Upon finishing Thanksgiving dinner with my family I decided to brave the Black Friday madness. After checking out new game releases along with older used game deals, I stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. At a low price of $19.99, Until Dawn, an interactive drama-survival-horror-adventure game, is certain to get your blood pumping, heart racing and mind thinking. Developed by Supermassive Games and published exclusively by Sony Computer Entertainment for the Playstation 4, Until Dawn utilizes some of the highest quality graphics I have ever seen. The storyline, gameplay type and decision-making matrix makes this game one of a kind. Featuring a star studded cast including Hayden Panettiere, Brett Dalton and Rami Malek, this game is full of twists, turns and surprises. Overall: (96/100)
- Sam (Hayden Panettiere)
- Mike (Brett Dalton)
- Chris (Noah Fleiss)
- Josh Washington (Rami Malek)
- Ashley (Galadriel Stineman)
- Emily (Nichole Bloom)
- Jessica (Meaghan Martin)
- Matt (Jordan Fisher)
- Dr. Hill (Peter Stormare)
- The Stranger (Larry Fessenden)
The gameplay in Until Dawn is similar to Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. There are 10 total episodes to play through with the entire story taking approximately 10 hours to play in total. Until Dawn was designed with the intention that you cannot possibly see all of the content in a single play-through. The storyline operates on the premise of the “butterfly effect,” meaning that every decision you make may contribute to unforeseen consequences later on. For example, if you choose to leave an item in episode one, you might not have it when you need it in episode five.
Each character is fitted with a gauge to measure their social standing with other characters in the game as well as their overall characteristics. These gauges are effected by the decisions you make in dialogue and quick action sequences. Choosing to be rude to another character could result in your standing with that character to go down. However, with that decision to be rude, another character could appreciate it and it might end up being a more favorable outcome; most of these decisions are based on moral or ethical dilemmas. There are many different combinations of outcomes based on which characters are alive at the end of the game. The only knock I have against the gameplay is the lack of consistency in playing style. Occasionally, you make the decision to do something good but only to find out that something bad happens to you.
There is also another variable in the way the game operates; obtaining totems throughout the game reveals a quick view of what the future might hold. Clues found in the game piece together the past as well as clue the player in to what’s going on around them.
The gameplay in this game is completely unique and makes the player feel like they’re in charge of a horror film. This is a great game for a group of people to pass around a controller or to have one person play and the rest sit back and watch the movie. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes an adrenaline pumping and entertaining game that they can play over and over again.
Graphics and Visuals: (98/100)
As far as graphics were concerned, there were many doubts about Until Dawn. The game utilizes a modified version of the Killzone Shadowfall engine. Even though it isn’t a full-fledged action game, it does use a significant amount of processing power that the Playstation 4 is capable of. Needless to say, the game utilizes 30 frames per second and still has a cinematic feel to every action sequence. Until Dawn has some of the best detail I have ever seen in a game; life-like movements and facial emotions are clearly seen in the rendering of the game. Even in the live action sequences, where the user moves the character around, looks real. The weather, surroundings and foliage are all equally realistic and life-like.
The amount of detail they put into the graphics of this game sucks the user into the game itself. Developing emotions, feelings and compassion for the characters in the game generally happens after a while. Seeing real actors playing roles within the game also makes it more realistic. Just make sure that you save the cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) in order to save the world. The only issue that I have with the graphics is how they rendered the dog. At some point in the game you will stumble across a dog, and the animal in question was not made to be very life-like. Although it isn’t a big part of the story, I think they could have done a better job. All poorly rendered dogs aside, I believe that Until Dawn has absolutely spectacular lighting, color and artistic design.