Redacre, a sleep Virginian town located within the Radio Quiet Zone is the setting for one of the more interesting and scariest games you’ll play this year. The Blackout Club has a hint of Stranger Things about it, there’s something going on, the adults appear to be involved and it’s up to the kids to investigate what’s going on before it’s too late.
The Blackout Club is a first-person co-op title which is about a group of kids investigating a terrible secret about their small town and what happens under the town they live in. For some strange reason, practically everyone in town at night time leave their homes and sleepwalk. When morning arrives they wake up and have no memory of the night before. You start off playing as Isabella in the Prologue where the idea is to meet up with your friends. During this you learn all the controls and realise what you need to stay away from. Once you reach the end you can see the hideout but unfortunately you get captured before you can alert your friends.
The Prologue for The Blackout Club gives a half an hour or so tutorial on what you likely going to experience before jumping into the main game. The Blackout Club is a scary title from the start so just be prepared to take your time. After the Prologue you find yourself in an abandoned train car. Within this are a couple of characters who you stand in the corner and don’t do a lot at this point. Throughout the train car are various posters and notes about the history of The Blackout Club. You can customise your appearance, it doesn’t appear to matter though what you decide to wear. There is a Powers table where you can select a Major and Minor power to help you on your missions. They include starting a mission with a lockpick which means you can open doors without making a sound, additional stamina so you can run longer etc. There are quite a few powers to choose from which can be unlocked using points which are gained from increasing your level. There is a table with speed traps highlighting what you need to do to deal with them. You can choose a weapon as well, one choice is a taser which is helpful in knocking down ‘Sleepers’. There is a leaderboard which can be looked at as well. The final and most important part is a map, which is where you choose to start your mission.
When you choose a mission (what’s available is dependent on your level) that’s when The Blackout Club gets into gear. You can host a game so others can join you or you can join in on a mission which has already started. There isn’t a structured story to speak of, the missions appear to have random objectives to complete before finishing the mission. The mission objectives can be a tad on the repetitive side because there doesn’t seem to be an end goal due to lack of a storyline. Objectives include finding evidence, missing phones, planting things etc. The fun part is that you should hopefully have 3 other players to do this with. You need to investigate the houses you come across without alerting the Sleepers who are the sleepwalking people under orders from The Shape. Ideally you don’t want to make any noise otherwise the Sleepers will find you and grab you. You can fight them off, even when wounded you can still save the situation which is a nice quirk. You and your team basically have a 3 strike policy, if you get caught 3 times then these sins, as the Sleepers call it, conjure The Shape. If The Shape catches all of your team then it’s game over. Once you complete the objectives you need to head to the exit. That’s where one of my scariest moments occurred. My team had completed our objectives but The Shape was on its way, 3 of us had got back to the exit but then The Shape turned up and started killing each member, luckily the last member got to the exit before we all were killed. The Shape can only be seen when you close your eyes, so that adds another feature to The Blackout Club which you need to get to grips with. There’s also a whole labyrinth under the town that needs exploring to complete many of the objectives.
There’s a lot going for The Blackout Club, the initial story is engrossing, the enhanced horror mechanic in intriguing and the way the enemies can appear out of nowhere is scary. The Shape is a great enemy, everything goes to pot when you know The Shape is on it’s way. Unfortunately The Blackout Club is not the most polished of games. The environment is somewhat on the clunky side whilst the initial Isabella disappearing plot device doesn’t seem to be expanded upon. The longevity of The Blackout Club is the fact you can play with your friends or randoms and level up thus allowing you to strengthen your skills and unlock new areas on the map. There is also the Stalker character which you can become, you invade other peoples games and if you see there characters enough times then you invoke The Shape, it’s another part of the game that gives you more options. There’s another part where you can sacrifice yourself to a number of entities, no details are given on whether you are rewarded for doing so though. All I’ve experienced is just restarting from level one, your sacrificed character ends up on the leaderboard, so i assume something more will be done with this.
The Blackout Club is a horror co-op that can work really well at times. There are a few unpolished elements that need ironing out, such as the graphics and plot, but as a co-op game it has a lot of intensity; especially in later levels as they become inhabited by even more obstacles. The Blackout Club has the potential to be a classic but it just lacks that something which will make you go back to it everyday rather than when your friends are available for a game. It’s not quite in Friday The 13th territory but it certainly is heading in the right direction.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Blackout Club Video Game Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
The Blackout Club has the potential to be a classic but it just lacks that something which will make you go back to it everyday rather than when your friends are available for a game.