This is just my personal opinion and please don't just downvote me just because I didn't like the game, I am hoping to have a healthy/mature discussion and would love to hear feedback or disagreements. I will also try to keep this short. I loved the Outlast and the Whistleblower DLC, but after playing the second and reading all the theories etc, I personally didn't enjoy the second outlast 2. I am sure a lot of people loved the second game and I can understand why.
The thing is people go into games looking for different things, therefore their experiences and reactions vary, for example a lot of people went into Outlast 2 looking for horror/anxiety and Outlast 2 delivered, however for someone like me, I went into Outlast 2 looking for atmosphere/lore/story and the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way. I am listing what I think are some of the things I had issues with below, feel free to point out if I missed anything or if you disagree ?
World Building: This was my biggest issue with this game, the world didn't fit the story or the atmosphere. The houses/buildings were copy/pasted generics with no back story or a sensible architecture to them, what I mean is in the entire game all the houses look pretty much the same, the same models for the tables/books/beds etc. In the first game, there were rooms and sure there were some that were exactly like others but that made sense because it was a mental asylum, even then each room gave a back-story or background of the minds of the patients. The town for example, showed a lot of dead people/animals, including a lot of hangings and torture, but failed to convey any backstory about those people because unlike Outlast 1, where patients were violently randomly killing each other, Outlast 2 operated on a set of rules, rules set by Knoth/Val etc. In the first game, patients were doing there own things and you happen to run into them, like guys raping a dead corpse etc, however in the second game the NPCs were simply kinda felt placed there for the player to encounter, for a town, it felt pretty empty. The farmers seemed placed in specific areas to hunt you, instead of going about their business, like those two farmers in the barn where you are supposed to climb up using the ladder. Like, why was Martha trolling the streets at night, why were people scared of her? From my understanding she received orders from Knoth on whom to kill, and if the devout people are following what Knoth is asking them to do, then why do they have to run away from Martha? A couple of these things completely broke my immersion, and it all just felt designed for the game to progress and for the player to feel anxiety, instead of an actual town that had gone wrong. Hope I am conveying this properly.
Level Design: Again, this shares some of the same points as above, the level design felt more to enable chase sequences, then to convey a realistic world. The whole Jessica level design was scary sure, but it broke my immersion considering the developers put it there to change the color pallet, which for the most parts for the main game was very monotonous. This monotonous color style made sense in the first game, because it was just one big building, mainly in-doors, but it didn't quite fit the settings of the huge town, I am not saying it had to be bright and pink in nature, but it was hard to differentiate different models from each other at times, for example the ground and a wooden plank on it.
- Lighting: The lighting was too dark considering the environment, a completely blacked out room makes sense in-doors, but in the town there were areas where it was impossible to see anything at all even though a full moon was shining up above, this just felt very unrealistic and again broke immersion, and again goes back to my point of devs forcing you to see through night-vision, which will consume battery and therefore creating a sense of time-ticking.
Characters: The characters senselessly uttered the same things over and over, the bible scripture, which was borderline word-salad. In the first game it was interesting to hear the inmates and what they were saying, they all had different lines and gave some minor hints onto their personality, and also their though processes, you could tell they are real people, just fucked up in the head, however in the second game, the characters were just robotic, uttering the same senseless stuff over and over, it didn't help that they all utterred the same scripture which was simply made up by Red Barrel to sound religious, but wasn't.
Reward System In video games, the game rewards progress by giving bits and pieces of various things to the player over time, be it story or a powerful axe, depending on the game, this reward system is what engages the player and drives them to continue. It is the motivation to move forward, to know what actually happened or what I can get next. Outlast 2, just didn't deliver a worthwhile reward system for me, for some the anxiety/horror or the gameplay probably was the motivation to move forward, for me it was understanding the world, the lore, the background, and it just wasn't there.
The Logic Outlast 1, although some might say far-fetched, still presented a sort of logical story, it kinda made sense. Things in Outlast 2 just didnt made sense to me, if the tower is making me have hallucinations, then why are they so realistic? If they are not hallucinations, but rather some other mind-control thing then what happens during the time I am in those visions? Does the world simply stop, and if it doesn't what about other people? Are they experiencing these visions at the same time? And if they are, are they seeing the same thing as me? The tower convinced my character to see that Lynn is pregnant, but it convinced all the people that she is pregnant too, including her? I was under the impression the Tower simply amplified the inner feelings/emotions, and if that was the case shouldn't every person have a completely different view of the world? and if it is indeed amplifying or planting these visions, how come I can die in them?
Overall, to me it just felt forced, the whole world/premise, the story was made overly obtuse to fit a narrative so people can make their own interpretations. Just my 2cents I wanted to share with the community.