I'd like to start this review by congratulating the designers, who by and largely succeeded in making one of the most atmospheric, spooky and genuinely fascinating horror games of recent years. I'd then like to move on to saying ♥♥♥♥ YOU, YOU ♥♥♥♥ING MOTHER-♥♥♥♥ERS for creating such a ludicrously ♥♥♥♥ing CHILDISH way of "punishing" the player (who is at that very same moment ironically "thanked" for "purchasing a legit copy of Dreadout") for the seemingly unforgivable crime of...wait for it...DYING IN A ♥♥♥♥ING VIDEO GAME. What is this punishment, you ask?
Well, the first couple of times it's actually kind of groovy...your character awakens in a "limbo" of sorts, lying on the floor of an otherwise featureless "landscape" surrounded by lit candles. She finds her feet, and soon enough you figure you may as well run towards a coalescing light nearby. Sure enough, you slowly emerge back into the land of the living, and may continue where you left off. Sounds pretty nifty, huh? TRY DOING IT MORE THAN TEN TIMES IN A SINGLE SITTING. But wait, there's more! The light...get this, you're gonna love this...the light MOVES FURTHER AND FURTHER AWAY EVERY TIME YOU DIE, until it's eventually, like, a minute or more's running distance away. In other words, not only are you rewarded with a two-minute wait before you can get back to trying to work out just how to get past that tricky ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ of a boss bit, but you can't even walk away for those minutes like you would with a slow load screen, unless you have a pet monkey you can train to SIT THERE FOR TWO ♥♥♥♥ING MINUTES HOLDING THE "SHIFT" AND "W" KEYS DOWN!!!
I can tell the people who made this game are by and largely very talented, but apparently they either don't give a damn about public opinion or they don't know how to do STEAM UPDATES. Because given how many negative reviews I've seen complaining about this particularly "striking" and "unique" feature which they've foisted upon us, I for the life of me cannot understand why the designers haven't decided to do a patch to fix this INSANELY BAD ♥♥♥♥ING IDEA. Seriously, it's stupid, and insulting, and to add further insult you start getting on-screen comments like "You might want to consider switching to casual gaming" whilst running towards the light for the umpteenth time. Oh yeah, TROLLING people who shelled out good money for your game...genius.
Let us seriously, SERIOUSLY hope that this nonsense is gone - or at least severely lessened - by the time that Act Two of an otherwise excellent game rears its head, 'cause honestly Digital Happiness, it's the only conceivable reason I can see why this game has such an appalling Metascore. Apart from this highly significant flaw, and perhaps one or two puzzles/boss-battles which rely just a little TOO much on obscure solutions, this is top-rate horror gaming. Oh, and a map wouldn't hurt either. But honestly, the main criticism I have is the "dying" system (which you can't even circumnavigate by re-loading, thanks to you getting an auto-save the second said death occurs).
The people who make games this good deserve respect, but you know what? So do the people who PLAY them. Wake up, designers. We're not all uber-gamers who devote our lives to spending 16 hours a day in front of the computer. By all means make the games challenging, but please refrain from tactics which just make people wanna relinquish their support for your product (and FUTURE products) altogether. I'm sure the "limbo" idea was cute on paper, or in design meetings, but don't make the game-buying public your ♥♥♥♥ing guinea pigs. Cheers.
Verdict: 8.5/10 (subject to improve if the developers grow a conscience and "do the right thing").