Mobile phones and their cameras are the scourge of modern existence. People turn into mindless zombies and feel entitled to capture anything they see. However, they play a key role in many modern horror titles. Recently, I covered Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel and an SLR camera was a key mechanic. Consequently, I wasn’t surprised to see Dreadout 2 using a similar arrangement.
Developed by Digital Happiness and Kittehface and published by Digerati, this is a third-person horror title. It follows on from the original game but can be enjoyed by newcomers to the series. Thanks to a helpful piece of cinematic, players are brought up to speed in no time at all. This was an excellent idea, as I never experienced the first game. Instead, I immediately knew what was happening as I began my creepy adventure.
Dreadout 2 had a small budget, and it shows.
Before I give my overview of the plot, I want to address the elephant in the room. Sadly, Dreadout 2 had a minimal budget and this shows on many levels. The developers had big ideas, but disappointingly, the lack of funds impacts nearly every one of them. However, this shouldn’t put you off entirely. No, instead, I suggest going into this with your eyes wide open, as much of the action is enjoyable and interesting.
The plot follows Linda who is the protagonist of the opening game. She starts her journey in a creepy school where people are hiding and voices haunt her. Once the prologue is completed, the action moves to a small city where a semi-open-world approach is followed. Here, you must take on quests, explore your oppressive surroundings, and progress the story. Sadly, much of the action follows a linear route, and this holds the story back. Had it been more free-flowing, the game would have been vastly improved.
As it is, you must wander around a gloomy city while performing an array of fetch quests. En route, you must use your mobile phone to light the way, stun ghostly apparitions, and eventually send them back to their ghastly realms. Accordingly, it performs like many other horror titles and comes across as familiar and well-trodden.
Clunky gameplay, but a nice nod to folklore.
Where Dreadout 2 excels is its nod to Indonesian folklore. The game is laced with incredible lore and eerie moments. Subsequently, this is what keeps you going as you want to see how things evolve. Other than this, many of its mechanics lack originality, and this holds it back.
What’s more, even when it’s going well, it feels disjointed and clunky. Sadly, the combat elements are slow and should be avoided. However, I liked viewing the ghostly realm and how different functions of the mobile had an impact. For example, the flash will stun your opponents and framing a shot deals higher damage. Furthermore, operating the shutter button for longer delivers a mighty powerful blow.
On top of this, the light is used to explore any darkened areas. This was fantastic, as it added to the atmosphere and was truly creepy. However, I wish the developers incorporated more in-depth tasks other than the mundane ones that continually punctuate the action. Consequently, fetch quests were all well and good, but they soon became tedious and I yearned for much more.
Dreadout 2 looks good but performs poorly.
With grainy imagery, claustrophobic spaces, and eerie darkness, the developers created an uncomfortable atmosphere. However, it performs so badly due to frame rate issues. Subsequently, the gameplay isn’t smooth, and this impacts the combat and camera elements. This was a clear indicator of how a small budget impacts big ideas. Though I appreciate the desire to create something wonderful, I’d have preferred something smaller and more playable.
Fortunately, the audio fares much better. With disturbing sound effects and haunting noises, you won’t feel comfortable. What’s more, the ambient sounds bring each area to life. However, the lack of acting was disappointing! Though there was some spoken dialogue, it was mostly text-based information. This impacted the action and made the gameplay more voyeuristic instead of immersive.
Mostly, the clever and simple UI makes Dreadout 2 easy to play. Yet, the sluggish reaction time makes it tough to control. What’s more, the poor frame rate enhances this problem. Alongside this, the protagonist’s desire to jog at every opportunity makes traversing tight spaces a little tougher. Accordingly, these problems impact the core mechanics and make the game a little less enjoyable.
With plenty to see and do, there is both replay value and longevity. However, I’m not sure how many gamers will want to return. If you can look beyond the problems, there is a large enough world to keep you interested for many hours.
Dreadout 2 could have been great.
Dreadout 2 comprises many great ideas. Consequently, I was disappointed that it didn’t excel. However, when it worked well, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Annoyingly, though, these fleeting moments were few and far between. As such, it should be great, but sadly, it wasn’t. Accordingly, I can’t recommend you to buy it. But, more information can be found here! Fans of the first game will enjoy what they experience, but for everyone else, there are better horror titles.