Review – DreadOut 2 (Xbox One)
When it was released way back 2014, the original DreadOut was an interesting game. It was a low budget survival horror game from an Indonesian studio that didn’t get the best of reception to start with, but over the years gained a fairly large cult following. It clearly took inspiration from games such as Fatal Frame to propel its camera-based combat gameplay. Admittedly, it wasn’t a game that I liked at first. However, it grew on me after a while, despite some major issues. So it wasn’t that surprising that it actually managed to get a sequel. DreadOut 2 originally launched in February 2020 on PC and only recently ported over to Xbox and PlayStation. I missed it on the original release of the game, so now’s a perfect opportunity to finally tackle it.
The story picks up after the events of the first game. Linda has survived the terrifying ordeal, but being the only survivor, her classmates at her school don’t trust her. They believe she is responsible for their deaths. Becoming an outcast, Linda is mostly just trying to get by whilst dealing with her traumatic experience. However, the supernatural threat isn’t over and strange happenings are occurring around the town.
DreadOut 2 attempts to create an unreliable sense of reality. Linda will enter the Upside Down-like other world and then suddenly return back to normal, with many characters questioning her sanity. It’s an intriguing premise that could get you through some of the games duller sections, but don’t expect an epic and tense story. Unfortunately, there are a lot of missed opportunities here.
DreadOut 2 tries to go bigger than its predecessor in just about every way. There’s a little bit more than just the camera-based gameplay here, taking clear inspiration from the likes of Silent Hill. It takes the dark corridors of the original and brightens it up with some occasional open spaces. There are a much wider variety of locations and not just a single brown desolate school. This really does a lot to help the sequel feel much more varied and visually interesting.
The gameplay is very similar to the original. For the most part you will be taking pictures of ghosts to deal damage, and if you hold down the shutter you can do a powerful attack. Your phone’s flash will also stun enemies, allowing you to run away, reposition, or get a free attack or two. New to DreadOut 2 though is the introduction of melee weapons. Throughout certain points in the story you will gain access to a slow yet powerful melee weapon to deal with the possessed. This pushes it closer to Silent Hill than ever before.
Instead of focusing on going big, DreadOut 2 could have benefited from just fixing what didn’t work in the original. The combat is slow and clunky, and when you are dealing with enemies that move relatively quick, it just feels bad. There’s also some shoddy hit detection and brutally long animations. Even the game’s first boss just felt awkward to fight. With some additional work, DreadOut 2 could have been much better. There are some good ideas, but none of them are truly focused on enough to make DreadOut 2 a standout.
Playing on the Xbox One X, things are actually mostly fine. It’s not the best looking game ever, and the low budget is clearly visible, but it is serviceable. Some areas do look better than others but with some cool designs, especially with the ghosts you will be hunting. The game also runs at 30fps, but I did notice some choppiness during certain sections.
DreadOut 2 isn’t necessarily a good game, but it’s got its charms. The combat is clunky and slow, explorations can be needlessly vague, and it’s not graphically impressive to say the least. That being said, it does still have some good ideas that make it somewhat entertaining. If you want to play a low budget horror title, I would highly recommend checking out the original DreadOut first and if you like that give the second one a shot. Otherwise DreadOut 2 doesn’t offer anything terribly interesting.
DreadOut 2 lacks multiple layers of polish. While the environments are far more varied than its predecessor, it’s still not graphically impressive.
Much more ambitious than the last game, but arguably not for the better. Combat is slow and clunky.
Sound design is decent enough, but not nothing about it is memorable.
Fun Factor: 5.5
DreadOut 2 has some good ideas that are never fleshed out enough to push it to that next level.
Final Verdict: 5.5
DreadOut 2 is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and PC.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of DreadOut 2 was provided by the publisher.