Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is a horror game which serves as the sixth instalment to the series developed independently by a solo developer. In addition to this sixth instalment, the previous five games can be purchased in various bundle deals on the Microsoft Store. So basically, this homage to classic survival horror gaming is designed to fill in a niche as the genre continues to evolve eightfold, with the recent release of games like Resident Evil Village.
The real horror here is the fact that as the sixth instalment of a so called “series”, Outbreak: Endless Nightmares has absolutely no semblance of a functioning video game. This feels like an incomplete gamma build of a hobby project, and I shudder to think what the five prequels would be like. A solo development effort is an admirable endeavour, and making games is incredibly difficult, but there is simply no valid excuse to churning out a completely broken and non-functioning experience.
At the very least, it would have helped if Outbreak: Endless Nightmares demonstrated some experience and growth, but here it seems like all the games have been pushed out haphazardly, without any learning from past actions. The first game in the series was released in 2017, and so when you think about it between then and now, this is a ridiculously short period for a solo developer to pump out video game sequels like they were sandwiches at Subway during lunchtime.
Imagine the most broken and unplayable survival horror game from the early days of 3D gaming and Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is far worse than that. Even the tank controls of horror games from yesteryear showed a level of foresight and design that allow them to be playable even today, even if they feel rather dated. Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is an absolute mechanical mess with gameplay systems and controls that are barely coherent.
Indeed, tank controls are cumbersome, but in Outbreak: Endless Nightmares the controls border on unplayable and it doesn’t make a difference whether you choose classic, modern, or experiment with the various camera angles. It’s no fun to play, as the character feels floaty and the shooting hit detection never quite feels right. There’s no real weight or substance to the character mechanics here, as it all feels very unfinished.
These unfinished play mechanics are situated in a game world which has absolutely no semblance of coherent or cohesive level design whatsoever. Everything feels disjointed and held together by duct tape. The camera angles are a nuisance, the 3D models are poorly animated, and worst of all is the fact that they glitch frequently against the pre-rendered backdrops, where it doesn’t take much tinkering to break through objects or even venture outside the playing field if you wanted.
There’s meant to be a storyline here too, but again there is no coherent delivery of the narrative or logical placement of the various playable characters in Endless Nightmares. From the main menu you can read about the backstory, but then it feels like a book where the beginning, middle, and end were all printed in the wrong order and without the page numbers.
This release is also Xbox Series X|S optimised for those with a Series X|S, but then the question is what exactly is there to optimise here? Even the survival horror titles from the original PlayStation still demonstrate strong artistic design and polish despite their dated polygonal texturing. The graphics of Outbreak: Endless Nightmares are so poor that even the zombies look, for the lack of a better word, ugly. It’s an odd thing to say, but it is a testament to how utterly poor and heinous the graphics engine of the game is.
There are various modes and options, even an easy mode, but without any semblance of functioning gameplay or level design, the very notion of a difficulty progression is completely redundant. There is however a co-op mode that could potentially be of some entertainment value. This would involve making a bet with a friend, where the loser would be the one to purchase the game with their hard-earned money, and then over a six pack plus some stronger drink, a regrettable night of co-op antics can be had.
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares on Xbox is an abysmal and incomplete video game. The good news is that you don’t have to look very far to experience classic survival horror action, with current and upcoming games like Resident Evil Revelations, Daymare, Tormented Souls, or the various other classic titles available via backwards compatibility on Xbox. The real nightmare here is that Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is the sixth entry in a series which seemingly has no intention of ending anytime soon.
Experience the nightmare with Outbreak: Endless Nightmares on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One