September of last year saw the release of Outlast, one of the highest rated survival horror titles arriving on the PC. Recently, the title has seen a release on Sony’s Playstation 4, downloadable for completely free if you’re a member of Playstation Plus.
Outlast puts you in the role of being a reporter who decides to investigate an insane asylum, and things quickly go from bad to worse. No longer do you care about the story you ventured inside for, now focused only on escape from the murderous rampage of inmates. Outlast uses the tried and tested Unreal Engine 3.5, which the developer and publisher Red Barrels uses to great effect.
So the big question is – how does the title survive the transition to the PS4? Well, the good news is – pretty damn well. There are a few caveats that we need to discuss before we continue however. Outlast on the PC is actually quite configurable, and if you’re willing to tinker around with the Ini file (it’s actually pretty simple) then you can actually drastically improve the texture quality of the game. That’s not to say that the ‘default’ ini settings for Outlast result in terrible quality, but for the ease of changing the settings, it makes little sense not too.
For the sake of this comparison and video we’ve primarily focused on the standard ini configuration of the game (with all settings to their respective max. For for those who’re playing on PC and want the best possible experience, then there’s certainly little reason you’d not spend the few minutes modifying the Ini. The FOV for the game at default, despite being set to 90 behaves more akin of a setting of 65. Tweaking the FOV setting higher can help if you’re sensitive to low FOV settings, but can help break some of the immersion and claustrophobic atmosphere. There are other tweaks available, including using better Anti-Aliasing and other tips and tricks, but as we’ve said – this wouldn’t be a fair comparison so we’re testing this with the base game (in other words, the configuration files are left as standard).
Controls for the PS4 version are tight and feel fairly natural. The Playstation 4’s controller fits the game well, even if you’re used to the PC version you’ll likely find the controls fairly comfortable (after playing around with the sensitivity a little). Due to the lack of combat in the game, Outlast doesn’t require razor sharp controls and therefore keyboard and mouse are less of a benefit. That being said, from my own personal stand point, I’m more a fan of Keyboard and Mouse whencontrolling FPS titles.
Unlike our comparison of Tomb Raider Definitive Edition on the PS4 vs the PC’s Ultimate Graphics settings, there’s not so much to write home about with Outlast. There PC version does have sharper textures, but the difference with the default ini settings isn’t as pronounced as other games. The Playstation 4 version of Outlast does manage to run runs natively at 1080P 60FPS.
Motion blue appears toned down for the PS4 version of Outlast. That’s not to say that the PS4 version doesn’t have motion blur, but appears less than the ‘default’ level found on the PC. Personally, I found the PC version to be too little heavy on the motion blur as a default, and there are ways to improve this by modifying the ini file. The PS4 version meanwhile perhaps goes a little too far the other way and has less motion blur, and I feel that perhaps the title would have benefited from a little more.
It’s clear that for gamer’s who’re just playing the ‘off the shelf’ version of the game, the PC and PS4 versions offer a very similar experience. The controls, levels of motion blur and slight differences in texture quality the primary things to separate the two versions. The PC version having a rather stringent FPS lock as default (which can be changed in the ini) is another example of this.
The main benefit the PC version has over the console remains the configuration of the Ini file, which does indeed provide better results graphically. If you’re a Playstation Plus member, it makes a great deal of sense to simply opt to play the PS4 title since you’ll get Outlast for ‘free’ as part of your PS Plus membership. If you must play the game with the very best graphics, then certainly editing the PC versions ini file and forcing a higher level of Anti-Aliasing, Anstropic-Filtering or even using Downsampling is the way to go. Using this method however, you can alter the motion blur to your liking, and even remove the grain effects should you desire.
Overall, Outlast has made the leap over to Sony’s Playstation 4 fairly intact. You’re missing out on the configurability of the PC version, and with it sharper textures, lack of FOV slider, worse Anti-Aliasing and so on. But unlike other comparisons such as our AC4 Black Flag or our Tomb Raider head to head, the differences are fairly small.
For a little sake of comparison, below are a few screen shots of the PC version of Outlast with the ini file that has been modded with an improve FOV and Texture Quality raised, with the post processing of FXAA being used. We could have gone crazier, but it’s just to illustrate a point.
For the sake of interest, we also ran a test to check out the difference in RAM that Outlast used up with the modified Ini settings compared to default. To do this we used TechPowerUp’s GPU-Z and set it to monitor both the average and max VRAM usage. For more on how to monitor RAM usage, temps and more click here.
The figures for the memory usage are based on a Windows 7 machine, so please remember W7 does indeed take up a few hundred MB of the video cards RAM. The results are pretty much as expected, with both the average and max memory results raising by over 100MB. 1217 MB for max and 1118 for average on a standard ini configuration. Meanwhile, modded hits1338MB and 1242MB.