Outlast is a survival horror game. In order to survive, the player must either run or hide from enemies. Combat is not possible and attempts to confront an enemy will result in death. Players can hide in lockers and under beds. However, enemies will look for them in these areas, so care must be taken. When running, the player can look back at their pursuer. Closing doors will impede enemies and squeezing through small spaces can lose them.
The only item players will have equipped is a camcorder. The camcorder is battery operated and includes night vision, which is used to navigate through dark areas. Having the camcorder on helps to record events and put notes in the player's notebook. Batteries need to be collected throughout the game to keep the camcorder's night vision working. The story unravels through documents that can be found in various locations. They appear as blue folders with "CONFIDENTIAL" stamped on the front.
In this mode, enemies are a lot more aware of your presence which makes it easier for them to find you. You can only carry two batteries and they are more scarce in the game world. Enemies are also stronger and you are weaker, making death much more inevitable if you're spotted. Not for the faint of heart.