The Blackout Club
Game Reviews | Sep 9th, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Windows (Reviewed on Xbox One)
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Something is strange in your neighborhood and it’s up to you and your friends to discover why the adults in your town walk around like sleepwalking zombies at night yet remember nothing the next day.
“The Blackout Club” is a co-op stealth horror adventure that focuses on exploration and evidence gathering with a light dose of first-person shooter. You must sneak around at night while every adult in the town of Redacre wanders around aimlessly until you’re spotted. Then they chase you down and take you to god knows where.
You start out at your hidden base outside of town and that serves as your hub for mission briefings, character customizations, intel, weapons and other necessities. You can play solo but the game works best as a co-op game. The starting map is somewhat confined but other areas unlock as you progress through the game and complete goals and bonus tasks.
Gameplay is in first person and you have an item wheel that allows you to select items such as weapons and traps. There isn’t much variety in most of the weapons and accessories in the beginning and the variety stays limited with a few items unlocking as you progress. The camera is wonky at times and really hinders you at times such as with a quick escape or climbing. Certain mechanics like climbing and quick item selection are unreliable and again a hindrance to the gameplay.
The point of the game early on is to collect evidence during randomly generated missions to discover the source of the weird happenings around town. Usually this means that you’ll roam around exploring houses in town at first, then eventually you’ll move on to an underground tunnel network. To get from the town missions to the tunnel missions it feels like you have to grind the same area with slightly different tasks each mission over and over again but in small segments. If I’m going into my neighbor Chuck’s house to search for footprints and signs of a break-in, don’t you think I can do those things at the same time? Instead, they are broken up into two completely different missions or more that get monotonous real quick. When you do eventually progress to the other areas in-game, you are often rewarded with a quick capture due to a glitchy gameplay mechanic or because you encountered something such as an enemy or an obstacle that you have no idea how to escape or defeat. Rinse and repeat a few dozen times.
As I was playing online with a friend, we would sometimes wonder around for quite some time just trying to figure out what to do next. A tutorial was non-existent in the early stages of the game and we would have to fumble around trying to figure out what use the crossbow was how to set up certain trap devices. The game was frustrating due to the lack of simple tips and information available to the player and became more frustrating as you moved on to more and more you had no idea how to use or as you were forced to repeat levels because you have no clue what you just walked in to and why you died. There were apparently in-game items that you would randomly encounter that you could use to ask the “Gods” (AKA developers) any question that you’d like to but we never even sniffed the opportunity to find one of these items in the early build that we were playing.
“The Blackout Club” sounded like something that was going to be much more fun than it was but instead a lack of in-game direction, a lack of lore and storytelling as well as repetitive levels and missions provided us with a gaming experience that was just as frustrating as it was lackluster.