Until Dawn: Run and hide from horror
Josh Falcone – Editor-In-Chief
Step into an homage to cheesy horror movies as you decide to either run for your life or hide slyly as a masked killer attempts to end your controlled players time on this earth in the recently released PlayStation 4 exclusive Until Dawn.
In this interactive survival horror video game, the choices the player makes effects who makes it off the mountain alive and who dies a horrible death at the hands of a psychotic maniac. The player controls eight friends who have reunited on a secluded mountain in one of their parents swanky ski lodge as they mark the one year anniversary of the disappearance of two of their friends after a prank gone wrong.
In Until Dawn, if the player makes the wrong choice or says the wrong thing, the character they are controlling might not make it past the third chapter, but if the character being controlled dies, the game just switches to another of the eight characters.
This gameplay mechanic leads to a memorable experience, and offers a high replay value. The player could end the game with only two of the characters alive, while another player may end the game with all the characters alive. Until Dawn calls this the Butterfly Effect and when you make a choice that causes the story to branch off, a white butterfly effect ripples throughout the screen, letting the player know that they just made a significant decision.
Until Dawn also features three different collectible items, which when found both help keep your characters safe and also expands on the story. The game includes totems that the player can find, that when viewed show the player a future event. Totems with black outlines show that character’s death, red outlines show one of the characters in danger, yellow outlines show a positive event that the character can find themselves in. The Totems show the player future events that may befall their character but since the future is uncertain, viewing these premonitions give the player a chance to change future events by making positive decisions.
Until Dawn started out development as a PlayStation 3 Move game, where the game would have used all motion controls, but with waning interest in the Move peripheral, the development team at Supermassive Games went back to the drawing board and rewrote the story, changed the view from first person to third person, and improved the graphics to take advantage of the power of the PlayStation 4.
Until Dawn’s developers did a great job in choosing the cast for the game as they do a great job with their voice acting. The cast includes former “Heroes” actress Hayden Panettiere who lends some star power to the cast. In addition to lending their voices, the cast also was used for motion caption, and they look great. The graphics are very sharp but the motion sometimes seems off and leads to some weird instances.
Overall, Until Dawn is a solid game that is a blast to play and replay. It is surprising that Sony has not promoted the game more.
Photo Credit: Leon Terra