17/09/2020

๐ŸงŸ‍♀️๐ŸงŸ‍♂️ Outbreak: The New Nightmare | Review | PS4 | "A Lo-Fi Survival Horror" ๐ŸงŸ‍♀️๐ŸงŸ‍♂️ @deaddropstudios #GameDev #IndieGames

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Game Title: Outbreak: The New Nightmare
Developer: Dead Drop Studios LLC
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Rating: Melting

I am always surprised by what one-man development studios can achieve and whilst there are some noticeable flaws here and the game really won’t appeal to everyone, Outbreak: The New Nightmare is a labour of love that has its moments.

The person behind Outbreak: The New Nightmare is clearly very much a fan of ’90s / early 2000’s survival horror games because what we have here is very much in that vein. I can imagine that Capcom would raise an extremely inquisitive eyebrow should they ever see the fonts, title voice-over and in-game menu screen here, so similar are they to Resident Evil, that genre grandfather. 

With its echoing, single-note piano ambient soundtrack and general gameplay, the comparisons are numerous but also unfair to compare too closely due to the budgetary differences between the games.
Upon first booting up Outbreak: TNN on PS4, I got an odd feeling that I don’t think I’ve had before when playing on a console, it felt so…’ PC’. 

The menu layouts and options are clearly borne of a PC background and start you off with the sense that you are playing something that has been made with love but also limitations in other departments. 

The meat of the game is very much what we have seen before. You choose a survivor to take control over (or two in multiplayer, more on that later) and lead through this zombie-infested hell-scape. The main story is split into various chapters which encompass specific locations, linked via in-game text to make a complete tale.

The multiple characters you get to choose from have quite in-depth statistics, backgrounds and look visually different but all have the same Steven Seagal-esque running animation and, aside from a few skills like lock-picking - which has a tangible impact on gameplay - feel much the same as each other. 

The game is dark. Luckily, you have a permanent torch that you can just keep on (and you will) as you explore the various locations, collecting weapons, items and keys in order to progress. The combat is a mix of ranged and melee but with far more focus on ranged.
Guns and ammo are quite a constant commodity in the earlier stages and you’ll often be fiddling in the menus, deciding which weapons to keep or leave behind in order to make precious room for those oh-so specifically descriptive keys to the many locked doors in your way.

So far, so good for fans of this genre but there are some serious caveats here. The frame rate is unstable (especially in local multiplayer) and there is no real subtlety or variation, what you see is very much what you get, it’s all about making progress through dimly-lit areas (I am a big fan of the dingy lighting and dirty camera used) taking down zombies as you go. 

The fixed-camera system featured in games Like Resident Evil and the like are here - in all their pain and glory - leading to some frustrating moments where you can’t see who you are shooting at (luckily, there’s an auto-aim to reduce wasted shots) or even where the exits are to rooms due to the Dutch angles on offer. This does feel like the one part of the game that should have had some flexibility as it can be frustrating, trying to make you way around the facilities and losing your mental geography due to the sheer amount of obtuse camera-work.
In summary, Outbreak: The New Nightmare is a game that will only seriously appeal to warts n’ all fans of the early cinematic survival-horror genre and even then, I’d advise that it is very much a labour of love. 

The multiplayer mode adds an extra element of fun, although it is easy to get completely separated from each other and the fact that one person dipping into their item screen pauses the game for both is a nuisance, especially in a game such as this where inventory management is constant.

Personally, this is a game I’m keeping aside for a visit from my brother as he is very much a fan of static-camera horror and I really feel I’ll get more out of the game when playing with him.

๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)


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