Review – Outbreak: Endless Nightmares
Developed by one person, the Outbreak series has attempted to capture an audience with its low budget approach. It clearly takes inspiration from the Resident Evil franchise, especially their older entries, and mixes in some roguelike elements, to… middling results at best. Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is the latest in the series. How does it hold up when compared to other games in the franchise? Or other horror games for that matter?
In an attempt to pair the survival horror and roguelike genres together, you will be running the same levels again. Every time you boot the game up you start in the Nexus, a haunted building. While exploring the place, you will discover a train and will need to gather fifty conductor coins to escape. The more coins you get the more areas you unlock in the hub, which can contain supplies or new maps to explore.
To get these coins you will need to go into Anomalies and gather them. This has you going through increasingly more difficult areas. Starting with the house area, things are very simple; you typically only have zombies to deal with here and it’s pretty easy. Complete seven different rooms before having the option to escape with your conductor coins or progress into a tougher challenge. At set intervals you will unlock more Anomalies that will take you to different locations. None of them are particularly interesting, but they at least introduce new enemies.
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares uses tank controls to push its gameplay and its not very good. It takes some time getting used to but, it is at least functional. There’s a more modern control scheme (similar to that in the first Resident Evil re-release) that is much easier to control. Unfortunately that’s as much praise as I can give to the core gameplay. As you make your way through procedurally generated levels, the controls and combat are just dull. The enemies you fight aren’t even remotely interesting and all the weapons just feel weak. There’s not much strategy to the gameplay, just run around and shoot. Occasionally you will have to deal with an environmental puzzle which mostly just boils down to moving a statue or avoiding hazards. All of which are hilariously out of place.
Also, weapons have durability, because of course they do. I’m not the biggest fan of weapon durability in games, but some have done it exceptionally right, forcing you to mix things up whilst not being too harsh on the player. Outbreak: Endless Nightmares doesn’t do it right at all. After just a couple of magazines dumped into enemies, what should be my trusty pistol was broken. You can repair them with repair kits, but this will also downgrade their efficiency for some reason. Imagine if in the Resident Evil 2 remake (which had tanky zombies) you had to go back to an item box to pick up a new weapon. Outbreak manages to take terrible gameplay and make it infuriating to play. You’ll end up filling up your weapon box with identical weapons for no apparent reason.
In an already baffling game, perhaps the most bewildering design decision is with how you can switch between multiple perspectives on the fly. You’re able to switch between over the shoulder, first person, and a fixed camera perspective that has been implemented as a nod to Resident Evil‘s ever shifting camera perspective over the years. It’s a confusing system that really serves no purpose other than make the game feel worse than it should. The aiming doesn’t change from the lock-on, either making the third and first person perspectives even more pointless, as you’re not able to line up precision shots. The worst offender is the first person perspective that simply puts the camera into the characters head without much thought. Weapon’s muzzle flashes take up a huge chunk of the screen. I wouldn’t recommend playing it in this perspective, then again I really wouldn’t recommend this game anyway.
On top of this, Outbreak is just ugly. Levels lack detail and when they do, everything kind of looks out of place with stock assets sloppily placed around the environments. Worse yet, the character models, animations, and blood effects are just hilarious. It’s also incredibly unclear where to go. The interactions to enter the anomalies are borderline impossible to see and I only got into the sewer chapter accidentally. I wish I didn’t. Playing on an Xbox One X I had terrible framerates for seemingly no reason, even playing with some of the performance settings turned on.
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is just a bad game. Everything from the awful controls, terrible pseudo-randomised level design, a paper-thin story that I can tell you nothing about, all make for a horrible experience. Then mix in needless roguelike elements that just don’t belong in a Resident Evil style title. It’s a recipe made in hell.
Ugly premade assets that don’t feel part of the same world. The framerate is also pretty inconsistent.
None of this game’s preset camera options work correctly. Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is just a nightmare to play.
What little sound there is, is just awful.
Fun Factor: 1.5
It technically works. That’s the best (and pretty much only positive) thing that can be said about Outbreak: Endless Nightmares.
Final Verdict: 1.5
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of Outbreak: Endless Nightmares was provided by the publisher.