauntingly beautiful. You can see from her design parameters, her appearances, her aesthetics and her dialogues that there was definitely care and thought in her character creation. However, in actual gameplay much needed “meat/carrion” (yes tongue in cheek usage here). Obviously, Outlast II tries to show and not tell, which is good — we do explore a place called Marta’s piece, which is technically a private abattoir-sanctuary to Marta. We see a burnt body upside down, we see carrion of animals, we see decapitated men inside the slaughterhouse itself, hoisted up and bound “like a pig”, as Marta says, who seemingly had soiled their once white underwear at the moment of death. We know this is Marta’s territory of sorts, her hunting ground. We also know that the townsfolk are afraid of her and do not want to trifle with her. Marta’s most revealing characteristic is that she feels regret and guilt for killing people. I think it was someone here in tumblr who pointed out that Marta saying “God loves you” is more to herself than anyone else. She also says gospel quotes in rhymes and as a sort of a vigil, as Knoth had stated her faith is imperfect, so to keep her ever focused. Yet, that is just a vague patina of who Marta is and what she is. Unlike her happily eviscerating Blake’s innards we know hardly of her thoughts. Obviously, even when she kills Ethan and says, “take your penance”, it is probably her trying to well establish her faith back.  However, it would be interesting to have had more encounters with her and actually see if she changes her positionality. 

Similarly, the Solarii, the cult present in TR 2013, are also not intimately known or personally know. Lara calls them insane murderers though there were evidences of people not liking what was happening but scared to overtly say anything because they would be executed. There is a scene in the game like that as well where an angry Solarii tells people he has had it with the rituals, the Sun Queen and tells his cult members not to call him brother. The man is executed on the spot while he is apologising. The Solarii, like The Testament of New Ezekial, are also a patriarchal system following a grand patriarch, Mathias to the other’s Knoth. The Solarii have only male members as females are sacrificed to Himiko. Unlike Knoth, Mathias is not tricked into doing any bidding’ everything are more or less his wishes. It is by trials and error, sacrificing his own people who he got shipwrecked with, and sacrifices countless other people, including two girl children, to get his understanding of Yamatai and Himiko. Solarii sacrifice females like the The Testament of New Ezekiel sacrifices children pretty much to make a “god” happy: Himiko and Murkoff respectively. For Solarii it is Himiko’s ascension and for Temple Gate it is salvation from the antchrist. Of course, there are no true Heretics in TR 2013. We have opposing groups in ROTTR though. However, ascension, sacrifice and salvation are key themes for each cult in both games. 

The Solarii are pretty much less fleshed than I would say ROTTR’s Trinity and Remnant. Unlike Trinity soldiers we get to know intimately, the good and the bad, similarly the Remnant, we know lesser about the Solarii. I critiqued this when TR 2013 came out as I thought it was too black and white despite the game’s trying to show a complicated connectivity to the Solarii and the people involved. So, I am happy when ROTTR actually worked on Trinity and Remnant people to show that there are definitely divisive voices amongst their ranks. You can see in Outlast II, unlike Outlast, surprisingly, we don’t know any Heretic personally aside Val and the few outliers present in the game are rapidly killed off. We can only assume and surmise through town graffiti, prisoners and dead corpses that there had been people who did not agree with The Testament of New Ezekiel’s teachings. That is just a slice of what Temple Gate could be seeing the environment can be interesting.  

Alongside Val and Marta’s impermeabilities we also have the lack of character development for Nick and Laird. We do not know their origins, we were given data on Eddie and Frank and also we get to know about Billy and Trager. Documents also inform us about Wernicke and we are treated also to an exit interview. With Outlast II characters, they come and go as they please. As though the game itself is their temporary lodgings. The only antagonist we do get more information on is Father Loutermilch. Loutermilch starts out as a human silhouette, voices, sinister laughter and movement, then progressibely becomes a weird multi-limbed shadow to a materialisation to the demon in the flesh. There is obviously a good development of Loutermilch. Of all the villains, he is the only one we spend lots of time with. This shows that Outlast II could have done more with the other characters. Perhaps, not kill of Ethan too suddenly as well. 

Understandably, both series can actually improve. There is much to be gleaned from each in regards to developments and narratives. There is obviously some great points about both series. Each is trying to build up their respective universes. And each universe in-game is fun to explore and know about. It would be great to see what more they can come up with alongside beautiful graphics and engaging gameplay. 

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Outlast Gameplay Walkthrough [Part 1] Mount Massive Asylum (by Dice17)