How to beat the most punishing parts of Outlast 2

There are more than a few challenging sections in Outlast 2, some of which can quickly go beyond scary and become a frustrating gag reel of missteps leading to instant, rage-inducing death. 

Since we began working on this guide Red Barrels released a patch rebalancing many of the difficult levels in Outlast 2 on Normal difficulty to make them a bit less frustrating. Among other things this patch makes your microphone free to use rather than an additional drain on your battery, and nerfs some of the damage from enemies so that you aren’t constantly subjected to one shot kills. So take advantage of the free sonar bonus as much as possible and consider taking another look at the game if you were getting particularly frustrated.

Let’s break down how to manage some of the most difficult moments in the game.

Stealth or Speed? 

It’s important to note that Outlast 2 is really a three-speed game that’s best played on the top two speeds.The lowest speed involves a heck of a lot of sneaking and occasionally unnecessary hiding that could easily extend your playthrough by about twelve hours. The medium speed is probably the best one to use eight times out of ten and generally focuses on a slow, methodical approach that requires you to think on your feet, but rarely have to hide.

The fastest speed is one that you’ll occasionally be thrust into one way or another whether you want to or not, which means full blown sprinting, running for your life, and likely instant death if you don’t read the signals Red Barrel leaves behind appropriately enough to make it to the safe area. 

Marta and the Elevator

This scene occurs about an hour into the game, but before you actually arrive at the chapel.  The challenge revolves around restarting a single generator to power the elevator that’ll get you that much closer to Temple Gate’s chapel, and that much further away from Marta and her pointed opinions on the bible.

At first glance, this area is actually pretty benign and there are few valid threats aside from the woman in the center of town reciting passages from Knoth’s gospel. That means it’s also a great time to explore and nab a few documents while things are calm. There are several houses that you can enter unhindered, and a hidden cellar that you can access through a ground level window that are worth stopping by for medical supplies and a page from Knoth’s Gospel.

Be sure to generally keep your distance from the woman preaching – she’s relatively harmless, but if you jump out at the wrong moment or otherwise get too close to her she’ll give you a pretty little scar to write home about.

The real danger starts when you make your way up the hill to the flat plateau with the flaming tree in the center.

Once you approach, a man with a flashlight will open a door to the right of the main path. Your instincts might tell you to return to the town and hide at this point, which you can, but it’ll make things much more difficult if you do and will require sneaking around several patrolling psychopaths.

To avoid all that, immediately sprint further up the hill – just be aware that as soon as you do another flashlight-wielding psychopath will pop open a door in front of you.

Keep your wits about you and bank to the right, quickly moving further up the hill. Immediately head into the large barnlike structure and take a left just after the light and the tool chest on your left, then sprint up the stairwell at the back of the building and you should lose your pursuers.

At this point, you’ll have a chance to read the document located on the uppermost floor and, when you’re ready, you’ll find the generator you need to activate the elevator through a door to the left.

Here’s where things get a little trickier. Now that you’ve gotten here, you’ll need to get back, except everyone’s favorite pickaxe-wielding psychopath Marta is back in town to give Blake a new lung-adjacent breathing hole.

The problem is that not only is she in pursuit, but almost all of the doors that you were able to retreat through before are now locked up tight, which makes sneaking around a hell of an issue.

Charging directly down the hill doesn’t end well, and hiding just gives her more time to corner you quite literally in the bottom of a barrel.

Which is why your best bet is to run, but not full bore on the max speed setting. Instead, you have to make your way to the hill with the now familiar burning tree, reveal yourself, and wait a few agonizing seconds as she comes charging up the hill toward you.

Once she’s up on the same level as you, run to the right and jump off the ridge where there's a break in the fence.

From there, sprint back up the path to the elevator, throw the lever, and with any luck you’ll have a chance to see Marta’s look of disappointment as you slowly leave her in Babylon.

The Children’s Dorm

Almost immediately after you escape Marta, you’ll find a clearing with a well and several outbuildings. To progress the story you’ll need to take a dive down the well, complete the Jessica sequence, sprint away from your attackers, and crawl underneath a house while they’re hot on your tail.

Once you get away, you’ll enter one of the previously locked outbuildings beside the well. This turns out to be the entrance to some kind of orphanage, as well as one of the more frustrating moments in the game.

This is partly because this sequence works off of several scripted events and because it shifts gears from a more medium or fast pace to something that requires you move slowly, trigger the event, sprint away to a hiding place, then move slowly once again.

As soon as you turn around the corner in the children’s dormitory, you’ll hear someone attempting to shatter the door across from you, so quickly hide underneath one of the children’s bunks about midway down the hall and wait. Eventually, your stalwart knocker will break through the door and slowly walk down the hall.

As soon as he passes, slowly creep out from under the bed and head through the door he just broke down.

You’ll find yourself in a room with a stairwell across from you and a door to your right. Take special note of the door, because once you approach the stairs you’ll trigger a scripted event that will cause another enemy to come up the stairs with a flashlight, sandwiching you between a murderous rock and a hard place.

Of course you still need to head down those stairs, so you'll need to intentionally trigger the event and then sprint into the room to the right of the stairs. Once inside, slam and lock the door, then either block the door with the bookcase to the left or hide in the wardrobe to the right.

At this point, you’re in one of the rare situations where your camera’s microphone can save your life. Once the chase music dies down a bit, flip on your mic and use it to locate the patrol path of each enemy. Keep in mind that even if you don’t hear them speaking over the mic, the bars will spike to the red or yellow anytime you’re looking directly at an enemy, even through walls.

Wait until you’re sure both enemies are in the other room, then move the dresser and unlock the door, and carefully sneak down the stairs. If you’re spotted, which is highly likely considering how quickly these guys turn around in their patrol, just sprint down the stairs through the door in the room at the bottom and hop into the wardrobe in the corner of the next room.

Wait quietly until the music slows down and then use your mic to try and pick out whether anyone’s nearby. Occasionally, your enemies will get stuck just outside the wardrobe, so be sure to check and double check before you exit your hidey-hole. If there’s an enemy locked in a walking pattern to the right, your only option is to sprint back upstairs and hide once again.

If the room is clear, push the bookcase across from the wardrobe out of the way to access the passage beyond. Just don’t walk too close to the doorway to your left – if either enemy is downstairs they’ll be able to spot you, which will require another trip to Narnia to calmly wait for them to abandon the chase.

Crucified

You’ve just been crucified, and at one point one of the Scalled devils took the time to swipe all of your batteries and bandages. Let’s face it, the Scalled need double A’s and clean bandages more than you ever will.

You’ve managed to somehow avoid death on the cross, despite a box full of nails and all available prophecy, but you’re now one hit away from dying and your only hope to keep from bleeding out is in a camp full of insane plague-ridden murderers. Your only option is to hope that you choose the right path to a bandage and sneak out of the camp before you get oneshot by one of about five hostile enemies. Great.

To avoid near instant death there’s actually a really simple path you can follow. Just keep in mind that with so many enemies patrolling the area, you’re still likely to die along the way, especially when the attackers occasionally decide to rip through the wall of a tent to murder you.

If you can’t tell, this area got me a little salty.

With that said, once you rip yourself off the cross, stumble forward until you see the lights from the camp. As soon as you get close to the entrance, you should see a Scalled patrolling in front of you heading to the left.

Crouch down in the tall grass and slowly creep forward and to the right until you see a small group of Scalled crouched around a campfire.

There should be a hollow log directly in front of you with a female Scalled sitting on top. Check to make sure no one’s looking and then sneak across the open area and into the log itself.

Creep forward and you should see a Scalled in tall rubber boots approach the other side of the log. Don't worry, he'll veer off before actually checking the log.

From here, hurry to the other end of your mossy home and creep out right behind him. Follow just far enough out of sight that you don’t alert his stinking corpse and you should see a small tent on your left with a bandage.

Slowly approach the tent and nab the bandage, but make sure to wait until you’re entirely inside the tent before you try and heal. Otherwise, the odds of being clubbed in the back of the head during the lengthy bandaging sequence are extremely high. I found that going to the exact center of the tent gave me plenty of time to bandage even if someone noticed me midway through.

Once your hands are bloody but not quite leaking, take a second to look around to make sure no patrols are about to try and step on your face. Then make your way out of the back of the tent and look left. You should see a small, waist-high stone ridge. Climb on top, then look to the right and follow the blood to escape this rage-inducing area.

Starting the Power in the Mines with Val

This event takes place quite a bit later on, once you’ve had your second encounter with Val and she’s had a chance to cover herself in mud and don her crown of thorns.

Your objective is simple, cut off the power to a cluster of wires so you can move forward. Except no one mentions in the Temple Gate travel brochures that there’s two switches, and Val is all set to hunt you in the darkness wearing nothing but a torch and a pocketful of thorns.

This area is a prime example of where a moderate movement speed is required. You don’t want to move slowly because the longer you’re in the mine itself the more likely you are to get lost or potentially cornered. But it's important not to move too fast, because the more you splash the faster Val will be able to hone in on your location. The trick is to move at just below a brisk walk, so not quite like you’re rushing to get out of dodge, but not like you’re sneaking in slow motion either.

This’ll allow you to hear Val’s movements and see her torchlight, but also keep you a step ahead. Additionally, it’s important to note that Blake has a pretty good set of lungs at his disposal, which means that if Val has you cornered you can actually hide underwater, and occasionally even squeeze under some of the wooden walls throughout the area.

These walls are often your friends, because even if it’s terrifyingly close, most of the time you can avoid detection just by keeping a wall between you and Val. This includes sidestepping behind her as she turns around a single thin board wall. It’s a trick that’s heart-pounding at the time, but worth it to avoid instant, painful death.

With these tips in mind, step down into the flooded mine and move down the cramped hallways. Hug the wall on your right and you should see the flashing electrical wires not far ahead.

Continue to hug the wall to the right and position yourself in the corner to the right of the flickering wires. Take a second to listen for Val, and look for any moving sources of light down nearby hallways that might indicate she’s close. If the coast looks clear, carefully cross to the other side of the room, keeping the flickering wires on your right for reference.

There should be a short hallway to the right of the light ahead made by a wooden wall, and a flashing switch at the end. Keep in mind that there’s a small wooden slot you can swim under about halfway down the hall in case Val corners you. If the coast looks clear, move to the end of the hall and flip the lever.

Turn around, and with the lever at your back head straight towards the small hanging light ahead.

Round the corner and hug the wall to your right, the second lever is hiding behind a small wooden wall on the other side of the room. Flip it, then take a second to take stock of your situation. Try and listen for Val, using your microphone if necessary.

Once you’re pretty sure you're safe, backtrack by hugging the wall that’s now on your left. You should arrive back in the main room with the wires pretty quickly, but they’ll no longer be sparking, so you’re free to climb through and proceed to the small railway puzzle ahead. Just try to avoid making any excess noise by sprinting so that you can work on the puzzle in peace.

Congrats, you just completed easily one of the most difficult portions of the game, and from here everything's easy and stress-free by comparison.