I love when people ask me about Until Dawn, a game I spent the majority of the year hyped about. They ask me “What’s it about? Can you describe it?” And I respond: “It’s HORROR MOVIE:THE GAME.” They retort: “Like which?” I say “Yes.”
Simply put, UNTIL DAWN is a variation on the point ‘n click/QTE cinematic experience style games popularized by Quantic Dream, especially HEAVY RAIN. You play as an assorted cast of characters, stuck in a remote cabin in wintry Canada, who must work together if they want to survive… UNTIL DAWN.
One of the game’s strongest aspects is its superb mocap work. In particular, Hayden Panettiere’s Sam, Rami Malek’s Josh, and Peter Stormare’s enigmatic Doctor Hill.
The game also has some great looking environments and references to many iconic works of horror. Evil Dead is an obvious one, cabin in the woods and all. To assist a player in having the most tense experience possible, there are several Silent Hill: Shattered Memories-esque psychoanalysis segments that probe you to figure out which characters you would be most vulnerable to seeing bad things happen to, as well as inserting some jump scares and such that will leave you unnerved. I’m looking at you, random spider on the security camera!
As much as I want to gush about this game, it does have some flaws. Some characters seem intentionally under-written so as to make it so you are less eager to ensure they make it to the end. Others are plot-proof until the very final level, where it all comes down to how steady your hands are at holding the controller absolutely still while it vibrates. Mine, for the record, are not. I still have not gotten the perfect ending trophy because of that fact.
That being said, this game has plenty of replayability. It’s fairly short, having my first playthrough last about 10 hours-ish. I highly recommend just going into it and having fun the first time you go through, no guides or walkthroughs, especially if you love the horror genre. I consider myself a bit of an afficianado, and I still lost a few of my favorite characters by the end.
Since it’s been about a month or so since release, price has dropped, and honestly, I’d say if you can get it for 45 dollars or so, you’re getting your money’s worth.
8 out of 10 unfound corpses.