The scariest thing about Outlast 2 isn't the jump scares or the monsters chasing you (screw you Marta), it's how accurate the game portrays a real-life horror: sexual abuse within Catholicism.

 

The following article contains spoilers relating to the game. Reader discretion is advised.

 

Blake and Lynn are filming an intro for their investigation.

Throughout the entire game, you're playing as Blake Langermann (who came up with this name?) who's a cameraman working alongside his journalist wife, Lynn to investigate the death of a young pregnant woman in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Not too long after you've begun your investigation, the helicopter you and your wife are on crashes due to an unexplained flash of light in the sky. You quickly realize that you're not only now stranded, but stranded in an unforgiving and horrifying land.

The Temple Gate town square.

 

You spend the first third of the game making your way through the community known as Temple Gate, a cult run by the delusional Sullivan Knoth aka Papa Knoth. After being in Temple Gate for a little while, you realize there's a war of sorts being fought in the hell you're trapped inside. Two main groups are fighting each other throughout the game. The first group is known as Temple Gate led by the deranged Knoth and the second is the Heretics led by the lustful Val. There's also a third group known as the Scalled outcasts led by Laird who are somewhere in the middle of the two but seem to lean more towards favoring Temple Gate. The two groups are fighting each other because they all believe the apocalypse is coming, but Temple Gate wants to prevent it while the Heretics embrace it. The prophecy that Knoth has foreseen is that the Anti-Christ will be born through The Mother aka your wife, Lynn. Before you arrive in Temple Gate, Knoth has commanded that all pregnant woman and children be killed to prevent the Anti-Christ from rising. After spending a bit of time in Temple Gate, however, Knoth and his followers along with the other two groups believe you, your wife, and your unborn child to be the ones mentioned in prophecy and proceed to chase all of you throughout the game.

The Scalled outcasts were kicked out of Temple Gate because of their horrible diseases.

The second area is definitely one of the more interesting ones in that it's home to the Scalled outcasts who don't actually follow the main prophecy. The Scalled seem to have their own prophecy where they believe that you are their Messiah who's come to heal them. The Scalled all appear to be inflicted with one or many types of diseases causing them to look like half human half zombie mutants. They also believe that in order for you to heal them they need to crucify you so they can eat from your body once you rise three days later. Throughout your entire time in the Scalled territory, you're shot at by the archer Laird, literally crucified on a cross, and chased around by little Gollum looking creatures. There's never a dull moment, to say the least.

One of the inhabitants of the mines Blake encounters.

Finally, you arrive at the mines, the home of the Heretics. If you thought the followers of Temple Gate and the Scalled outcasts were terrifying, just wait 'til you meet the inhabitants here. The sky turns blood red, and the rain that is falling definitely makes you question if it's water or something more sinister. The creators of Outlast 2 definitely out did the first game regarding overall atmosphere, and it's made apparent here. Once you head down into the mines, things don't get much better. From claustrophobic tunnels to pitch black water caverns, these areas would make even the strongest person shiver. As Outlast games go, you run into Val, the leader of the Heretics and proceed to be chased by her throughout the dark winding tunnels. You eventually delve deep enough into the mines where you finally find your captive wife Lynn who's been imprisoned by the Heretics. Before you can rescue her, however, Val catches up to you and seemingly does unspeakable sexual things to you and your body, but a transition spares you the visuals. The next thing you know, you wake up to the Temple Gate cultists invading the mines allowing you the opportunity to get out of dodge and make your way back to the surface. As you finally escape the hell that is the mines you conveniently find your pregnant wife Lynn at the exit as well. You quickly realize the baby is coming soon, so you help guide her to a safer place in the Godforsaken land to have your child. After the final run-in with everyone's favorite enemy Marta who gets a somewhat satisfying death, you find shelter in the same chapel that you saw a man get tortured in earlier in the game. Your wife has the baby, so your character thinks, but she dies during childbirth. You pass out right after out of shock and awake to Papa Knoth sitting next to you going on about how he couldn't stop the child from being born. He eventually slits his own throat out of despair killing the last main enemy of the game. Your heroic cameraman picks up his child and walks off into the same bright light that caused you and your wife to crash at the beginning of the game. Whether this light is paradise or the claimed apocalypse we might never know, at least not until the DLC comes out.

In a couple of paragraphs, that's basically the plot of Outlast 2. You might ask yourself, however, if that's the plot of Outlast 2 then why exactly was the article named the way it was? Well, the plot I just wrote about was only half the story of the game. The other part of the story is in some ways more sinister and horrifying than all of that combined.

Blake and Jessica get interrogated by Father Loutermilch.

Throughout the game, your character Blake experiences a mixture of flashbacks and nightmares from a dark part of his past. Back in grade school, Blake was friends with his current wife Lynn but also another mutual friend named Jessica. They all attended a Catholic school together by the name of St. Sybil. Like most Catholic schools, the school was run by Catholic priests also known as Fathers. While some of the flashbacks contained somewhat happy parts of his childhood, most of them put together a darker story that he tried to forget. Throughout the flashbacks, you learn that Blake and Lynn's mutual friend Jessica had a troubled home life, to say the least. A lot of the hints and information given during the flashbacks not only point to her likely being abused by her dad at home but also that carrying over to her school life with one of the Catholic priests. During one of the final flashbacks of the game, Blake is caught innocently kidding around with Jessica by Father Loutermilch. The priest proceeds to interrogate them and shame them both during the process. He then tells Blake to go home while at the same time telling Jessica to stay afterward. Blake is hesitant to leave as he can tell something isn't right especially as Jessica genuinely begs him not to leave her there alone. Loutermilch not giving Blake a choice in the matter forces him out the door and on his way home. Most people that have been abused at some point in their life or know someone who has been knows this sort of behavior is usually connected with sexual abuse. Not only that but the game implies multiple times that this is the case throughout the flashbacks. As Blake is on his way of heading out of the school, he hears Jessica screaming in the distance "Get away!" towards Father Loutermilch. He turns back to see what's going on and sees Jessica running away while being chased by the priest. Blake chases after them but arrives too late. By the time he makes it to the scene, Jessica has fallen down the stairwell seemingly pushed by Loutermilch and broke her neck in the process. As he makes his way to her recently deceased body, Father Loutermilch tells him to go home and forget what he saw. The player finds out afterward that Loutermilch went and covered the whole thing up by making it look like Jessica hanged herself. It's believed that the young Blake went along with all of it out of fear because he still holds onto the memory today.

Those last flashbacks finally wrap up what truly happened to Blake in his past and why he seems to be going crazy during main plot. Throughout the main game, the player can hear Blake talking about Jessica when in reality he's referring to Lynn. There's also different times during both the main plot and the flashbacks where Blake is chased by a monster that most believe to be a representation of Father Loutermilch.

The music room at St. Sybil.

In conclusion, Outlast 2 does something that most games would never do, and that's bringing to light the sexual abuse that can be found within Catholicism. While not every Catholic church or school is necessarily bad, these sorts of stories are sadly very real and happen far too often. Without getting too deep on the subject, I personally thank the developers of Outlast 2 for covering a topic that needs to be talked about more often. From knowing too many people that have had similar things happen to them, I know that they would also like to thank the developers because the more opportunities people have to talk about topics like this allows for more awareness to be spread.

In most stories, there's some sort of silver lining, and in the case of Outlast 2, I believe that's bringing to light a real darkness that can be destroyed through realization and proper support for those affected.


Outlast 2 Launch trailer

Buy Outlast 2 on Steam