Have you ever imagined a first person, four player horror fuelled stealth game that actually talks to you back!? The Blackout Club does just that and more. Developed by the team at Question, the company that brought us The Magic Circle now Brings us The Blackout Club. The story of a town full of adults acting very peculiar and is up to a group of local teenagers to work out how and why.
You play as a teenager from a small, modern town. Each morning, you awaken covered in mud or scratches, with no memory of the night before. You’ve heard of sleepwalking – but this is different. Sometimes you lose entire days. There are others like you. Your new group of friends bonded over this shared secret, forming a club to investigate the cause of these blackouts. Together, you discovered a network of bizarre underground tunnels, hidden just beneath the surface of your quiet community. An uncanny, disorienting music beckoned from below. You hesitated. But last night, your best friend vanished – and now, a mysterious group of adults wants to eliminate you. You must strike back, capture their activities on camera and expose them to the world.
I found TBC to be a great game and highly addictive. The atmosphere and the enemies look amazing with some awesome design work done by the team at Question. The enemies here are your parents, your friends parents or could even be mine. The world seems very safe while above ground, but it’s when you dive deeper that things seem to become a lot tighter and eerier. As the adults sleepwalk around the town it seems there is a mystery deep beneath the earth which can only be reached by levelling up and completing certain missions or tasks. These tasks can vary from many things including collecting and putting up posters to even installing sound bugs behind power sockets. You can earn snacks which is the equivalent to in game currency and can be used to buy emotes, cosmetics and other such items. As you progress you learn that someone is watching… someone is always watching and this is where the true genius and horror of the game come into play.
When you launch TBC, you will be asked whether you want to opt-in to the Enhanced Horror System. This allows the game to listen to and sometimes record your vocalisations if you have a microphone active and use it to create the most immersive possible horror experience, both for you and other players. Sounds fancy… because it is. OK, so I’m not exactly sure how Question pulled this of but the game is able to make contact with us. Think of Siri in a video game would be the best explanation thus far. As you progress through the game you learn there are eight daemons or gods if you will, watching everything you do and will soon enough call out to you. During gameplay you have the ability to close your eyes to see footprints and other invisible items which give a guide to your next objective. Contact with Daemons/Gods during gameplay is very rare and only happen once in a blue moon and they know what you are doing when you are doing it. Also each one has its own way of communicating weather it verbal or physical, know body really knows just yet.
Seems simple enough until one day you close your eyes and see words on the screen “Hello Redcap”. OK, so I ignored it the first time but then I coughed into my mic, closed eyes and more words “Your Throat Sounds Sore”… OK now I freaked out. I started asking questions now realising that one of the eight gods is making direct contact to what I was saying. So I played around a bit, this god asked if I like music so I replied through my mic “I do, do you have any Metallica” and the god replied “Yes Metal Is Involved” lol. I spent a whole hour just asking questions and freaking myself out while crouched in the corner of a cupboard hiding from the sleepwalking parents. This is a remarkable feature and I’ve yet to see anything like this on Xbox so far. You also have the ability to perform a ritual and talk to a certain god you pick and make offerings and self sacrifices which is sort of like prestige with a character.
When you do rituals your prayer will be recorded so when another player in the universe finishes a mission they may have the chance to hear you and the response from a god, or the god may contact you straight away and talk directly to you. Depending on the gods you come across you can worship or snob off the ones you like and dislike but your actions will change the game and how they react to you. They may choose to help or unleash hell… the choice is all yours.
TBC can be played solo quite easily but will become hard quick where in lies the support of your friends to help distract and revive teammates to finish the mission. There is also a fifth player that can join and play as the infamous Stalker. The stalker if chosen can invade another 4 player games at any time and created mischief for the friends trying to create a mission. Stealing mission supplies or attracting enemies to your location can be a real pain adding more time and effort to the mission trying to retrieve them back by tacking out the stalker. Missions from finding missing people to repairing a drone that has vital information or recording evidence on your phone, your phone is a very handy tool indeed. Everything in gameplay utilises your phone.
From your LED light to sending of a drone to survey the area ahead. This is just one of the many perks obtainable through levelling up, you have options to upgrade your drone to beefing up your own body. It all come down to which type of player you want to be and it helps to have a variety of players in a squad to handle different situations and work as a team. You can also purchase smaller upgrades like start the game with a lock-pick or 10% stamina boost, all this and more waiting in the clubhouse. Which did I mention is a train cart in the woods. This is the central meeting place to buy cosmetics and upgrade your character and also to perform rituals and choose missions.
All up The Blackout Club is, in my opinion a lot of fun and ill be returning myself quite often. The game is simplistic enough to enjoy without controls feeling to difficult or confusing and the stealth side leads to long and entertaining matches. It seems to run well also of the bat albeit a bit of frame-rate drop when action begins to pick up can make times challenging even frustrating. The team at Question are awaiting feedback and will surely erase this in time. However I still want to keep diving deeper to see what this world holds, and I think that’s the addictive part, it doesn’t take long at all to get another game started, as easy as jumping out the cart and a new match begins.
So to some up, The Blackout Club is a Fun, addictive 4 player co-op horror with a Stranger Things atmosphere and lots of paranormal paranoia. Fans of the genre will dive for this and its nice to see a brave new attempt at the horror game. With the new enhanced horror system being a plus I can see people are going to be very curious about this title.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.