Until Dawn Review

Slasher Horror Done Right

So today I am going to be reviewing the video game Until Dawn by Supermassive Games. This game is a multiple choice horror game that sets itself apart by basing its story off cliché horror elements. The game focuses on eight teenagers who decide to return to their friend’s dad’s mountain resort, one year on from the disappearance of two of their friends. These eight characters are all playable in the game and include Sam, Josh, Mike, Emily, Ashley, Chris, Matt, and Jessica.

All the characters have relationships with each other that can be altered throughout the game depending on the player's input. This is a really cool feature as it provides the gamer with an experience that is both dynamic and highly immersive, making them feel more involved with every twist and turn throughout the game.

This game draws parallels with Quantic Dream’s sci-fi thriller Beyond: Two Souls which is one of my all time favourite games even though it was heavily criticised. Like Until Dawn, its gameplay bases itself on narrative involvement and immersiveness, features that originally attracted me to the game. Since the release of Until Dawn, I have played it frequently, either alone or with friends and I have watched it played several times by various YouTubers. Even now, it still gives me the same enjoyment as it did on my initial play-through.

The game also adds a unique element of player responsibility and culpability in relation to the characters as each of them may live or die according to the player's actions. This knowledge keeps you constantly on alert which just adds to the immersion. The only criticism I could have for this game is that they overemphasized how good their “butterfly effect” system was. This system means that every action you make shapes the stories’ narrative. This may seem like a brilliant idea at first, however, after watching the game played multiple times by multiple different gamers, it becomes very clear that the story does not change quite as much as we are led to believe.

This problem can however, be easily ignored if you just sit back and enjoy the compelling experience this game gives you. Many have complained about the lack of skill-based gameplay, but I would argue that this is how the game is supposed to be enjoyed. If you are looking for a game full of skill based button bashing then this game may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a good slasher movie, then this game may be right up your (Elm) street.

To describe this game as an interactive movie would be to undermine its quality. This game’s movie-like qualities and ease of gameplay allow it to be enjoyed by those who are not necessarily regular gamers. Having played Beyond: Two Souls and Until Dawn with people who had never played games at all, they really appeared to enjoy both of these. In my (obviously biased) opinion, games like these will always have the edge over movies as their inter-activeness immerses you in the story in a way that movies can not.

Until Dawn provides us with much of the history of the area and the events which took place there. I feel, therefore, that a prequel rather than a sequel would be an exciting idea as it would bring new life to the stories touched upon in the original. This, unfortunately, would take many years to make, which is rather frustrating, as I would really love to once again immerse myself in the eerily beautiful setting of this game.

In conclusion, this game has to be one of my favourites simply for its story and characters and how it managed to surprise everyone on its release by how good it actually was and how well it captured a typical horror movie. If fault is to be found, it lies in the lack of diversity of its butterfly effect feature which is not all it promised to be. However, if more gaming companies take a page out of this game's book, then the gaming industry is going to have a very bright future indeed. So, since for the most part , his game captured what it was trying to do ever so well I’ve decided to give it:

83/100

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Until Dawn Review