Home Games review Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

As a fan of the Outlast series since its first release in 2013, of course we were very excited to immerse myself in the world of The Outlast Trials and MK Ultra’s human experiments at the time of the Cold War, but at the same time we were apprehensive about the game being an experience aimed mainly at co-op play with online game elements. Fortunately, the Red Barrels studio continues its winning streak by providing one of the best cooperative online horror experiences, which will undoubtedly dominate the arena in the months and years to come.

To clarify: This article is a review of the Early Access version and is not a full review, especially since the full version will include more content with improvements and solutions to various problems in Early Access. So, it is possible that we will work on updating the article after launching the full version later in 2023!

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

Murkoff company controls human minds in the era of the Cold War!

For the first two installments of Outlast, Red Barrels introduces us to the Murkoff Corporation, which we learn is experimenting with a large group of people and the mentally ill at Mount Massive Asylum. It’s pure exploitation in order to implement Project MK Ultra and take over people’s minds through brainwashing, and seeing the outcome of those experiments in the first part in particular was chilling. During the events of the first part (which takes place in 2013), we learn that the Murkoff Corporation started these experiments in the Cold War era and the project was carried out by Nazi General Rudolf Wernicke. Now we are living these events as one of the lab rats in Outlast Trials, and indeed they are crazier and terrifying experiences than those presented to us in the first part!

The Murkoff Company targets people who have no family, the poor, the lonely, the homeless so at the beginning of the game we see a poster of the company picked up by a homeless person on the streets, making all the experiments that the company does with the approval of those people who willingly go to them, and they have the right to do whatever they like with them without any account!

Murkoff’s main goal here is to cooperate with American intelligence to create brainwashed soldiers to be like a black cloth that can be formed and used at any time to stand up to communist Russia in the Cold War, and since they are soldiers that have been programmed from scratch, they are easy to control in any mission where They fulfill their masters’ wishes without question after undergoing unethical experiments and tests in Murkoff’s secret laboratories.

We will not spoil the events of the story for you, especially since we recommend trying the game if you are a fan of this world and the lore of the series, but there is a more than wonderful link to the events of the first and second parts, with more details about characters we know exist in this world, but we see or hear about them. This time they are much younger. But unfortunately, since it is an early access version, there are many details and incomplete stories here, and we will have to wait until the full version is launched in order to take a closer look at the game’s story and its world. As usual in the previous parts of Outlast, you can learn more about the details of the story by collecting documents scattered throughout the environment and stages, which give you more details.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

In general, it seems that the story here is very interesting, and makes the world of Outlast more comprehensive and ramified than before while clearly preparing for the future of the series, which is likely to include many sub-titles, and of course the official third part that will complete the events of the first two parts, as the Red Barrels studio confirmed that they will go To work on that story experience after fully completing The Outlast Trials!

So how do Trials/Challenges differ from the regular Outlast experience?

The idea here is that the Trials are completely controlled by Murkoff, who watches you every step, and asks you to do a set of tasks in tight areas that they designed themselves, and if you finish those tasks, you will come out of this place and return to your break room to prepare for the challenges next. Here we are guinea pigs. Various experiments of all kinds are performed on us until we die, or prove ourselves as soldiers capable of obeying orders without any discussion.

The difference here from the previous parts is that all the places you visit in the game are unreal places, and they can be considered as filming places that were placed in giant underground hangars away from the view of the general public. But even though the places themselves aren’t real, the enemies are real, and the trials and challenges you do require you to do a lot of immoral and scary things. Just being in this place and feeling like a controlled guinea pig disgusted me for the duration of the experiment.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

How do you finish the game with these trials:

  • The game is currently in early access, divided into four programs
  • Each program contains a main story trial with two side missions
  • Each program takes place in a different area from the other (police station – amusement park – orphanage)
  • All Main Trials, Side Quests, Hard Quests, and Exams must be completed in each Main Program in order to unlock Program X
  • Program X is where you are required to complete a set of challenges until you get to the last mission
  • This concludes the story of The Outlast Trials and goes out into the world once again as a soldier of the Murkoff Corporation and the CIA.

As is clear, the content of the game in the early entry version is small, as there are only 3 main programs with the last program, and only 3 places that we will be able to visit during that early experience. Red Barrels Studio has already promised us that they will be adding a lot of Missions and Trials to the main story between now and the final release, so we will have to wait until we get more especially with no roadmap at the time of publishing this review!

Our main issue here is that the game is Grindy at the end and literally grinds you down until you get to the end of the game doing the same challenges over and over on harder levels. This problem should be resolved with the latest version as we don’t want to go through the same experiences again on a harder level just to pass the exam until we get to the X program, and we think that the final experience will be more boring if it continues in the same form.

But what about the three existing Trials, are they any fun? of course, yes. Each Trial presents a different idea and a different goal, and despite the similarity sometimes in completing some of the required tasks, each Trial has its own and distinctive character that makes you feel that you have actually moved to a completely new place and do different and distinctive things. Each Trial presents a more difficult challenge than the one before it, so you will find that the game becomes more difficult as you progress through it and that is what is required.

We also liked that each map of them is interconnected and interconnected with each other, with the ability to open Shortcuts around you in the environment to facilitate access to previous areas. This distinctive design idea made us remember the design of the world of games like Dark Souls here, and we see that the Red Barrels studio has succeeded in providing a unique and different experience with Trials that makes it superior in designing the world over the previous two parts of the series.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

The best and most challenging gameplay in the Outlast series

The basics of the series are still there, with some improvements

The basis of Outlast is still here, it is a horror and survival game that needs you to escape and avoid enemies in order to stay alive because there are no weapons that you can carry to kill enemies, for example, but the game has other ideas that are more fun, such as the possibility of throwing bricks or bottles at enemies to make them stagger for a few seconds, and in this way open the way for you to escape from them.

It’s simple stuff, but it makes the gaming experience more realistic as we always wondered why our heroes of parts 1 and 2 don’t grab anything around them in the environment and throw them at the enemies!

The character you play as in Outlast Trials can carry 3 or 4 items with them. These items can be selected and exchanged by you from the stage you are playing. Always remember to keep at least one Healing Bottle so you can increase your life if you take damage from enemies. These items are not abundant in the environment, so you must learn to conserve all your resources and use them as necessary.

In addition to the items, you can pick up from the environment, you can also choose between four gears before entering any test:

  • X-Ray: which allows you to see through walls
  • Blind: Allows you to place a trap on the ground that blinds enemies for a short period of time
  • Stun: As the name suggests, it allows you to stun enemies for a short period of time
  • Heal: Allows you to increase your life and the life of your team, and is more suitable for cooperative play

Each of the aforementioned tools or equipment has its own use, and if you intend to experience the game with a whole team, of course it would be great for each person to take one of the tools with him so that you can take advantage of all that the game has to offer during the missions. Our favorite tool is the Stun, as we can throw it at enemies, which gives us the opportunity to escape in any predicament we find in front of us. There is also a simplified skill tree in the game that is divided into two tiers, and you must finish unlocking all the skills of the first tier in order to move to the second. This skill tree helps you gain some skills that are required to make the gameplay easier and introduce some new features in future missions.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

Since the events of the game take place in the era of the Cold War, there are no hand cameras that the protagonist can hold because they were not invented at that time, so they are replaced by night vision goggles. These glasses do not differ much in terms of gameplay mechanics from cameras, as they need batteries continuously in order to remain charged and enable you to see further in the dark.

The parkour system is still basic, and this helps you, of course, to escape from enemies, jump and climb walls. We were very pleased with how smoothly the parkour system in Outlast Trials was, as the game turned out to be very realistic on those modes. Every movement of the hero, whether walking, running, crouching, gliding, or climbing, looks much better realistic than the previous parts. The same applies to enemies, as their movement has become distinct from the previous parts, and this brings us to talk about artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is fantastic, but not perfect

One of the things we liked most about The Outlast Trials is the artificial intelligence, which has been clearly improved from the previous parts to the point that some enemies, especially Coyle and Mother Gooseberry, feel like real people with you in the environment, thinking logically and taking side lanes in order to reduce the distance between you and them. In addition, their movement and the places they move in the environment cannot be predicted, as their path varies from time to time, which makes them surprise you at unexpected times.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be applied to other enemies, in other words smaller enemies that move around in the environment and don’t appear as large as the main ones. These enemies still have very good AI, but sometimes you can be standing in front of one of them and they don’t see you, other times you can dodge that enemy by jumping across a table, and the funny thing here is that enemy can’t jump behind you, it has to turn from Turn the table around so he can reach you!

These are simple things that we expect to be fixed and greatly improved in the final version, but in the beta version it was annoying at times, especially since the experience was great most of the time, but some of the stupidity of artificial intelligence was making us laugh at some situations and lose the sense of horror we presented, we played the game for the hours leading up to that situation.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

To clarify: the game is still individually testable!

As is evident from all the presentations and images of the game and the general experience as well, the Red Barrels studio targets cooperative play as the main experience here, and the cooperative experience is really fun, especially if you play with your friends and find yourself in many difficult and scary situations, screaming and laughing together. It is really fun and makes the experience more special than it is, and with all comfort we can say that it is the best online horror experience that we have ever played in our life.

But at the same time, Red Barrels Studio allows you to enjoy the experience and all the missions and challenges individually to the full. Yes, the experience will be more difficult and more terrifying in this way, but if you are looking for a classic Outlast experience in which you find yourself in front of the environment and enemies completely alone, then you can enjoy the Trials events in solo, as we did during our first completion of the game.

It’s a horror game, but you can do some fun stuff too

Most of the time in Outlast Trials you’ll spend running away from your nightmares, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun now and then. When you finish each mission, you will return to the Lobby where the different players meet, and here you will find your room that you can decorate and adjust its colors and shape to your style, and you can also adjust the shape and gender of your character at any time. Here you will be able to upgrade your gear and skill tree, but most of all you will be able to play arm wrestling against other players, and we would like to see more of these simple and fun games in the final version.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

The best tech experience in 2023 so far!

Stunning graphics

The Outlast Trials game is based on Unreal Engine 4, and the development is noticeable from the previous parts, with great attention to all the details of the characters and environments. Each region you visit has its own unique vibe that makes it shine in your eyes, and Red Barrels Studio continues to be one of the best independent studios that offers stunning graphics that are even better than most AAA games. The overlap of lighting, colors and reflections gives a wonderful character, especially with the activation of ray tracing technology.

We cannot talk about Outlast without talking about blood, violence and body parts, and the game here presents it in the best way possible and with remarkable superiority over Outlast 2. Night lighting is still the basis of horror in the experience, and its lighting here offers a green color that reflects a lot of things in the environment from Distinctively surround you in areas with complete darkness.

Best sound design and soundtrack

As it is always said, the sonic experience is half the horror experience of any work of art, and as usual with Red Barrels, there is no dust in the sonic experience here. The sound effects and general atmosphere of the game add to the sense of dread even when there are no enemies around. The movement of the enemies, the sounds of their breathing, and the screams they make when they discover your presence in the environment make you lose your nerve as you try to escape from them and move through those narrow areas until you reach your only refuge, which is the hiding place. As for the soundtrack, composer Tom Salta (the same composer who gave us the legendary soundtrack to Deathloop) gives us a wonderfully terrifying, heart-pounding dose of horror whenever you find yourself in a sticky situation or hunted down by enemies. We can’t wait for the music to be available on streaming platforms like YouTube Music or Spotify so we can enjoy it outside of the game as well.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

Fantastic technical performance

Our experience with The Outlast Trials was on a PC with the following specifications:

  • Intel Core I3 10100F processor
  • 16 GB of DDR4 RAM at 2666 MHz
  • Graphics card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB
  • NVMe SSD M.2 storage

We were able to play the game in 1080p with high settings and most of the time we got between 100 and 120fps in various stages. We were also able to get ray tracing to work, but the frames dropped as expected to be between about 60 and 80. Overall, the technical performance was excellent, and we found the game to run great without any stuttering or general technical glitches.

Also, during 20 hours, we did not experience any technical problems or Bugs except for simple artificial intelligence problems, and Crash only happened once and we are in the main game menu and we are am not in a mission. We are surprised that it is a game that is still in an early entry version and has been released with this amount of distinguished technical refinement to become the best technically in 2023 so far!

Smooth and easy communication with players

Speaking of the technical side, we did not encounter any problems when contacting other players to try cooperative play with them, whether we invited them to be the host, or joined the other players in the Lobby. The technical experience in terms of connectivity was excellent on the Steam platform, and all servers were running all day without any pressure, suspension or technical problems even at the time of the release that contained the largest number of players.

Review of the early access version of The Outlast Trials
Epic Games

In the end

The Outlast Trials game is the required evolution of the Outlast series and online horror games in general, and comfortably becomes one of the best horror titles in 2023 along with Dead Space and Resident Evil 4. It is an interesting experience, full of adrenaline and constant fear, with strong world building and a distinctive story. All of this combines with the sophisticated gameplay to make The Outlast Trials not just a terrifying horror game, but an extremely fun game whether you decide to play it solo, or with your friends for an epic co-op experience.

Gamer Zone Club evaluation

  • Story and world building: 10
  • Single and co-op gameplay and experience: 9.5
  • Content in Early Access and Continuous Grinding: 8
  • Visual and audio experience: 9.5
  • Artificial intelligence and enemies: 8


  • Legendary story as usual in the series
  • The required evolution of Outlast gameplay
  • Excellent staging design
  • A great solo and collaborative experience
  • One of the best visual designs on Unreal Engine 4
  • Impeccable technical performance
  • Best sound effects and soundtrack
  • The game suffers from very minor technical problems that do not affect the experience


  • Little content in the Early Access version with a relatively Grindy experience
  • Artificial intelligence needs some minor improvements
Previous articleMicrosoft unveils a new punishment system for Xbox…
Next articleLeak: There are no new maps in Modern Warfare 3 at launch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here