NEED TO KNOW

Rating
85

Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Genre: Adventure, Choices Matter.
Developer: Supermassive Games.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Game Size: 48GB
Average Duration: 8-12 hours
Official Site: Official site.

Until Dawn, brought to us by Supermassive games, (published by Sony Interactive Entertainment) is one of those games that doesn’t easily fit into any one niche. It is an interactive survival/adventure game, but it’s also a horror, so it ticks the right boxes for a lot of gamers.

It’s one of the best games for utilizing “the butterfly effect” gameplay model where decisions you make in the first 10 minutes of playing could lead to consequences later in the game. Add to the mix the creepy feel and some “tongue in cheek” choices you are forced to make, and it’s easy to see why it’s been nominated for so many awards and why we thought it’s definitely worth giving you the lowdown and this great game.

It’s also worth mentioning that you might notice a few familiar faces in the game such as Hayden Panettiere & Rami Malek. This is because the CGI and voice-acting was actually performed by real actors and actresses, which makes the game feel that much more intense as the performances are terrific throughout.

Until Dawn Trailer:

Storyline

The story starts with seven friends meeting up for a winter getaway in Blackwood Pine Lodge, located in the Canadian Rockies, in Alberta, Canada. One of the girls in the group is tricked into embarrassing herself in front of the others, which causes her to run away into the forest, followed by her twin sister. In a sinister twist, the pair is hunted down by an unknown assailant, who pursues them to a cliff where they both fall to their deaths and are never seen again. Or do they?

Fast forward a year and the group are invited back to the lodge. Eight teenagers, away from civilization, in a lodge up a mountain. What could go wrong? The perfect scenario for a horror story, and when they argue and split up into smaller groups, we now have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Especially with the unknown stranger lurking.

The plot turns and twists. Are both twins really dead? Is the stranger friend or foe, and who are the Wendigo? Most importantly, you get to influence the story.

Gameplay

Until Dawn can be played multiple times with each game evolving into a different storyline depending on the decisions you make in the game. The game uses a system called the “Butterfly Effect” which pretty much means that the decisions you make at any specific point can have unforeseen consequences at a later time.

This kind of model is great because it makes a game much more realistic. There is not one right way to ultimately reach the end of the game, and the game has added depth by often leading players to make ethical and moral decisions, which results in various characters dying. The reality is, depending on the decisions you make, the game can be completed with no characters dying or all the players. The line between right and wrong is a lot more blurred. Supermassive Games boast of the game having hundreds of different endings.

It’s not the kind of game you can cheat and “restart” from the last saved position either; the autosave makes that near impossible, so you’ll have to restart the game from the beginning if that’s how you like to get through a game. But it matters less because there are far fewer bad decisions, you’ll just have to follow a different path.

As a mystery/exploration game, clues play a major role in putting the mystery together to finish the game. The game has a nice system to keep progress of all the clues and secrets you gather so you can track them in-game, which makes it a lot easier to piece the puzzle together.

Visuals

until dawn review

One of the big positives for users are the visuals and feel of the game. Many gamers, who don’t even love the horror niche, find themselves drawn to the game for the visuals and atmosphere of the gaming experience which takes the game to another level.

First off, you get that the old-fashioned, point-and-click adventure that we’ve grown to love but with fresh, modern graphics and Hollywood production values. There is an indie feel to the game, which is likely thanks to the influence of indie horror authors Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick, who were consulted when the script was being created.

But, it’s not just one component that stands out, it’s how they’ve skillfully blended the components to deliver a draw dropping final result. The script and storyline have enough of the cliched horror story for purists, but with unexpected twists that keep the gamer surprised and creeped out. The motion-capture technology is as good as anything else found in games right now (some say better), and the voice actors include well known Hollywood actors such as Hayden Panettiere and Peter Stormare.

Is It Worth it

The short answer is Yes, it’s definitely worth it.

It helps if you like mystery/adventure games, or you like games that a scary, but a lot of other gamers are likely to want to play this game for its production value and visuals alone.

No game is perfect; there’s always room for improvement. You have to buy into the spirit of the game. A good gamer can complete the entire game in 7 hours, but there are hundreds of endings, and playing it again could give you a different set of challenges and ultimately, the goal is to complete the game with all eight characters alive. However, if you are the type of player who lives to finish the game, as a one-off, and then move on to the next game, you might feel shortchanged after 7 hours, and you’re finished.

It starts a little slow, but that’s because it likes to suck you in, so that by the time dawn is just about to break your heart will be racing. The butterfly effect model adds another dimension to the game, as do the little twists along the way which are waiting for you to stumble across.

You might also want to check out our ‘Top 5’ Games Like Until Dawn Article.

All in all and everything said and done, your life will have been better for sitting down and playing this game. We fully recommend it.