The Blackout Club snuck up on me (pardon the pun). It was a game that I knew little about it until it was announced as leaving Early Access. I watched its annoucement trailer and instantly I thought ‘how have I not heard about this game?’. Soon enough I was in the town of Redacre and couldn’t wait to discover the secret of this strange town.
So, what exactly is The Blackout Club? Is it like the epic Brad Pitt film Fight Club? Not quite… The Blackout Club is an indie, stealth-based, first-person cooperative (1-4 players) multiplayer horror game developed by Question LLC. The Blackout Club was first released to Early Access in October 2018 and revolves around a group of teens that form the Blackout Club who are trying to discover the strange mysteries that are taking over their town. By day everything is normal, but at night the adults turn into possessed sleepwalkers that have no recollection of their actions and play it off like nothing even happened. Basically, think of it like Stranger Things, but in a video game!
You begin The Blackout Club with a prologue to the game and it’s AMAZING. I couldn’t help but constantly think to myself ‘Why haven’t I heard about this game?’. The prologue lays the foundation that most AAA games can’t replicate- a deep and intriguing story, intense action and the best elements from RPG and scavenging games, but sadly The Blackout Club fails to live up to it’s own prologue…
Here’s where the game begins to disappoint- As soon as you complete the prologue, you’re instantly thrown into randomly generated missions that do little to enhance the story. Soon many hours pass of nothing more than sneaking, looting and grinding missions away for little reward. I see no sight of an end, just more meaningless missions and objectives that encourage you to explore Redacre. This becomes quite tedious and I’ll say it, disappointing. You grind to find pickups and tranq darts then lose them when the mission ends only to have to go find them again in the next mission. Sure, you gain experience upon completing missions that unlock new skills, but the majority of these skills feel useless and fail to enhance gameplay.
As sneaking and stealth are key elements of the game, I expected a vast array of enemies with unique strengths and weaknesses that I would have to learn to exploit. Instead, I was met with three different enemies that were rather disappointing (expect for the Shape who I’ll talk about later). Sleepers are… well, sleepers- They’re blind sleepwalkers who can only hear your movements. Lucids are slightly more challenging as they can hear and more importantly, see you. This encourages you to stick to the shadows and remain silent. Finally, there’s the Shape, who I previously mentioned. The Shape takes advantage of your mistakes and appears once you’ve been spotted, made noise or any other means of making yourself known. Here’s where things get interesting, the Shape can only be seen when players close their eyes, meaning you will have to get to safety before closing your eyes to reveal Shape’s location. It’s a clever mechanic that encourages players to play the game as it should be- with patience. Once the Shape has arrived there’s no way to kill or avoid the Shape until he catches you and possesses your mind… or you complete the mission, either way it stops you (or your team mate) from trying to rush through the level.