Following the success of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls on the PlayStation 3, a new developer called SuperMassive Games developed Until Dawn, a new interactive survival-horror game where it promises to deliver the same thrilling-experience similar to the two games from Quantic Dream. Giving the decisions on who dies and lives in the hands of the gamer, Until Dawn gives players the freedom to alter the flow of the story and see how it will end through its “butterfly effect” feature introduced in the game. If you are one of those gamers who love watching horror movies and get mad if your favorite character makes a dumb decision and dies due to it, Until Dawn will change everything as you will have to the power to control their decisions and fate.
Until Dawn takes place in the remote wilderness of Western Canada where players will control ten friends- Sam (Hayden Panettiere), Mike, (Brett Dalton), Chris (Noah Fleiss), Matt (Jordan Fisher), Ashley (Galdriel Stineman), Jessica (Meaghan Martin), Emily (Nichole Bloom), Josh (Rami Malek), and his twin sisters Hannah and Beth – as they spend their weekend at Blackwood Mountain Ski Lodge for their annual winter getaway. The “fun weekend” they anticipated turns into a nightmare when the two sisters of Josh die after being chased off a cliff by a mysterious figure.
A year following the tragic accident, Josh invites his friends to go back to the Blackwood Mountain Ski Lodge to remember the death of his twin sisters and have their annual winter getaway as well. Just like when they were at the lodge, things don’t seem right. With a strong snowstorm brewing, something sinister is coming and it will be up to you to decide their fate. Those who are hoping that Until Dawn is a fully-fledged survival-horror game, they will be disappointed as you’ll spend most of the time watching and doing quick time events. The way the game works is similar to games like The Walking Dead by TellTale games and Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. For the most part, you will be pressing the analog stick to move the character. When an intense action sequence is set to take place, be on the lookout as quick time events are coming.
In terms of gameplay, one of the annoying things that I found is how fast the timer is in the quick time events. Due to this, I’ve had several characters die on me. For those who want to keep certain characters alive, it’s important that you do all quick time events right as their fate may lie on that specific event. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back and alter the events. Once they die, they die for the rest of the game and the only way to change it back is when you start over.
Judging the story, it’s pretty decent and horror fanatics who love a high-school horror flicks will enjoy this game. It has the typical characters you will see in a horror movie where it has a jock, a nerd, a flirt, and many more. Through the six to eight hours of gameplay of Until Dawn, you will be going through a lot of game-breaking decisions that will alter the flow of the story. Yes, it’s possible to kill all eight friends in the game and it’s possible as well for all of them to live. Not to mention if there’s a character that you want to die, you can make bad decisions and that character will die. If there’s one thing that I dislike about its story, it’s the cheap deaths the eight characters go through.
The flow of the story varies from different factors. As mentioned earlier, sometimes a life of a certain character lies on quick time events, where sometimes it will be based on decisions such as what route you took. It’s important for the players to decide right away as there are moments that these decisions are timed. For the most part, the flow of the story is altered through the clues you find, as well as totems. As you go through different areas, you will come across several shining objects. Always check them out as they might be clues or totems that can change the flow of the story. Getting as many clues in-game will increase the chance of survival and this is where the butterfly effect comes in where one change in the story will alter the future.
When it comes to visuals, I must say that Until Dawn is one of the most beautiful games I have seen. Each of the characters in the game depicts the actors perfectly. The lip syncing and movements are realistic enough to set the mood of the story. As for its environment, I must say that SuperMassive Games did a wonderful job in giving much detail to the areas that players will explore. From its lighting to the dark areas of the lodge, it’s guaranteed that Until Dawn will set the eerie, horror feel to it, not to mention the wonderful soundtrack sets the perfect tone for each scene. Those who are fond of Quantic Dream’s masterpiece, prepare to be amazed in Until Dawn.
In the end, Until Dawn, is a must have for fans of the horror-genre. The game has that formula that can give players the fright that they are looking for in a game or a movie. The game has flaws like cheap deaths, cheesy conversations, and annoying quick time events at times, but the overall experience is good enough when it comes to games like this one. From the many cinematic-storytelling genre that I’ve played in the past, I must say that Until Dawn is on the top of my list.
[Editor’s Note: Until Dawn was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Until Dawn (PS4) Review,