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Instadamn: DreadOut Demo

The Fatal Frame/Project Zero series should certainly be on PC because, ideally, everything that I enjoy would be available as a digital download right here at my desk, including Little Creatures pale ale and a really good bowl of Tom Kha Kai. Taking photographs of terrifying ghosts is a petrifying pastime and the third game, The Tormented, performs some brilliant and noteworthy tricks in psychological and narrative level design that have been sadly overlooked. DreadOut is an Indonesian horror game that closely resembles Fatal Frame, with third person wandering, first person photography and ghosts drawn from local folklore. I spent an hour with the demo this afternoon and found it unpleasant enough to warrant a mention.

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The first thing I noticed, after the 'orrible ghostface on the camera phone, was the contrast in brightness between the third and first person sequences. Third person is like walking through the world while surrounded by a bubble of tar while first person is actually navigable. I also noticed that the voice acting and translations are a little tension-sapping but that wasn't going to stop me from hunting a few ghosts.

A couple of minutes in, I'd dispatched one spook and taken quite a few pictures of plants and walls, just in case they happened to be haunted as well. Haunted things vanish when somebody captures them on film, you see, and the photographer probably receives some points and an experience boost as well. That's why so many people take photographs of their burger, steak or coq au vin before they tuck in - animal ghosts count as well.

I'd like to play more, horror-starved as I am, but the Indiegogo campaign that the developers have set up is of the flexible funding variety, which means they receive the cash that has been pledged even if they don't hit their target. Given the work already done, it does seem likely that the game will be finished, even if it happens to be later rather than sooner, but it's a risky proposition, particularly given the significant $25,000 target.

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