- + Your choice truly matters
- + Stunning graphics
- + Butterfly effect means tons of replay value
- - Some situations will lead to the same fate, despite your decision
Start Replay: “Classic Horror”
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Note to self: never go to a cabin in the woods. Ever.
Though the premise is cliché, focusing on a group of friends in a lonesome cabin whilst they are stalked by maniacs, still makes my spine tingle. The idea has been done to death in the movies, but introducing it to gaming has given the genre a breath of fresh air.
Until Dawn is one of the most stunning games to hit PlayStation 4. The facial expressions on each character are almost realistic and bring life to the performances captured by the game’s celebrity cast. Nearly all of those included have garnered fame through television appearances, with Hayden Panettiere (Claire from Heroes) standing out as the most prominent performer.
Gaze beyond its impressionable looks and Until Dawn presents a dynamic and ever-evolving story, wholly dependant on your actions. At various sections throughout the game you’ll be presented with different choices, most of which will decide the fate of whichever character you’re playing as at the time.
If you were given the ability to either take the safe route to save someone in peril or head down a quicker, more precarious path, which would you choose?
It’s these many moments that had me bitting my nails in suspense, especially when I was playing as someone I began to like. The very thought of messing up something as simple as a button press would often make me dread what task I had to face next. Despite events unfolding into linear gameplay, your concentration and reaction times will stay on high alert as you live in a state of constant fear.
If anything, Until Dawn is much more of an interactive movie than it is a video game. Broken into ten chapters and splitting time evenly between each character, you’re always given the chance to see events from everyone’s perspective. Having said that, if you can’t keep your group together and accidentally (or intentionally) kill everyone, then your journey is going to be a lot shorter.
As with any horror title, this story is full of twists and turns. Gameplay is constructed around fixed camera angles and carries the same spirit as the original Resident Evil. It’s old-school horror with a twist; it forgoes many expected plot points and events and brings a refreshing twist to its tale – packing quite a few surprises along the way. If you go into this knowing what to expect or that you’ve seen it before, you might be surprised.
The butterfly effect of your decisions means that it’s full to the brim with replay ability. Once I lost one of my friends in the group I instantly wanted to turn back time and save them. Choosing to act differently in a replay may save their life, but the fear of messing up again will always be at the forefront of your mind.
There’s only one thing that irked me during my play time, and that was the fact that some situations would end up with the same result, regardless of my decision. If I disagreed with someone over a certain action, I’d end up doing it anyway. This was rare, but it would have been interesting to see the outcome, should my reluctance have stopped me going down a certain path.
Until Dawn does a good job of reinventing horror in video games. With so many titles overly reliant on more action over horror, it’s refreshing to get a traditional take with jump scares and genuine tension. The fact that each life lies in your hands is unnerving, as all it takes is the wrong button press to result in a character’s grisly death. Will your choices save lives or lose them? I recommend you tread carefully and find out.
*Until Dawn was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe