Review

Until Dawn Review

5

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_column_text css_animation=””]I love being surprised by games like Until Dawn. I, like many others, look at games like Until Dawn, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and the like with some disdain, thinking they’re a bit too cinematic and won’t be all that fun to actually play. However, as with Heavy Rain, I made that “mistake” going in not expecting much, and coming out having played one of my favorite games of this year.

This review might be a tad bit shorter than you’d expect it to be, and this is mostly because there’s so much I cannot talk about due to spoilers. Hinting at something as simple as a movie reference in Until Dawn could give away vital spoiler material, so I’m going to abstain from saying too much about the story, but rather focusing on everything surrounding it.

However, I will say that Until Dawn’s story is very good. It may be b-movie material at heart, but SuperMassive Games has crafted a very compelling mystery with Until Dawn that was hard for me to put down until I finished it. The characters all played their roles very well, with each one having a personality of their own that fit with a stereotypical character from most slasher horror movies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” parallax_enabled=”” col_height=”” css=”.vc_custom_1440048761268{margin-right: -100px !important;margin-left: -100px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_single_image image=”63454″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” scroll_hover_maxheight=”300px” scroll_hover=”” scale_hover=”” img_size=”full”][vc_text_separator title=”So Many Options…” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”sky”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_column_text]But, based on the choices you make in the game, you could easily see a totally different side of each of these characters that will make you connect with them, or sympathize with them a bit more than you normally would. Games like Until Dawn only really work if you care about the characters involved, and Until Dawn successfully achieves that goal. You will care about some characters more than others obviously as everyone’s tastes are different, but when that one character you were really rooting for is taken away, it’s pretty gutting if you ask me.

And, before you ask, everyone’s playtime with Until Dawn is going to be different due to the “Butterfly Effect” system in place, so don’t go into the game thinking you’re only going to get a certain amount of hours out of the game. You literally cannot do that with this game considering the hundreds of different choices, and key elements to the backstory you can only find by taking your time to explore the environments. You’ll will NEED to replay the game to see everything it has to offer.

You will miss entire sections of the game based on your choices, but that’s all part of the game you’re playing with Until Dawn. The Butterfly Effect system I mentioned above ties everything together.

Until Dawn gives you so many different choices to make, choices that you won’t even think to make that could significantly change the outcome of your story. Do you go left, do you go right, do you risk someone’s life for another, do you act like a complete jerk or show sympathy, do you choose option 1, 2 or maybe even an option 3 that might not be readily apparent. Some choices you think are insignificant may be incredibly significant. The only black and white options here are the ones where you choose to go right or left, and the developers did a fantastic job of putting you in life-like situations where you don’t have time to think, just choose.

30

Funnily enough, Until Dawn has made me appreciate b-horror movies a bit more than I used to. There are decisions in the game where, just like in the movies, you’ll yell at the character not to make, that you will make yourself in the game. Sometimes those choices work… other times, they do not.

As the developers have noted, you can come out of Until Dawn having everyone survived. Sadly for me I was only able to save two of the characters. The game also makes sure you can’t cheat by using an autosave system so you can’t go back and re-do things. If someone dies in Until Dawn, they’re dead. And again, that’s all I can really say about that because I’m already treading into spoiler territory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_text_separator title=”It’s Not What You Think” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”sky”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_column_text]Until Dawn surprised me in a number of ways, but the most significant one was the fact that the game gives you a bit more control than I had come to believe it would. Not as much as I’d like though, and there were some sequences that could have been made to include more gameplay elements or variety, but with the way the game was designed, everything works. There are no button-mashing quicktime events, only ones that will force you to have fast reflexes, or have you staying as still as you possibly can by holding the controller steady in suspenseful circumstances.

These events are also spaced out enough that they’re not intrusive or overused. They were used just enough to not outgrow their welcome. There are some sections later on in the game where QTEs become a bit more frequent, but even then you’re given a number of options to choose from. At the same time, some of the later sections could have probably been fleshed out a bit more and felt a little lazy, but it wasn’t nearly enough to deter my enjoyment of Until Dawn and it shouldn’t be enough to keep you away from enjoying a fantastic and very well-paced narrative experience.

As far as the overall gameplay experience goes though, if you don’t enjoy games like Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls, I can’t say that you’d enjoy Until Dawn. Although, even without the control of a game like The Evil Within or Alien: Isolation, Until Dawn is actually quite a good horror game with plenty of scares and environments that will keep the blood pumping. There are cheap jump scares that fit in with the stereotypical vibe Until Dawn goes for, but there’s also a sense of pure dread and tension in other areas.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”63452″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” scroll_hover_maxheight=”300px” scroll_hover=”” scale_hover=”” css=”.vc_custom_1440049293486{margin-right: -100px !important;margin-left: -100px !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_column_text]If you read OnlySP and know me and what kind of games I like and how easy it is to make me jump, Until Dawn fits that bill surprisingly well.

Graphically Until Dawn is an absolutely gorgeous game. Everything from the lighting, the texture work, the character models, the motion capture, is all fantastically well done and perfectly set the mood for the game. Unfortunately, I cannot deviate much from the base facts around the game looking good, as once again I’ll be travelling into spoiler territory.

I will say that the game is varied in locale, and the game’s environment feels like a real world location with secrets of its own. Walking through the woods of the mountain side is as creepy as you’d expect it to be, or going into the basement of the cabin and being afraid of the dark like when you were a kid. Until Dawn tackles every type of horror that you’ve probably had as a kid through both its environments, and other areas of your psyche.

Adding another element to the already impressive world building Until Dawn has to offer is Jason Grave’s stellar soundtrack. Each part of the game is perfectly fitted with music that adds to the atmosphere and is used just enough to build the kind of tension you want from horror games.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” gradient_background=”” full_height_enabled=”” midnight_logo=”” fixed_background_enabled=”” top_svg=”” bottom_svg=”” background_pattern=”” parallax_enabled=”” border_radius=”” col_height=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ gradient_background=”” border_radius=”” border_column=”” icon_size=”64px” icon_color=”#666″ icon_position=”fa-bg-center-center”][vc_column_text]I also had no notable performance issues with the game. I don’t recall any frame drops, or any major graphical issues aside from a small pop-in here or there. There were no game breaking bugs in my playthrough, no characters getting stuck on objects, or button prompts not working. Until Dawn is definitely a polished game and it is readily apparent that SuperMassive Games put a lot of love into making Until Dawn the best experience it could be.Review Screen_4 (EMBARGO 24AUG)

In every interview I’ve read with SuperMassive Games, they’ve been pretty nervous about how the game would be received by the general public outside of preview events and their development office. Until Dawn may not be what you’d consider a gamey game, but if you’ve played through games like TellTale’s The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls or the stellar Life is Strange, then Until Dawn is just another expansion of that increasingly popular genre of games.

The amount of things that can happen in Until Dawn is immense, and pretty much guarantees you’ll want to play the game more than once to discover everything it has to offer. It’s one thing to play a game like The Walking Dead and only have a number of choices to make to advance the story forward, but Until Dawn says to hell with that and literally lets you craft your own story with very real consequences at every turn.

Until Dawn is a game that on the outside looks like a generic horror game based on simple A or B choices and cheap scares, but it’s much more than that and I’m betting if you take a chance with Until Dawn you’ll be just as surprised as I was with the quality of the game. The narrative is gripping, the graphics gorgeous and the weight of your choices will always be present while playing the game.

Until Dawn is the next step forward in the genre of cinematic choice based storytelling.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Nick Calandra
OnlySP founder and former site owner.

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5 Comments

  1. Wow, awesome review! This is a game I am really looking forward to but I was kind of bracing myself for bad reviews. It’s great to hear that you liked the game. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading it, really appreciate it!

  2. This game has been flying very low on my radar. I knew about it, but mainly because my friend who’s a horror movie nut was excited for it. Looks like I might need to bump it up a bit higher up the buy-list!

  3. It’s nice that there’s a new game that’s good and isn’t a remaster.

  4. Can’t wait to play this. It doesn’t come out till Friday in the UK :(

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