I was really excited when I saw Until Dawn on sale on the PSN website at Christmas time. I had this 20% off coupon also that came with my brand new PS4. The game’s regular price was $75, but I was able to get it for $39. After two days of downloading, I finally got to play!
Here’s the game synopsis from Supermassive Games:
When eight friends are trapped on a remote mountain retreat and things quickly turn sinister, they start to suspect they aren’t alone. Gripped by fear and with tensions in the group running high, you’ll be forced to make snap decisions that could mean life, or death, for everyone involved. Every choice you make in your terrifying search for answers – even the seemingly trivial ones – will carve out your own unique story.
Until Dawn is meant to be played multiple times in order to see the entire story. The player can have their playable character do a little exploration which gives the player a teeny tiny leeway to explore. Unfortunately the game is extremely linear, and the exploration might only take 1 minute. During exploration, the player will find clues and totem pole pieces which gives the player sneak peaks to solving the mysteries of Until Dawn. While it’s labeled as interactive drama and survival horror, I would add this is a mystery-solving game. There are three major categories for clues: the twins, 1952, and the mystery man. I won’t say more since I don’t want to add spoilers so soon in my review.
The game’s mechanics also contain an in-game system called the “Butterfly Effect” in which any choice of action by the player may cause unforeseen consequences later on. Players will make difficult decisions during ethical or moral dilemmas, such as sacrificing one character to save another. The Butterfly Effect system blurs the line between right and wrong decisions and it is possible for players to keep all eight characters alive as well as having all eight of them die, allowing for many different paths and scenarios as well as offering several different endings for each character. I found the Butterfly Effect a neat part to this game. When an effect took place, I would push R1 and see what changes I made to the story. During gameplay, the player gets the chance to play each character, making decisions along the way. This could be good, or annoying, especially if you like a specific character and then get switched to another less desirable character. Finally, this game reminded me a lot of Beyond: Two Souls, especially in the pause menu with the close-up of the character’s face, and the climbing prompts. But this is the only resemblance it has. With six players, there are literally hundreds of possible endings.
And now for the honest review. If you haven’t played the game but intend to, please don’t read any further as there will be some spoilers!
(Spoilers ahead)… Ok you’ve been warned…
Until Dawn claims to be of the horror genre (as well as interactive drama). My current beef is with the horror part, and that is that it is not scary. Until Dawn is disappointing as a horror game because it relies solely on jump scares to make it scary. I’ll admit I jumped once or twice in the beginning, but the “scares” became almost predictable. This game likens to a horror film that tries to be scary with jump scares and music changes, but after the second “scare” I was able to know when something would jump out and I was bored. The reason I’m disappointed in the horror is because I read a review of the game before playing it for the first time that said it was really scary. That reviewer must have been paid well. LOL. Bastard. It’s like playing a cheap horror movie. Haha. Speaking of cheap horror movie, I hate some of the characters. It’s possible to keep all of the characters alive, but when I was playing I wanted some of the characters to die. In my first run, the one character I hated the most ended up surviving and killing someone I liked. All because of my choices made through the game.
Another disappointing aspect of the game is how short it is. A full playthrough only takes 9 hours. I didn’t know when I first played that this game requires multiple playthroughs to get the full story. I realize now that with the shorter playthrough, the multiple plays and cumulative hours played would make it longer. As of today, I only played it once and I only got a small portion of the story solved so I can’t spoil that part for you. 🙂 Now that I know it’s more interactive drama and less horror, a second run will be more enjoyable. I honestly thought this game would be solved in one run, and perhaps it could with the aid of a walk through, but then what fun would that be?
Things I like about this game:
- 3 mysteries to solve
- I really liked how the right stick controlled the face and flashlight position.
Things I don’t like :
- Plays like an interactive movie
- Jump scares aren’t scary
- Short playthrough
- Not all characters are likeable, which was probably their intent.
- It’s not worth $75. If you can, buy it when it’s 50% off or more.
All in all I would say this game has potential when all the mysteries are solved. I understand game production is expensive, but I can’t justify paying full price for this game.
My rating? 6/10
Should you play this? I say yes, if you’re okay with an interactive movie-style mystery game. Don’t ruin it by watching videos of it first or reading any more reviews.
Bitchin’ Gamer Girl