Until Dawn is the new Sony exclusive developed by Supermassive Games. Until Dawn is part Interactive Drama, which I’m a big fan of, from playing Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, plus its part survival horror which I really detest. I was worried before hand on whether I’d be able to play and enjoy the game but all fears were put aside with a very interesting opening and premise, controls that are easy to use and a combination of genres that worked very well together.
Your Choices Make a Difference
Until Dawn revolves around 8 different and very diverse characters, we are slowly introduced in the first hour to 4 males and 4 females. These friends get together to meet up on a remote mountain a year after some tragic events happened to their group on the very exact mountain. So your left wondering why did everyone come back, what was the purpose of bringing everyone back to the same location an exact year after, but most importantly want happened on that fatally night one year ago. Throughout the course of the game, you get to control all 8 characters some you get to control for much longer periods than others depending on what’s happening in the game, and dependent on some of the choices you make and whether or not you let a character die. That’s right, your characters can die and the game will continue without them. It’s possible to get all 8 characters to the end of the game, as well as getting all 8 killed before the end credits. This is where the replay value comes to the game as you can get another one or two play-through from start to finish to try out all the dialogue and choice options, and you can even carefully pretend to be the director of the game and determine what happens and who dies once you know the plot.
Bring a coat its going to be cold.
A Game of Two Halves
Until Dawn starts off with the prologue which takes place a year before the current events, the prologue is used to get you accustom to the controls and how the game plays. The prologue sets up the premise for the rest of the game, Until Dawn’s first 1-2 hours start off really slow and some may find it painfully slow and boring, but the game has good reason for its slow start as the game has to slowly introduce 8 character to you, that all have different personalities and traits. The game does a great job of making these character’s believable and real. This is especially true thanks to some great acting which helps cover up some strange and cheesy lines in the script, and some stellar performances from Hayden Panettiere as Sam, Brett Dalton as Mike and Rami Malek as Josh to name the best of the bunch. Until Dawn is at its very best during the first half of the game, Playing the game at home in the right setting, on a quiet dark night, alone with the lights off and headphones on feels as if you are in the very game itself. That’s Until Dawn’s strongest positive its immersion, never have I been so absorbed and invested in a game before fearing for the safety of the characters as if they were people I knew myself. The game has superb sound and lighting effects which help bring the atmosphere to life, each step I made walking in the dark shadows I feared it could be my last this is especially true when the music starts to get louder and more intense leaving you with an uneasy feeling whilst playing. There’s two types of control schemes you can choose from, motion controls or traditional, I opted with motion controls and it made my experience so much more enjoyable and tense, they work and have been implemented very well helping you feel more in the game.
Peek-a-Boo! I See You!
Until Dawn does a fantastic job of making you feel uncomfortable and very vulnerable, you can’t pick up just everything and use it as a weapon, there’s no inventory or food supplies the only protection you have is yourself and a few key items you may or may not find. That’s why exploring the game is worthwhile, You’ll often be alone or with one other friend during the game. Most the time you’ll be walking around trying to figure where you need to go next, searching for clues that help fill you in on the back story and events and you’ll be looking for totems that give you a small glimpse into the future so you can try to mess around with the butterfly effect getting different outcomes. Until Dawn is very linear but it doesn’t feel that way as you get to go to different environments with different characters on the mountain. Is the game scary? Yes in certain ways, but that’s more to do with the great atmosphere, sound and lighting. Most the scares are cheap jump scares, but they will have you jumping all the way throughout the game, that said it starts to get a little predictable towards the end. The camera angles in Until Dawn played a fantastic role in making the game seem like a teen slasher movie, It felt like I was watching a movie at times and I wouldn’t be surprised if showed to a non gamer if they asked if it was a latest movie that’s just came out.
Until Dawn isn’t a prefect game, but its worth a play-though or two, The 10 hours may seem short on paper but the way things turned for the worse in the second half, any longer and the game would have out stayed its welcome. The game is beautiful to look at and play, just want you’d expect from a Sony exclusive. A dodgy second half unfortunately let’s the game down, after you make it over half way into the game after a few plot twists have been revealed. The game takes a completely new direction that doesn’t suit the game, the pace now changes and it no longer feels like your playing the same Until Dawn that you was playing mere hours before. The game is broken up in chapters and just before a new chapter starts your greeted to a TV show like recap of the main events that’s been happening. Also there to break up the game are the weird and strange Dr Hill scenes that i found distracting and pointless. The actor is great during these scenes but they make little sense an don’t move the plot forward, luckily they don’t last very long and last no more than 5 minutes