There was a satisfying sense of accomplishment after I completed some of the hardest levels in The Blackout Club with three friends who were terrible at stealth and caused havoc for my objective-driven personality. Even if I had to run around the block a dozen times avoiding crazed sleep-walking homeowners and a creepy shape person that instantly killed me if caught.
The Blackout Club is not perfect but its moments of great co-op gameplay combined with the intense levels of chaos make for a silly yet unsettling horror game. Sure, its story never flourishes as much as the prologue makes you invested in it but the overall experience makes for a great few sessions before it gets boring and you move onto something else only to return the next day for more.
The Blackout Club is a four-player co-op horror game that sees you take on the role of some ugly-looking teenagers which form part of this “Blackout Club”. This group of teens task it upon themselves to investigate the strange occurrences in their neighbourhood.
People have started sleepwalking at night and strange expansive tunnels have appeared underground with a great sense of demonic possession being the theme here. Think Silent Hill meets American Horror Story: Cult.
These teenagers, which you and your friends play as are on a mission to explore these tunnels and complete a range of missions every night which see them enter the surrounding areas and do something new. These missions never really become anything exciting and revolve around you placing objects, taking pictures of things or venturing deep into the tunnels to find an item.
After a few missions, I could not care less what I was doing and why but the way I did it, and having my clumsy friends at my side made these tedious objective-based missions worthwhile.
As the game progresses you are slowly dipped deeper into the chaos of The Blackout Club. Enemies start off plain and subdued as these parents sleepwalk around the streets and homes and you need to break into houses to complete your objective. They are sleeping so they can’t see you but they can hear you so sneaking and avoiding loud flooring is the best way to explore the area.
Things get harder and harder as you progress through The Blackout Club. Missions went from breezy to extremely challenging as the enemy types expand and traps and other threats start to get in the way. The Shape is a deadly invisible enemy that can only be seen if you close your eyes. He comes from players who do wrong such as killing enemies and using their power kills.
The main idea behind the combat of The Blackout Club is to keep things nonviolent. You are a teenager and should not be killing people so you have to use a range of objects to distract, stun and subdue your enemy. However, there are still consequences for swaying too far off the silent path. Every action you take which is either violent or an ability is seen as a “sin” and these sins stack together before unleashing The Shape.
In a nutshell, you need to play carefully and if you don’t, you will soon have all the Sleepers running at you and The Shape chasing you down in order to turn you into one of the sleepwalking minions. Every action as a reaction until you have the whole neighbourhood trying to catch you.
The tools at your disposal make things a little easier but some of them are sins too. Each character can choose various abilities from hacking a drone in the air to calling a Sleeper’s phone for them answer it to only hear a telemarketer shout at them. Items like a crossbow can shoot stun arrows at enemies to knock them out, tin foam can be tossed onto the ground to make it soft so you don’t take fall damage and fireworks can be used to distract enemies.
Everything works on all enemies but The Shape. This being is undefeatable and once you have spawned him, be it due to your reckless actions or just taking too long, you will have to constantly be on the run as he targets either you or your friends.
It is an exciting formula especially when you have reached the later parts of the game and have more abilities and ground to explore. There was a great sense of fear when exploring a house with three Sleepers creeping outside and two inside as I tried to stay silent. My friend then walked in and ruined it all by stunning an enemy and spawning The Shape.
But it all gets a little boring too fast. The repetitive missions and the lack of any real progression, either than unlocking an upgraded ability just gives the game very little reason to go back. One thing I found confusing was the ability to use any and all weapons and tools right from the start. If we had to unlock these by progressing through the game then it would have given me more reason to come back.
The game is also much harder to play alone and if anything, something I would not advise. Much of the game’s fun comes from doing it with friends as everyone’s clumsiness adds up to an exciting session. Being alone in the game just did not have the same appeal as playing with friends.
There is also a progression system that lets you level up, unlock new parts of the map to explore and earn candies which can be used to purchase cosmetic items for your character. They are limited and don’t really look that great but it is a way to keep you going at least.
The Blackout Club was some of the most fun I have had with friends in a game for a while until it was not. It grows tedious quite fast but after a day off the game, it was all chaos and laughter again. It has clearly been designed to be played in short bursts and when you are in a full lobby with friends, you will enjoy every moment of it. It is a creepy and unsettling horror game that quickly evolves into a clumsy co-op mess and I am okay with that.
This review was based on a code sent to us by Question
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 30 July 2019 | Price: R399
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