Way back in 2014, Indie developer - Digital Happiness released DreadOut. This was a survival horror game very much in the vain of the Fatal Frame series where you use a phone (with a camera) to fend off all kinds of spooky ghosts that were seeped in Indonesian Mythology. The plot revolved around a group of senior high school students who go astray from their vacation trip in Indonesia and end up discovering an old deserted town where the spooky stuff starts to go down. While the original wasn't perfect, it was enjoyable and filled a hole for anyone wanting another Fatal Frames like experience. It even got a film adaption in 2019 (which I am definitely going to find and review on the site during October!) as well as a spin off game set in the same universe, but now in 2022 we have a fully fledged sequel - DreadOut 2.
DreadOut 2 follows directly on from the original game, with lone survivor Linda Meillinda (sorry on the OG game spoiler there!) once again being the main character and having to use her trusty smartphone and supernatural ability to sense and see ghosts to do some bustin! But does it make you feel good?....
One thing I do appreciate is that the developers have included a story rundown of the first game, so if like me you never really played the original you can jump into this one without being completely lost and confused to what is transpiring. The plot itself is pretty interesting in DreadOut 2. Whilst not the easiest to follow at times, it's much more intriguing than many other horror games I've played recently.
The game is played in a third-person perspective, with you jumping into first-person when using your phone/camera. This time around there is all-new melee combat and a much greater emphasis on exploration compared to the original game. You use your smart phone to take pictures of the ghosts which deals damage to them, whilst using your phone flash to stun them. The stun gives you abit of time to get some space between you and your enemy and is extremely useful especially with how quick some of these ghosts can be! Additionally, the devs have included melee weapons this time as well. These are a nice addition but the clunkiness and slowness in which you fight can get frustrating at times. The boss fights in particular can be pretty painful to experience.
Another change that has been included is the open world aspect. You are now able to explore the small town and interact with various unique NPCs both human and ghosts, with various locations teeming with their antics. Whilst the open world areas aren't huge, the ability to free roam and interact with people to pick up side quests/fight mini-bosses is pretty neat and adds alot of content to what could have been a very linear horror game.
Graphically the game isn't amazing, you can tell it's a indie horror game made on a budget. But the environments are all detailed, with the ability to explore them during the day and night bringing out their best features. The character models are ok and there is a good variety of enemies that you will get to encounter throughout your playthrough. The sound design is also pretty good and creepy too, with the voice acting not being terribly cringey or badly acted as well which is always a nice bonus.
Unfortunately the game was pretty rough around the edges when I played it for review. With regular framerate drops and sound/graphical bugs causing niggling issues. Hopefully these issue will be rectified with a patch from the devs in the future. The game will take around 8 hours to finish, with a couple more being needed to sweep up all of the achievements for all you hunters out there. It's not the longest game in the world, but for a horror game its more than enough and at the lower price it retails at, you're more than getting a good deal on it.
DreadOut 2 is overall an enjoyable experience. The open-world style aspect, mixed with the camera based ghost capturing I quite enjoy, along with the creepy environments and sound design are all highlights, but it's pulled down by a myriad of bugs and constant framerate drops that really pull you out of the experience. I highly recommend adding it to your collection if you are a horror game fan, it's definitely worth playing through as it does at times pump out some great scares. Just be prepared that these great moments are usually surrounded by niggling technical issues and hope the games charm wins you over.
TOTAL SCORE: 6.5/10
Dreadout 2 was released onto the Xbox store on the 15th July 2022. Playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and supports Smart Delivery. The game is priced at £16.74 and can be purchased HERE.
A copy of the game was provided for this review. A huge thanks for that.