The Outlast Trials Video Game Review

Written by Daniel Benson

Released by Red Barrels

Developed by Red Barrels
2023, Rated PEGI 18
Game released on 5th March 2024
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5.



The Outlast Trials, the third chapter in the Outlast series of games (but not Outlast III, that's coming later) continues the first-person horror franchise where players must use their wits and cunning over brute force and weaponry to survive the game. Released as early access on Steam almost a year ago, it finally makes its console debut.

The shady Murkoff Corporation is taking untrained civilians, that would be you Mr Player, and attempting to shape them into sleeper agents it can release into society and activate at the appropriate time. The game is divided into six distinct missions, with the first acting as a pseudo-tutorial to get players up to speed with how the game works. This was my first time playing an Outlast game, so the opening chapter, The Mansion, served me well to equip me with the knowledge to play.

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Starting with some brutally gory cut scenes, The Mansion thrusts players into the trials Murkoff has designed to push you to your limits. Previous trial participants, known as Ex-pops, roam the hallways of the old abandoned house and have set up noise traps (broken glass on the floors, hanging tin cans) that will give them audible clues to your whereabouts should you activate them. And let's just say the damaged minds of former Murkoff test subjects don't make for a welcoming environment; these lunatics will bludgeon you to death or spray you with mind-altering hallucinogens that bring you face-to-face with The Skinner Man.

If the roaming psychos weren't enough, the trials are also littered with mannequins that mostly serve as guidance through each level. However, when you're creeping about in the dark with the snarling rant of a lunatic in close proximity, coming across one of these inanimate dummies can cause your heart to stop momentarily. And I mean your heart, not your in-game character's.

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The first surprise was the game must be played entirely unarmed. While it's not unusual to start your tutorial mission without a gun, it's usually an item you pick up after you get the obligatory instructions in moving, running, crouching and interacting with the environment out of the way. However, that point never comes. It quickly becomes evident The Outlast Trials will be based a lot more on run and hide, rather than run and gun. As well as mostly being without a weapon, there is no way to attack enemies if that's your desire. Save for some button-mashing should you be unfortunate enough to be caught by an enemy, or the occasional throwable object, this is strictly one for stealth.

Forget, also, a ludicrously large inventory – you're limited to what you can carry. This could be a healing potion, a battery for your night vision goggles (you do not want to run out of power for this) or a key or other item that will assist you in completing your current objective. Did I mention no weapons? Just give me a gun. Please. 

The missions vary from the simple to the downright insane. In The Mansion, you'll find your feet, learn the principles of the game and have to destroy your records in the corpse-grinding machine. Yes, I said "corpse-grinding machine" (you'll see it used in a cut scene that would make John Kramer proud). In Kill the Snitch, you'll... well... have a guess, but not before you dig about in corpses for hidden keys and restart the building's generators. Poor Snitch, he never stood a chance. Cleanse the Orphans sees a simple objective: Punish the children, grind the bad apples. Sounds a bit extreme, but it's a solution to out-of-control mini-mannequins murdering adults. Vindicate the Guilty is a grisly investigative task centred on a courtroom, which involves destroying evidence (severed heads) in an acid-filled fountain. Finally, Pervert the Futterman tasks the user with defeating a psychotic deviant in a toy factory.

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There is also, for the first time, a four-player co-op mode that lets gamers team up to tackle missions together. This isn't much of a draw for me, as I don't tend to play online much at all. I still have flashbacks to the time I played Evil Dead: The Game and invited the rest of my team to join me in the car, before promptly driving it off a bridge and landing upside down in a river.

Enjoyment of The Outlast Trials will very much depend on the player's tolerance for all-out brutal horror scenes, mixed with heart-poundingly tense survival scenarios while carrying out what can get to be, after a while, repetitive tasks. After the first couple of missions, it does start to feel a little Groundhog Day in some of the tasks, but there is enough variety in the environments and the associated min-stories that go with them to keep you occupied. It's a fairly swift game, taking about five hours to complete the essential tasks to finish each trial. More time can be spent exploring every possible achievement, and of course there is the extension of co-op gameplay. If, like me, online isn't your thing, it's difficult to envisage going back to the game for a return visit unless you just happen to be craving some wanton bloodshed.


Story: threestars Cover
buy playstation
buy xbox one
Graphics: threeandahalfstars
Gameplay: threestars
Sound: four stars
Replayability: four stars
Overall: 2.5 Star Rating

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Daniel Benson
Instagram -
UK Editor
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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