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Until Dawn Review

The are plenty of choices in Until Dawn and just as many consequences, depending on the decisions you make. One such decision I made was to turn the light off and turn up the soundbar before loading up the game and the consequence of this was that both the dog and the cat jumping out their skin as a scream bellowed from the speaker. Until Dawn is full of moments that will make you jump and despite not setting the world alight with its visuals, it certainly does its job as a horror game.

The plot reminds me of movies such as Scream, with eight teenagers partying it up in a cabin on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Often they will play pranks on each other and make you jump at the same time, before things really kick off they decide to split up, which it turns out is a rather bad decision when there is a masked madman on the loose.

During the game and in-between chapters, you'll also find yourself sitting in front of a psychiatrist, who analyses you, asking questions about what scares you about a certain picture, or  asking what chills you more - spiders or snakes, needles or gore, ghosts or zombies. When the chapter resumes, the game then knows how best to scare you, which is a pretty clever idea.

The idea of frightening you with the things you fear the most is all part of Until Dawn's biggest feature - The Butterfly Effect. This theme, which I briefly made mention of at the beginning of the review, is seen running throughout the game and basically means that any choices you make will have major consequences on future events. These choices stem throughout the entire game and given that you often don't have time to weight up the pros and cons, you'll need to make your decisions quickly. Given that you control all eight characters at various points in the game, this means that you will have a great affect on how your story pans out and it also means that no two play throughs will ever be the same.

As you make decisions and find clues, this will be flagged up on the screen and everything you do to affect future events will be recorded within the menus. Pressing R1 you'll see these actions and you'll even know when you have caused something by your decisions as the game lets you know. It all makes for a rather tense affair as you try to decide the best thing to do within the time limit, while also wondering what future event this will cause. It's impossible to know of course, but it's a fun thing to wonder about.

It's difficult to know whether you will love or hate the characters of Until Dawn. Each has their own distinct personality and each of them also seems a little creepy in their own way. Some you'll love straight from the off, while others will have you feeling a little indifferent towards them. This makes it all the more difficult when a character you've grown fond off is picked off by the masked one, leaving those you are less fond of to pick up the pieces.

Until Dawn isn't all about decision making of course, as you also have a little exploring to do. Wandering around you'll be asked to find tools in order to start a fire, unfreeze a door knob or start a boiler. You'll also be tasked with opening gates or deciding whether to kill a deer or keep it alive. In addition, there are also objects which you can pick up and examine, which in turn offer clues and warnings. These become important as you begin to string them together, so it's worth keeping an eye out for them.

Other collectables come in the form of totems, which if examined reveal the future. Totems show what can happen to character later in the game, so if found they can be a good way to inform your decisions.

Perhaps one of the best parts of Until Dawn is the controls. I love that you simply press RS left or right to make a decision and also the way the games uses the Dualshock 4's gyroscope feature, having you hold the controller extremely still while hiding from an attacker. Even moving the controller a little spells doom. It's very immersive and quite frankly, a little bit frightening too.

The only disappointment to Until Dawn is the graphics. It does seem quite obvious that this was once a PS3 game, before Sony made the wise decision that it should instead come to PS4. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the camera, which can often be tricky to manoeuvre in third person view, making it a little hard to interact with some of the items in the environment. Luckily these issues aren't exactly game breaking and are made up for by the excellent acting and the beautifully composed music, the latter of which really sends at chill down your spine at times.

Until Dawn is a game full of depth and decisions. It encourages multiple playthroughs and you'll likely oblige. It may not be a looker, but the real star here is the immersive gameplay and the way in which developer Supermassive Games have pulled it off. If you are a fan of horror/thriller games then this is one you won't want to miss. Just make sure to warn the animals to cover their ears.

Words By Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Offers plenty of choices 
+ Encourages multiple playthroughs
+ Very immersive
+ Excellent soundtrack
+ Great acting
+ Controls are brilliant 


- Graphics aren't perfect
- Camera can be annoying at times

Edited On 02 Sep, 2015

( 4 )
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 1 year ago
Really been enjoying this just finishing my second playthrough for the plat trophy
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 1 year ago
just got the plat trophy excellent game :)
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CHRISTOPHER 1 year ago
Though this was good but already platinum this
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PHILIP 1 year ago
I really want this but 3 birthdays and car tax and insurance to pay for are stopping me.... bugger it... at least I will get it a bit cheaper in a few weeks I guess.

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