Outlast is considered one of the best survival horror titles released this generation; containing a tense atmosphere, a creepy asylum, and limiting your ability to see and do anything in the environment by keeping you attached to a camera with night vision. The One We Found does everything it can to emulate the building blocks of Outlast (and similar games in the genre), but it is not nearly fleshed out enough for it to be worthwhile.
When initially starting the game, players are quickly welcomed to the darkness with a warning screen stating that you may experience nausea and vague feelings of discomfort due to a "horror note" of sound some doctor discovered. I don't think I ever felt that, but it was a nice touch to try and start building the atmosphere through the caution of ambient noise. In an attempt to keep the feeling of dread, the menu system uses screaming horror sound effects/noises straight out of your local haunted house experience. Not only were they not scary, but they instantly started to get annoying.
At its core, The One We Found is primarily an atmospheric, tense game that relies on the use of your flashlight (and batteries), puzzle-solving skills, and eventually a mixture of your ability to play hide-and-seek as well as gun down wraith-like creatures. Honestly, it's not that fun to do any of this, and it pains me to say that. The flashlight illuminates everything, but it puts a sheen on any item that can be picked up. This can make it difficult to discern between the background and specific objects, causing you to overlook puzzle-critical items or additional batteries. I also had issues with the flashlight not responding to my controls properly, sometimes turning off/on when I was attempting to do something else with it. Switching weapons requires popping back into the menu itself, but you better hope the game doesn't glitch and cause things to disappear (this forces you to restart levels for the items to reappear).
Throughout the game's levels, you're a psychoanalyst at the Whisperwood Asylum, there to solve some of the asylum's issues and attempt to get it back on track. While it's pretty evident from the get-go, there's something else going on besides mismanagement and neglect of patients. The game starts to go off into a stranger path once you reach the later levels. Keen-eyed players will be able to flesh out more of the story through notes and files left around, but there's still a lot of odd questions you may want answered. Beating the game unlocks survival mode, where you get to take on waves of enemies from the main game. Successfully surviving grants you points to use towards additional weapons and ammunition, and this is arguably one of the better aspects of the game.
The enemies in The One We Found aren't exactly terrifying. There are some cool effects and neat things you'll experience, but there's not a ton of variety. You have two options to deal with them; hide and wait for them to pass or just pop them with your weapon and continue moving forward. Although the environment feels creepy, the enemy encounters don't add to the tension.
I wanted to enjoy this game, I honestly did. However, The One We Found suffers from a case of "no polish." There's a lot of good ideas and gameplay in theory, but the practical aspect falls short of expectations. If this had received some more time to fix the overall buggy experience and improve upon some of the clunky control aspects and elements, I feel this review would be in a much different tone entirely.Note: The One We Found was reviewed on Xbox One. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.