Until Dawn Review

I finally got around to playing Until Dawn. A game that many folks had dubbed a game of the year 2015. Since my return to the world of video gaming during that same year, I wanted to try and get through all the key titles that released during that time to get a feel for where things stand.

Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time on the big RPGs; Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. Then came Life is Strange, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and a few more…

As much as the internet media moan about video games in their yearly wrap-ups, I really think it was a great year! So, it was with some excitement and some fear that I loaded up Until Dawn.

I soon realised that my status as disgraceful coward, meant that I would struggle to play on my own. So I roped in my pal Jon to join the fun.

I soon realised that my status as disgraceful coward, meant that I would struggle to play on my own. So I roped in my pal Jon to join the fun.

imageHere’s our Jon looking a little worried about the situation. We shared the duties of actually playing the game, but there really isn’t a  lot to do, game-wise. Apart from a few simple puzzles and the occasional sequence of quick time events (time based button pressing), it’s really all about making decisions that will decide the fate of the cast of eight characters.

Talking of the cast, I love how the game looks, with extremely well captured actors. The cast consists of some pretty well known faces too, Hayden Panettierre (Heroes) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) being the most recognisable of the bunch.

The only downside of some fantastic visuals, realistic characters and great lighting effects is the very poor frame-rate. The only thing that saves it is that if you play the game like watching a movie you can forgive the frame-rate as being film like… I might be too forgiving, others will find it off-putting.

So the acting/motion capture combo makes for a pretty convincing performance all round. The storyline is firmly in the realm of slasher, teen, b-movie horror, so the game’s tongue is firmly in it’s cheek for the duration. It’s only at the end that things get a bit more serious.

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Each character has a series of traits that ostensibly should help the player make decisions in tune with their personality, although this did add depth to the cast, their characters are made plainly clear from the events of the game and the detail was mainly lost on me. Perhaps in some of the key decisions this info could’ve helped me save some lives.

So the acting/motion capture combo makes for a pretty convincing performance all round. The storyline is firmly in the realm of slasher, teen, b-movie horror, so the game’s tongue is firmly in it’s cheek for the duration.

Until Dawn treads a line between the risky ‘interactive movie’ moniker and a point and click adventure with some time based puzzles and decision making. It works well enough and if you see the games mechanics as a means to manipulating the story, rather than being the core of the game, you should have a good time.

It has got me thinking about playing some more scary games, especially with a view to streaming them to get our reactions. As with all horror games, that can be the most fun part. Play it with a friend and relish the jump scares and laugh like idiots afterwards.

The real beauty of Until Dawn is in the way it distributes it’s scares. Play Five Nights at Freddie’s and you know it’s a series of jump scares. This is much, much more clever. The real scares are kept to a minimum, which keeps you in suspense for large portions of the game. Clearly the team has a love of horror games and that really shines through. A few seconds after you jump out of your seat you’re left thinking ‘well played Supermassive… Well played.’.

As we reached the climax of the game, I wanted to save everyone… Even the incredibly annoying ones. But things got a little out of control  and we made it out with only three of the eight. But maybe it wouldn’t work if nobody got slashed!

Si

MD, Editor in Chief, Editor etc etc etc of idiotgamer.co.uk Enjoys, RPGs, PES and being crap at shooters.

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