I really should be doing that final log, but alas…
Let’s start with a simple question, what is Dreadout? DreadOut is an indie horror game that takes place in an Asian-Indonesian setting. In the game you will take control of Linda, the protagonist, exploring a haunted town where she will encounter tons of ghost and other supernatural stuff. Fortunately she’s equipped with a phone that could take photo of a ghost to banish it so it’s all good, right?
Currently there’s a demo of the game that’s available here so you can give it a try.
A little disclaimer before we go further, I’m not in any way an expert or even a fan of the horror genre. I’m just someone who’s highly opinionated and enjoy writing.
Anyway, yesterday I gave the demo of DreadOut a try. Well, “gave a try” may be an exaggeration since I only played the first five minutes and then spent another 15 minutes watching a friend played it. And it’s not like he forcibly took control of the game from me either, the game actually feels so scary that I can’t play it anymore. And since DreadOut is a horror game, I think being able to scare someone (well, me) like this is a pretty awesome feat.
Is it that scary? Well, DreadOut used a combination of darkness and eery sound to create an unbelievably scary atmosphere. And being only able to see the ghosts from your camera actually intensifies this atmosphere even further. That said, having an audience who watch me play the game probably also plays a role in me getting scared.
And by the way, that other person who continued my game also gave up playing. In the end we all decided to just watch Die Hard for the rest of the night XD
While I did say it’s an awesome feat to be able to scare someone, I suppose making a player quit the game isn’t actually a good thing. Granted, I’m not someone who loves horror games that much, but I still enjoy a good scare and some tensions. I mean, the first part of Bioshock is crazy scary, but it is the best part of the game and I totally enjoyed every second of it.
It’s interesting to see that Dreadout and Bioshock (again, first part) have a really similar scary experience . Both games make you feel scared of turning around a corner because of what’s possibly lurking behind it. But the main difference is, Bioshock manages to make me endure all those scary stuff while Dreadout just makes me give up.
My problem is that there’s just no compelling reason for me to go forward in the game. So when I got to enter a dark, scary alley, all I could think of is why the hell I should go that way when I see no treasure or safe haven or anything beyond that alley. Not to mention the game doesn’t reward me for exploring places. No collectibles or anything that would motivate me to try entering an unexplored room brimming with possible ghosts.
One thing that bugged me the most is that there’s also no reward in any form when a ghost is successfully captured. No visual indicator that you’ve succeeded, no nice sound effect, no nothing. I guess you could say that the relief afterward is some sort of reward, but seriously, that feeling is so short-lived that I highly doubt it could be called a reward.
And that’s my other problem with the game. The entire game feels so intense and there’s barely any place where you could feel safe. Even after you checked out a room and found it to be clear, you still have this feeling that something may jump at you at any given time. There’s just no ground rule set up about when you should be scared and when you shouldn’t.
Sigh, I don’t know, may be I just missed the point of a horror game? At this point, the game feels more like a gauntlet run full of scary things to test your courage and frankly, that’s just not my thing. I mean, even horror movies has something compelling like a plot or a mystery that makes me want to endure it to the end.
That said, DreadOut definitely has potential. It’s not easy to create a scary experience but DreadOut has actually nailed that part. I hope they succeed in their crowdfunding, because there are still tons of stuff could be fixed in the game.
If you’re interested, give it a try yourself from here.