I Really Wish The Outlast Trials Gave Us More Single-Player Content

That 10-minute intro was such a blast that even 10 hours of co-op couldn't recreate its magic.

Story Highlights

  • The Outlast Trials’ prologue features incredible visuals, stealth segments, and a narrative basis.
  • The game’s co-op trials, although innovative, lack the horror and depth of its predecessors.
  • Combining single-player segments with multiplayer gameplay could be the way to go.

It’s nothing new for me to say that The Outlast Trials was a divisive title pre-launch. Deviating from the tried-and-tested single-player formula, Red Barrels was definitely aiming for longevity with this one at the cost of potentially angering their original fanbase. Fortunately, though, the game’s out, and it’s a massive success in terms of sales and pleasing its veteran and beginner audience.

However, there’s a reason why Outlast 1 and 2 were considered the pillars of the horror genre, and The Outlast Trials is… missing that horror element. I’ve put roughly 35 hours into completing the different co-op trials with my friends, and while I do think they’re fun and ambitious, I keep reminiscing and replaying that 10-minute prologue, which felt much more special and exciting.

The Outlast Trials’ Prologue Was Its Strongest Part

Before I start gushing about the game’s intro, I want to lay a foundation first. I recently finished Outlast 1’s Whistleblower DLC, a masterpiece in horror and horror-themed storytelling. As such, when going into The Outlast Trials, I was hoping for a similar unsettling atmosphere with intense claustrophobia while trying to keep tame expectations.

When I dived into the prologue, I was blown away by the sheer detail and artistry put in. The stunning visuals and aura, the uncensored gore, and that sense of intrigue and urgency towards the latter half already got my hopes up. The narrative also develops a strong basis, where your traumatized protagonist was abandoning public and private records, love, and beliefs by Dr. Hendricks.

experiments in outlast trials
The gruesome experiments within the prologue | Source: eXputer 

However, the best parts of the introduction were the stealth segments, where you had to carefully hide in dark corners and behind objects to evade enemies. Believe me when I say that the trials rarely capture even an ounce of tension that emerged in those segments.

Trials Are Fun, But They Somewhat Lack Depth And Creativity 

The co-op aspect of The Outlast Trials adds a ton of possibilities to the game, but as you’d expect, the multiplayer mechanic makes it lack two fundamental features of great horror games — narrative and spook. Don’t get me wrong; the trials can get eerie at times, and the lore bits scattered throughout the levels can genuinely catch your interest, but they’re just not the same.

The monsters don’t feel as inspiring as the ones in Outlast 1 and 2, and realistically, you can’t keep a creepy vibe when your co-op mate is regularly “teabagging” in-game right in front of you. In most cases, my friends and I were trolling the monsters because they couldn’t keep up with the aggro switches, so we were getting a laugh out of the situation instead of running away from mindless freaks.

So the AI is pretty exploitable
byu/gregzzz inoutlast

Going back to the creativity problem, I noticed that the lore and story in The Outlast Trials were definitely taking a backseat and playing it safe to some degree. If you remember, Outlast 1 had a highly creative narrative with several abstract ideas mixing with each other. Even the torturing methods in prior titles came out of wild imagination, but alas, you can’t reenact those scenes in a co-op title. 

Having More Offline Content Provides The Best Of Both Worlds

After playing The Outlast Trials, some users might believe that having a multiplayer component could have a stronger impact than an offline experience, and, to that, I say, why not have both? Sure, players can enter a trial solo and call it a “single-player,” but there are several routes Red Barrels can take to add thrilling situations like its predecessors.

Playing The Outlast Trials single player
byu/Important_Payment_15 inoutlast

Maybe add some single-player segments between different trials where players have to go in alone and complete certain objectives to continue. In my eyes, this could offer a dynamic gameplay perspective while also giving the game a chance to present its narrative directly. The developers might need to make more tailor-made experiences for this approach, but if anyone can pull it off, my money’s on them.

As someone who enjoys the Outlast franchise and is an active member of the community, I feel like the best way to describe The Outlast Trial’s formula is by saying they took two steps forward and one step back.

There are definitely hints of innovation that work, but the features that were watered down are the ones that define this well-respected franchise. And with such promising single-player prowess crammed into an introductory portion, it’d be a shame not to let fans enjoy that style before Outlast 3 comes around. 

On a side note, eXputer took the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Philippe Morin, one of the co-founders of Red Barrels. I highly recommend checking it out if you want some insight into the vision behind The Outlast Trials as well as any future prospects for the franchise. 

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Daniyal is a Guides Writer and Editor at eXputer with over one year of experience in content writing. He's had a passion for tech and gaming for more than 15 years. Ever since his first console, the PS2, he's constantly branching off to different genres, and his go-to at the moment is the Souls experience pioneered by FromSoftware, which is evident by his 1,500+ hours of game time on Elden Ring. You can learn some more about Daniyal's gaming journey on his Steam & Xbox profiles.

Experience: 1+ Years || Mainly Covers Guides || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

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