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Outlast Vs The Outlast Trials



If there's one thing we know, it's that Red Barrels sure know how to develop award-winning horror material. Just take a look at Outlast, for example; it cements its position as one of the most bone-shattering survival IPs in the world, and if anything can help to fortify this statement — it's The Outlast Trials, the studio's latest addition to the anthology. And while the latter doesn't quite tiptoe on all the same lines as its story-driven sibling, it does conjure an atmospheric world that's not only rife with multiplayer-based innovations, but the series' signature essence of risqué themes and gore-filled theatrics.

Granted, both Outlast and The Outlast Trials are leaps and bounds apart in terms of gameplay. That said, with Murkoff Corporation standing as the brunt of the lore in each, it begs the question: which of the two explored its unethical practices with a fine-tooth comb, and which one developed a connection that stuck with its players long after the credits began to roll?

What Is Outlast?

The original Outlast tells the story of an investigative journalist's life-threatening fact finding excursion through the horrifying world of Mount Massive Asylum — an institution that, prior to the protagonist's arrival, stood as the staging grounds for a network of unethical brainwashing exercises.

With a rather cryptic email in one hand and a camera in the other, the eagle-eyed and evidently tenacious journalist embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind Mount Massive. Little does he know, however, that the doctors and staff are no longer in charge; it's the patients, along with their combined hunger for revenge against the puppeteers, who call the shots. And boy, they're not exactly in the mood to negotiate the terms of their medical contracts.

Outlast, being a survival game at heart, doesn't include any combat, and instead relies on stealth, along with a number of cat-and-mouse chases with some of the asylum's more, shall we say, sadistic patients. Armed with nothing but a camera and a limited supply of batteries, you are sent to document the horrors directly from the source — alone, devoid of any resources, and completely unaware of the dangers that lurk within the wards and prisons of Mount Massive Asylum.

What Is The Outlast Trials?

The Outlast Trials takes a leaf out of a different book; an edition that simply removes the single-player campaign and instead opts for a four-player co-op experience. And while it does keep the evil schemes conducted by Murkoff Corporation at the heart of its narrative, it does remove a great deal of its original material, i.e. the sense of being alone and without any form of guidance.

Set during the Cold War, The Outlast Trials depicts the unfortunate events slumped upon a network of patients — all of whom must endure a series of horrifying tasks for the sake of being assessed. As one of said patients, you must band together with those around you, and gradually earn XP to climb something called Therapy Levels — a feature that ties in with various upgrades and perks.

As the game is still in its early access state, there are only three trials to embark on. That said, each of the “death games” are equally as unnerving and as chock-full of cat-and-mouse events, similar to that of the original Outlast. It's within these rather gruesome challenges that you, along with your team, must work together to complete a series of objectives and, with a little luck, unearth the documents that could very well lead to the downfall of Murkoff Corporation.


Gameplay-wise, both Outlast and The Outlast Trials foster a traditional survival-focused blueprint. As a defenceless survivor wedged in the pit of a hostile environment, the only thing you can ever really do is adopt a stealthy approach while carrying out basic maneuvers and tasks. However, there is one line of defence that you can employ in The Outlast Trials, which is a Rig—an in-game consumable that lets you either stun, blind, or examine enemies during trials. This doesn't appear in the OG Outlast entries, meaning your only hope for survival is through the process of cowering in lockers and crates. Oh, and not to mention collecting batteries for your camera to help boost your vision when galavanting about in the dark.

Outside of enemy encounters, both games rely on fact finding to steer the narrative towards its conclusion. And while foraging for documents and bulky binders isn't mandatory, it is advised — especially if you're interested in learning more about the history of Murkoff Corporation and its questionable practices.

On a good day, you could quite easily beat both Outlast and The Outlast Trials in three hours or less. That said, where Outlast only brings a one-and-done single-player campaign, The Outlast Trials leaves plenty of room for growth. And from what we've seen to date, there's no doubt in our minds that it'll be phasing out anytime soon, either. So, if it's a short but compelling single-player experience you're after, then settle for the former. For something a little bulkier and more multiplayer-friendly, aim for The Outlast Trials.


To be frank, neither of the two games are products of a half-baked mind. On the contrary, each game delivers a rather short, but jam-packed experience that's rarely ever short on jump scares and lore. But when all's said and done, nothing can really surpass the sheer excellence of Outlast, as it amplifies just about every element in the book, tenfold. A matter of opinion, of course, but if it's a terrifying romp through the dark you're after, then there really is no question about it.

On the other hand, if you've exhausted all your options and are interested in learning more about the lore behind Outlast, then The Outlast Trials can and will provide exactly that. What's more, if you're an avid co-op fan and enjoy the idea of four users blindly running around trying to rummage for generators in the dark — then hey, you won't find anything better to soothe the appetite than Red Barrels' latest chapter.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our verdict? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.