DreadOut follows a teenage girl named Linda, whose school trip goes horribly wrong after she and her classmates become separated from one another in an abandoned, haunted school.
Fortunately Linda’s phone camera (and later a regular camera as well) lets her fight back against these restless and malevolent spirits, as well as take photos of key areas to solve puzzles. As you explore, there are notes to find that provide some story context for the ghosts and the town.
The game is split into three acts. Act 0 is a short prologue, Act 1 takes place in the school, and Act 2 takes place in the surrounding areas.
The camera in Act 1 is terrible. Not the camera you use to fight the ghosts with, but the actual game camera. When you aren’t looking through your phone in first-person, the over-the-shoulder camera is unusually far to the right of Linda, and it goes crazy when you try to go through a doorway. Since the other parts are set in wider areas, it’s not as big of an issue there.
There isn’t a lot of story, although Act 2 adds a bit more, as well as more character interactions. Mainly it’s all about exploring haunted locations and fighting ghosts.
If you die, you travel through “limbo” instead of simply getting a game over, which basically means you need to waste time running toward a blue light while the game inexplicably displays messages like “Thank you for buying a legit copy of DreadOut” and “Winners don’t do drugs” along with an occasional message that’s actually relevant to the story. Then you return to the spot right before you died, so it’s functionally the same as restarting from a checkpoint.
Overall, DreadOut is… fine. It has some frustrating parts and a few illogical puzzles, but there are some genuinely spooky moments and tense boss fights.
I don’t feel compelled to play more from the series, especially since I still have several Fatal Frame games to play, but I do have Keepers of the Dark in my backlog already. Anyway, if you’re looking for a new ghost-fighting horror game, DreadOut can give you a decently spooky few hours if you don’t mind its frustrations.---
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