Sunday, July 3, 2016

Game Review: Until Dawn



Eight teenagers decide to have a party in a lodge, exactly one year after two of their friends died after a prank had gone wrong. Does this sound like the most cliche thing in the world? That's because it is, and the creators admit that is intentional. Despite this set-up though, Until Dawn is in my top ten horror games to play, because a lot of other things-characters, voice actors, graphics, jump scares-have been done to perfection. 

This is not a game that would appeal to the gamer who wants to spend time mashing the controller, as this is essentially one giant cut-scene you cannot skip, with quick-time events deciding who will survive until dawn. All the characters can certainly die in this game, but a few key ones can only die at certain points (despite what the game will have you believe) in order to keep the plot going towards the end. There are also a few 'wandering around and searching' areas between the cutscenes, some of which can go for a really long time and slow down the pacing, particuarily involving Mike's scenes in the sanitorium.

Despite this, the gameplay is tense, especially if the player wants to try and keep everyone alive, with one wrong move ending in disaster. I found one character in particular (Matt) who died for the most BS reason imaginable. I hate to sterotype here, but others have pointed out that since he is 'the black guy in a horror game', he is literally the hardest to keep alive. The player will typically play this game twice-one to keep everyone alive, and again to see how fast they can kill off everyone.

For the characters that do survive, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see them grow and develop as their situation becomes apparent. Mike starts out as the stereotypical jock, but soon develops into a leader who charges headfirst into dangerous decisions. Emily starts out as 'the bitch' character but has a few later scenes trapped in a mine where the player might end up rooting for her. And did I mention that the graphics are pretty? Because they are.



FINAL GRADE: 3.5 out of 5. Despite the cliche beginning, the plot will keep people guessing, at least for a while. The game also psychoanalyzes you between chapters, and some of your decisions will impact things later in the game, similiar to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Unfortunately the replay value will likely not be more than once or twice. Having the ability to skip the cutscenes after the player has won the game would have helped with this. 

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