When I saw Outbreak Endless Nightmares it reminded me of the first few Resident Evil games. I hadn’t played a horror game in a while so I figured I would give it a shot. After all, I have fond memories of playing Resident Evil 2 on the PlayStation. I was quickly reminded that nostalgia often belongs in our memories and not our present.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery?
If that saying is true, than Resident Evil couldn’t be more flattered. The influence of Resident Evil heavily coats Outbreak Endless Nightmares. I get it, it’s a zombie video game so of course it would be influenced by the biggest franchise in the genre. It goes WAY beyond paying homage though. When you first load into Outbreak Endless Nightmares, the voice over that reads the game title sounds like it could very well be read by the same person that says “Resident Evil” at the beginning of those games. After a few times of this, I started groaning and rolling my eyes. The core of the game is a procedurally generated, tank control, 3rd person survival horror. Ammo is limited, you use green plants to restore health, and you can’t move and shoot at the same time. Sound familiar?
Apart from being procedurally generated, it may as well be Resident Evil 2. People have a fond memory of that game, so you may think “Hey, I liked that so this sounds cool”. Your thought process would be flawed if that was the case. The 3rd person camera angles, whether they be over the shoulder or from random camera angles, make movement sloppy at best. There are often environmental obstacles that can hurt you, but you can see your feet in 3rd person view and you can’t look down. A few times these obstacles killed me, ending my run. What made it annoying wasn’t so much ending the run, because that is to be expected in a roguelike. Rather, it was annoying because I had picked up coins that are used to unlock more areas in the main hub. These coins can be placed in a trunk that you can access in the main hub, so there is a way to progress even when you have a short run.
Queue the heavy sighs…
The gameplay loop became rather frustrating quick. Having a coin in your possession so you can make some progress and having that progress be a tease, wears thin on one’s patience quickly, After about the fifth time of losing these coins because of messy controls, bad field of view, and annoying obstacles, I had enough. I put maybe 5 hours into Outbreak Endless Nightmares and had my fill. It just didn’t speak to me and I don’t have the patience for a game like that. I fully acknowledge that some of my issues could be my lack of skill. There were a stretch where I had 4 or 5 solid runs in a row and was actually getting into it. If you enjoy hard games in this genre and roguelikes, this may be something for you.
Based on what I think Dead Drop Studios was trying to do, I think they did a pretty good job. If you want a survival horror roguelike with tank controls and quick runs, basically a procedurally generated RE2, this may be up your alley. I could see Outbreak Endless Nightmares being addicting IF that kind of game is your jam, It is not mine and it didn’t blow my hair back at all. I think I called it quits after about 3 or 4 hours of play on the PlayStation 5. It isn’t a PS5 game, rather a PS4 game that is backwards compatible. For me, Outbreak Endless Nightmares is a reminder as to why games don’t normally have these control schemes or camera angles anymore. I could see it as a game people pick up and play for an hour here and there in between playing games of a larger scope. Overall, I think this is an Bad to OK game and with the right audience could be enjoyable, I am not part of that audience.