Developer Supermassive Games and publisher Sony Computer Entertainment will be officially launching Until Dawn very soon. With still some time to spare before release, you are most probably wondering whether or not this title is actually worth picking up? Well, it’s safe to say yes… if you like horror games that is.
Until Dawn begins with a group of friends spending the weekend at a remote mountain retreat; however, while things start off innocently enough, the group begins to realise they are not the only ones inhabiting the retreat. With nowhere to go, the group has to survive the night in order to escape.
Until Dawn is one of those titles that you are either going to love or hate. It essentially falls into the same line of titles like Heavy Rain, Life Is Strange and Beyond: Two Souls. Much like these titles Until Dawn offers players the opportunity to make various different choices, throughout the game, while playing as various different characters. While Heavy Rain did this rather well, Until Dawn kicks things up a notch by introducing the Butterfly Effect (the phenomenon where one small choice can change the outcome of an entire event). While I essentially thought that this was more of a gimmick than anything else, the Butterfly Effect is the one thing that makes Until Dawn the brilliant game that it is. Yes, the game features a great cast of famous actors who tend to shine more often than not, but its the Butterfly Effect that is the true star.
With the Butterfly Effect taking the lead role, Until Dawn also features another gameplay mechanic that makes this title even more intense, which comes in the form of not allowing the player to load previously failed sections of the game. This means that the player will have to live with the decisions that they make throughout the game.
More often than not, the player gets to choose one of two actions, via Quick Time Events (QTE), which tend to become a lot darker further into the game. In the beginning you are faced with choosing various paths, either left or right; however, Until Dawn starts pushing you to the limits when you are asked to either save a potential love interest, but at the same time watch as your best friend gets butchered. Do you run and hide? Or abandon an injured friend and leave them as bait? These are the decisions you will make in Until Dawn, and to be frank… they are not easy decisions to make.
While Until Dawn does feature quite a few QTE segments, the player does have the opportunity to explore the dark and cryptic world by actually controller each character. In the world there are host of collectibles, clues, and Totems to find. To avoid spoilers, Totems offer up a glimpse of the future in Until Dawn and can show the player the potential death or survival of characters, but that is all we will reveal.
Until Dawn also features a rather excessive amount of jump scares. In most titles, within this genre, these become predictable; however, Until Dawn throws them out when you least expect it. Even when you do expect it you will find yourself jumping in your chair… especially if you are playing with a set of headphones on.
To break up the gameplay a bit, Until Dawn places the player into a psychiatric session with Dr Hill, who is played by Peter Storemare. These sessions essentially draw out the player’s fears and opinions towards various characters featured throughout the game. These decisions have a subtly effect in the game. For example, your fears will be placed on the table to the left and right of the player during these sessions. Additionally, your answer’s also affect what happens through some sections of the game.
Overall, Until Dawn replicates the entire cliche cabin in the woods style horror movie perfectly. Yes, the all-star cast does deliver some rather sub-par acting at times, but this adds to the plot of the game. I mean what horror movie, featuring a group of cliche teens, has good acting anyway? To be honest, I believe that each character was portrayed perfectly.
Graphically, Until Dawn looks superb. The environment feels warm and welcoming at first; however, things tend to look more sinister the further you progress into the game. Lighting and shadows have been done in a way that they send shivers down your spine. To add to the atmosphere, each character looks like their real-world counter-part… which was great to see and experience.
While Until Dawn looks great, it also features a great musical score that really brings the game to life as well as adds to the suspense and horror that this titles aims to achieve.
In the beginning I literally thought that Until Dawn would be a monumental flop; however, after various playthroughs of the gripping 10-11 hour storyline, I believe that Sony and Supermassive games has a true gem on their hands.
Overall, Until Dawn is a must play for anyone who enjoys the survival-horror genre.
Until Dawn was reviewed by Darryl Linington