The Blackout Club
Many gamers still consider Left 4 Dead 2 to be the absolute pinnacle of team-based, multiplayer, survival horror games. Not surprisingly, Valve’s 2009 hit is still being played today, in no small part due to the modding community that has fully embraced all of its bloody goodness.
But while the Left 4 Dead series was damn good, most people didn’t really consider it particularly scary. Tense, maybe, but not scary in the manner in which games like Outlast or Amnesia: The Dark Descent are. Being able to blast away at flesh-munching zombie hordes with guns, just isn’t the same as the singularly horrifying experience of being stalked by some unknown entity, armed with little more than a flashlight and hopefully some good soles on your shoes, for running your arse off.
Indie developer Question looks to bridge the gap between the two, bringing us a stealth-based survival horror game that can be enjoyed with a group of friends. However, the genre as a whole is already bursting at the seams with both good and bad survival horror titles, so in what way does their new game, The Blackout Club, seek to distinguish itself?
First off, you can clearly see that The Blackout Club has been inspired by teenage horror pulp such as Stranger Things. It’s a co-op affair and features drop-in, drop-out options in case you’re short on friends, and can support up to four people.
Once you load into the game, you’ll find yourself within an abandoned rail-car that has been converted into the headquarters for a spunky group of teens who called themselves the…here it comes…The Blackout Club! This plucky gaggle of rascals team up at night in order to sneak around their neighborhood and gather clues involving a ghastly conspiracy that is going on behind the scenes.
Stranger things are indeed afoot, as the small town’s grownups have begun to walk around at night whispering menacing verbiage. Oh, and there’s also the matter of a rather sinister monster that the teens can only see when they close their eyes. The tutorial sequence is brilliantly executed, and really sets up the game’s creepy backstory.
Before each mission, you’ll be able to fully customize your character and change both their appearance and equipment carried. These loadouts can vary; grappling hooks, sleep darts, and canisters of shaving foam that you can use to muffle noise-makers, are just some of the available items that you can take along on your nocturnal operations.
Each mission also creates a procedurally-generated map, so that the missions, enemy patrol routes, and loot are all different with every play-through. As a fan of games that feature well-implemented, procedurally-generated maps in games, I quite enjoy this aspect of The Blackout Club, as it vastly increases the game’s overall replayability factor.
Another thing that I really like about The Blackout Club is that it is indeed a stealth-based game. Sorry kiddos, but if you run around and take violent actions out on your perspective foes, you’ll most likely end up on your back, pushing up daisies. Remaining quiet and out-of-sight is the name of the game here, and it’s a welcome relief out of all of the loud, gaudy, supposedly “scary” games out there like Dead By Daylight.
Indeed, if you stomp about loudly in The Blackout Club, you’ll soon gain the notice of a particularly creepy adversary called The Shape. You’ll get a little warning on-screen that this entity has detected you and from there you have to try to escape its hellish grasp.
However, since you can only see it when you close your eyes, your flight can be a terror-inducing combination of sprinting from it, looking back to see if it’s on your tail, and running some more. The Blackout Club employs this monster in an exquisitely horrific manner, and it’s one of the scariest entities I’ve ever witnessed in a survival horror title.
Although The Blackout Club’s visuals are excellent, you can tell that the game is in Early Access because it does have its share of niggling bugs. However, if its developers keep this little horror gem on the right track, I believe it could become one of the more fun (and terrifying) co-op, survival horror games within the over-saturated market.
The Blackout Club features great graphics that make its survival horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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