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Upon first covering DreadOut, I read that it was third-person and relied heavily on atmospheric horror, which is probably my favorite kind of horror gaming. I’m probably a little biased because I grew up in a time when these third-person horror games were at their prime. But with fantastic jump-scares and a nostalgic trip back to what made horror gaming great, DreadOut Keepers Of The Dark delivers. But if you didn’t play the original DreadOut game, don’t expect to be filled in on the story.
I played the game on a Mac, but with Windows installed, so I dunno if that made a difference with the controls. I also had an Xbox controller plugged in. I started playing the game using just the keyboard and thought I was taking pictures with my camera in game. But when I looked at my gallery, I realized I hadn’t. So I picked up the Xbox controller and learned that my camera and phone actually have a viewfinder where I can zoom in and out and take actual photos. There aren’t really any clear instructions on how to do this in-game (except maybe scroll on the mouse, but a Mac mouse doesn’t work like that) so I kept jumping back and forth between the controller and the keyboard (because the keyboard was less frantic when moving around). It was a hassle, sure, but not enough to completely kill the mood.
About an hour into playing, I had been attacked and killed by a number of different entities and I had no idea what I was supposed to do or how to battle them. Again, there aren’t really any instructions on this either. By accident, and borrowing from past games like Fatal Frame, I got close to the entity when my camera started to shake and I took a shot. It appeared as if the entity was taken aback. When I did it again, waiting for the camera to shake, the entity disappeared. Okay, so apparently that was how you battled in this game. It almost felt that much more rewarding having figured it out myself.
The biggest disappointment in this game was the story. Because Keepers Of The Dark is just DLC to the original DreadOut, there really wasn’t a huge need in redeveloping the story. But in this DLC, there really wasn’t any story. The little intro video didn’t tell me much and upon starting the DLC, I didn’t know where the main character was, what her name was or why her friends were standing around a car. I flat out didn’t know what the hell was going on. All I knew was that she had a number of doors in front of her, all leading to different “realms” with different entities.
There’s a pretty steep learning curve in DreadOut Keepers Of The Dark in trying to understand how to take part in combat against the ghosts and how to use your camera and phone. There isn’t really much else to use your phone for except for taking pictures. So really it does the same thing as your camera, but it’s a phone. And thankfully, the battery never really dies out like in other games like Outlast.
Despite the learning curve, I still really enjoyed DreadOut Keepers Of The Dark. Now I want to play the full game so I understand more how the main character got where she did and hopefully learn more about the story. So while it’s not a perfect game, I think it snuck by in the horror gaming world without much of an uproar, and I think it deserves a little more recognition.
This review based on a Steam/PC copy of the content provided by the developer.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
ESRB: Everyone 10+