Outbreak: The New Nightmare Reviews

1,045,310 (502,615)
TA Score for this game: 3,542
Posted on 11 January 18 at 14:44
This review has 13 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Here's a general question that I can toss into the ether; what made the Survival Horror games of the early 2000's good? It certainly wasn't the controls, which usually felt like trying to squeeze an M1 Abrams into a parking space when every other space in the lot is full. Was it the camera? I'll chalk that up to a no, as running down a hallway only to be greeted to a rapidly changing camera which showed the zombie taking a chunk out of your neck a little too late isn't exactly the definition of fun and exciting. What made those games great is the actual factor of gameplay! They ran well, for their time had pretty great graphics and horrifying looking monsters. There was a consistent tone, characters you followed which there was some level of investment in, and a sense of atmosphere that left you tense and on edge, fearing the next monster encounter whenever it may be.

Outbreak: The New Nightmare is the poorest man's attempt to copy and paste these elements into their own game. The reason why I mentioned the things that made Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil REmake great games is because Dead Drop Studios missed the mark by so much that the arrow flew across the field and pierced the skull of Shinji Mikami. Outbreak: The New Nightmare is a...Sequel? Remake? Reimagining? of total flop and chocolate milk carton full of diarrhea Outbreak, which shambled it's way onto Xbox One just about a year ago. Outbreak was a top-down Survival Horror experience, which played like sewing needles were driven into your thumbs by a sledgehammer and was visually drab with horrible controls and a map screen which you couldn't move; meaning you had to move your character in order to view the portion of the map you wanted to look at. Thankfully for us, The New Nightmare improves on it's predecessor by allowing you to move the map independently. Positive points over.

The New Nightmare has graduated to the world of 3D, where every other Survival Horror franchise nestled into around 1996. With this shift in perspective there are many things which needed to be accounted for, such as a redesign of controls, the creation of a camera mechanic, and the design of environments which aren't just the same room and laptop copy/pasted for an entire map. Dead Drop failed on every single one of those fronts. The camera is the worst I've ever experienced, even including those early PS1 titles. It will shift perspective much too often, causing the already awful "modern" tank controls to bug out and send you sailing in any direction that you did not want to go to. The camera is also positioned to show you the character and not much else, concealing many items and enemies which are lurking just off-screen and taunting you with inevitable death.

Speaking of items, I'm not entirely sure what happened between the Steam and Xbox One versions of this game, but they broke the item system somehow. On Steam this game does the Left 4 Dead thing where hidden items are outlined with a colored glow which shows both their location and item type. Apparently such futuristic technology can only be utilized on the highest end PC's and us console peasants are not worthy of such innovation. Instead, we get items hidden in tall grass and on desks that sparkle with pixie dust like the fairy godmother sprinkled some magic on them. Meaning if the item is hidden by the environment or awful camera placement, you'll have no clue what it is until you go to try pick it up. They also couldn't port over the 4 player co-op from the Steam version due to "time restrictions", which may be the funniest joke of all.

Let's get into the meat of the game; what passes for a plot. I can't tell you, since the plot is given to you as a text dump which you can read by going to the "Story" section of the main menu and I wasn't in the mood to read through someone's poorly written zombie apocalypse fan fiction. You play as Interchangeable Character Stereotypes A-F, each one having a different set of skills, stats, and buffs like this is the world's worst JRPG. You can level up your characters and choose the ones with specific strengths to play to the environment you're in, or you could just pick the guy with more inventory since the game is absolutely unplayable otherwise. Every other character starts with 4 slots of inventory, meaning you have precisely enough for 1 gun, 1 stack of ammo, 1 healing item, and 1 key. Never mind the fact that you may get poisoned and need a poison cure item, the fact you may want to pick up a combination healing item, the fact you may need multiple guns or more than 10 bullets or multiple keys. 4 slots, deal with it. Or just do what I and everyone else did by playing with the guy who has 6 inventory slots so you can get through a level without backtracking to where you dropped items a few minutes earlier to pick up more items.

Speaking of the levels, you select them from the story screen and have 5 to choose from besides the tutorial. You go through the blatant copies of Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2 levels such as "City" and "Forest", fighting the same enemies such as zombies, poison zombies, crawling zombies, poorly rendered blatant rip-off of Hunter, and boss thing. The zombies are rendered horribly, looking they came right from the asset store and gliding towards you like figure skaters going for the gold. It's like they levitate off the ground as they glide extremely quickly in your direction, barely giving you a chance to dodge them. Running around them and away isn't really viable, since most corridors are too tight to bypass the threat and another one will randomly spawn within 90 seconds regardless. Yes, the "memorize zombie locations and think of strategies for each area" routine no longer works, seeing as zombies pour from every crevice of the map every few minutes and there doesn't seem to be a limit to how many can be following you at once. This means the first time the controls get all pissy and direct you into a coffee table you had no intention of visiting, you get swarmed and drop dead. The Hunter and Guardian enemies just eat bullets, running up and getting multiple hits on you before you can even react. Zombies randomly speed up while your character randomly slows down, allowing zombies to come up and hit you in the back as much as they'd like. Hunters and Guardians are always faster than you, so if you can't kill them before they touch you taking a few hits is inevitable. The framerate chugs horribly, usually when doing something stressful like firing a pistol at one zombie, going into a new camera angle or walking slowly. In a boss fight I aimed my gun at him to get off a shot, but in my hubris tried to switch to a grenade launcher immediately after to knock him back. This resulted in a framerate drop so bad the boss skipped directly over to me, moved into my hitbox, and struck me dead with no attack animation at all. Even with regular zombies you get an attack animation 50% of the time at best.

So what's the verdict on this New Nightmare? Framerate is disgusting, graphics are horrible, lighting is poor, story is non-existent, enemy design is trash and everything else is the crusty semen on this semen and turd sandwich. I couldn't recommend this any less. It truly is a sad state that console gaming has become so much like the cesspool we mocked Steam for becoming, but with the Content Creators Club we can only look forward to everything getting worse from here on out.

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