The Blackout Club Beginner's Guide: Best Upgrades, Routes, and Character Builds
If you haven't been playing The Blackout Club for months on Steam Early Access already, you could do well with a guide explaining the game's best upgrades, best routes and best character builds.
The game throws a lot at you early and keeps piling on as you level up. New enemies, new mission objectives, and new ways to navigate the eerie town of Redacre and its labyrinthine subterranean maze await players with each new effort.
Use our guide to get situated so you don't spend your early hours grappling with the cult of Redacre.
Play the Prologue
First things first. Though the game does allow you to skip the prologue, don't do that! Not only does it give you great background on the stakes of the story, it also walks you through several important mechanics like learning to read your HUD and how to grapple unaware enemies.
It may be tempting to just dive right in, but as much as we'll teach you in this guide, we can't make up for the fun exposition and first-hand tutorial the game already provides.
Explore The Clubhouse and Pick a Hero Item
Before and between missions, your character will reset in the Blackout Club's base of operations: an abandoned train car in the woods. Scattered on every wall and table are items, both good and bad, that you'll want to read about.
Here you can learn about how stationary devices such as acoustic mines and speed traps work, and more importantly, how to deactivate them.
You can also explore the skill tree available to all players. Major and minor powers are on offer and can grant you boons such as a surveillance drone or the ability to start a game with a lockpick already in your inventory.
Below we'll recommend our favorite character build, but it's worth knowing what's there in case your playstyle differs.
The most important part of this pre-mission moment is picking your hero item. We already have a lengthier guide dedicated to just that, but to reiterate quickly, there are three items:
- Stun gun
- Grappling hook
The stun gun allows you to disable enemies up close in a way that is more effective than jumping on them for impromptu piggy-back rides.
The grappling hook can be strung up anywhere and can open up new pathways in very satisfying and often critical ways.
The crossbow may be the least effective at first, but if you want to incapacitate enemies from a distance, it's your only option. Once you find tranquilizer darts, you can fire them from far away, making you the only kid in the club with such an ability.
Grass, Carpets, and Foam Help You Stay Silent
As the game puts a huge emphasis on stealth, you're going to want to know exactly how much noise you're making. If you're crouching on grass, carpeted floors, or foam from a foam grenade, the answer is that you'll be completely silent.
So long as you stay crouched, you won't make a sound. Combine that with the game's many shadowy corners and you'll move like a ghost and be well hidden from sleepers and lucids alike.
Learn The Map But Prepare for Changes
While the map opens up piecemeal with every new skill level you gain, for the most part, it's a static neighborhood. The same secret tunnels from closet to maze will always be there, but it's a lot of the smaller details that change with every mission.
- Objectives are procedurally generated
- Supply boxes may move around from mission to mission
- Enemy locations and patterns vary greatly
Still, there are a few hotspots to prioritize.
We love the treehouse in the backyard of 919 Hoadley Ave. It's the two-story house with the ladders and scaffolding out front. You'll need one person on your team to have the grappling hook to reach it. They can then climb up and let down a rope ladder or the rest of you can climb up the hook's rope, too.
There's almost always one green supply box up there, and often there are two. As each box has 1-2 items inside, you could start fast with four handy items.
Backyard Maze Entrance
In the maze below the town, we also really love making time for the entrance in the backyard of address 921 Hoadley Ave. Conveniently, it's the one right next to the treehouse residence.
Heading down the ladder behind the door in the grass is often met by another green supply box, and once you creep down the rock tunnel to the room called 920 Observation, there are five spots in this one room that may house more supplies.
Often, any three of these spots are utilized in a given playthrough. Plus you enter on top of the room. Unless you startle the enemies usually walking below, they won't climb the ladder, giving you time to prepare.
Avoid Combat, But If You Must Engage, Hide The Bodies
We play this game very slowly and deliberately, and we love it that way. It's clearly designed for stealth even as it allows for faster and looser playstyles as well — as long as they're willing to deal with the consequences.
We'd say it's almost always better to dodge an enemy than fight them, but if things do get rough and tumble, make sure to hide the body after.
If you knocked out an enemy, you can pick them up and move them out of sight of their allies. Too many sins and The Shape begins to pursue you like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3.
Note that carrying bodies is very stamina intensive and a bit loud. However, if you can sneakily move bodies to a less-trafficked area, it's totally worth it.
Play To Your Strengths, and Complement Your Teammates
While complimenting your team is a great practice, too, what we mean is complementing them. See the difference?
The Blackout Club is an immersive sim, so it allows for players to choose their own routes and playstyles in supremely satisfying ways as we said in our review. As it's also a four-player co-op game, that means you can put together an Avengers-like squad of varied abilities, powers, and playstyles.
Like any team-based game, it's best that each player chooses a specific role for each round. Don't choose the same things your teammates choose.
If your teammates already have a stun gun and a crossbow, it's probably a good idea to take the grappling hook. Likewise, if you've already got someone on your team using the distraction power, maybe you'd be better off with the sleeper hold or the drone.
Lastly, always remember that playing in co-op awards XP multipliers by default, no matter how you fare. It'll always be more lucrative to play with others — and usually easier, too.
If The Shape Comes for You, It's Coming Only for You
As the game instructs and as we said before, The Shape arrives when too many sins have been reported. It seems about three sins will result in the invisible monster arriving relentlessly pursuing you.
However, if you're playing in co-op, take note that whoever summons The Shape by sinning is the only one it's out for. Knowing that may mean other unthreatened allies can roam free and possibly complete the mission.
If someone gets caught by The Shape, they'll do its bidding and roam the neighborhood, flashlight in hand and ready to tell on you if you're sighted.
But all is not lost: you can sneak up on your allies and awaken them from their antagonistic trance, getting them back on your team.
Our Recommended Character Build
All of these tips lead us to our final suggestion: how to build your character.
While the game smartly balances all sorts of character builds, our favorite has been the early combination of the surveillance drone and the grappling hook. Both have saved us from more jams than we can count.
The hook opens up the levels in awesome new ways, and whenever we're traveling across the ceiling support beams like it's Dishonored, we know we've made the right choice.
The ability to remotely scope out an area with the drone is huge, and the first two upgrades allow it to be a distraction device and a recording device, so you can reroute baddies when they're closing in and take your evidence photos from long range.
Leveling comes pretty slowly in The Blackout Club, so it's important you get it right early. We think focusing on the major powers branch, and particularly the drone, is much more beneficial than the minor powers. While they can award you with items from the get-go, which is nice, once you know the supply box hotspots, you can usually make do with hitting those spots first and spending your hard-earned skill points elsewhere.
Hopefully, this guide helps you get started with The Blackout Club on the right foot. For more tips and strategies, be sure to head over to our Blackout Club guides page.