Digital Happiness, out of Bandung, Indonesia, comes back with a vengeance in this creepy tome of a group of kids traveling to a school event when their path is stopped by a creepy and abandoned town. As with any kids, they stick their noses in where it is not supposed to go and mayhem ensues.
So what is DreadOut? Take some Indonesian lore, anime art influences, an innocent school girl with a cellphone, and some scary as heck images; mix well, and you get DreadOut. I will tell you first and forefront in the beginning, this game is creepy. The game, albeit a bit reworked from other stories, will give you the “heeby-jeebies”. You will be entertained. There are some issues with the game though that will make your decisions to purchase this game. I hope you understand them from here.
Usually I will give a score based on graphics, but, games like this are reliant on visuals, not necessarily the graphics. The graphics may not be beautifully created, the textures are fairly plain in many places, but the visuals are insane. Their usage of shadows throughout the game can be though of a cliche horror technique but their usage of them draws the eyes away from the real scare. It really builds an anticipation of something is going to come out of there, but the exact opposite occurs and the player gets a true scare. The next time, the shadow will be the point of the scare. Another visual draw is that filters are “sickly” in appearance. When a filter is added to a game it is to give the viewer a different tone to the scene. The guys and gals at Digital Happiness really have worked the filters to a whole new level. Blues are added for solemn moment, reds for the exciting moments, and even green moments to make the stomach turn for the gory scenes. Not going to give a score for graphics this time. The visuals get a monstrous 5.
The key to any good horror movie, video game…well anything really in the genre… is the sounds that set the stage for the heart to start pounding. These mood builders are used to set scenes, keying in on a change in pace, and can make or break the event occurring. Sadly, some sounds become repetitive in DreadOut and this is sad. The scenes will change in area of visuals and the sound takes a few moments to catch up, or the sound will let you know that something is about to happen before you even enter into the “danger zone”. At times throughout the game the audio seems to go a little bit over the top with the acting. We are talking about teenagers here, but the voices sound as if it’s prepubescent children. The cliche cool girl. The cliche jerk guy. All the cliches are there and the voice acting is definitely giving to that. The sound of the game give a 3 out of 5 stars. It’s rather just mediocre.
The Story of any horror media is what truly makes or breaks it. The concepts may be silly, think a doll coming to life with the soul of a serial killer, but the story has got to be solid. Much more than a solid story it needs to be original. DreadOut again fails as it reworks other horror video games into the mix. Using a camera, even though its a cell phone camera…that new isn’t it?, takes too much from the Fatal Frame franchise. Even the more recent game of Outlast, hmmmmmm Outlast…DreadOut…couldn’t be, uses a camera to see and evade the ghostly entity. The game is nearly all in an abandoned small town with dust particles falling out of the sky. Anyone remember the Silent Hill series of games and movies? I’m not going to give anymore instances of rehashed ideas for a horror game as it will take away from the story too much and give major spoilers. Due to these issues with the story, I can only give a 2 out of 5 for the storyline. We’ve all been there and done that.
I’ve already said the game is creepy due to the visuals, but, let really talk about the horror aspect of the game. DreadOut takes directly from the Indonesian legends, you can google Indonesian Mythology to see for yourself, and is very loyal to the stories. Some of these creatures and demons are down right weird. We may not in the western world understand the nuances and what makes some of the creatures scary. At times I actually had to look up the legends to see why this visual representation was chosen by the Indonesian peoples for a certain sin or evil action. This all being said, the game can be a bit more scarier, if I can use that word, if you understand the culture of Indonesia a bit more. I don’t mean take a trip there and study the culture. Just understand that the images are from a different culture and that could effect your gameplay. If you’re too busy giggling at something that was intended to scare the crap out of you.
Overall: 3 / 5
If you so choose to take on a good horror game, you can purchase it HERE!