Since I’m new to the PS4 I figured I would grab a couple of Greatest Hits exclusives that were easy on the budget, one of which was Until Dawn. For the uninitiated, you don’t “play” much of it. It’s a story-driven game where you control members of a teenage group of friends straight out of an ’80s slasher flick. Throughout the game you’ll make a lot of choices, all of which might branch the story out in a different direction. The goal is to evade the killer who is roaming the grounds of the cabin where everyone is staying and try to keep as many characters alive as possible. It’s a pretty good choice for this time of year too, with its creepy, mysterious premise that allows for a lot of scares and gore if you’re not careful.
I’ve played for 2-3 hours, and the game is decent fun. The character models are a little stiff, but after coming off of Spider-Man and Uncharted 4 (which we’ll get into at some point) it’s a bit unfair to knock this game too much for that. Otherwise the graphics are pretty great in my opinion, and contribute to the atmosphere, which is enhanced if you have a pair of headphones. I don’t particularly like any of the characters at all, so that’s a little detracting. Most of them fit the snobby, jerk-ish type, and the handful that don’t are pretty bland. The plot seems pretty lengthy though, as it doesn’t seem like I’m anywhere near done. I mention this even at 2-3 hours of play time because the game is designed for you to play more than once, and to try to do better each time. You will also find clues that give you pieces of the killer’s backstory, as well as items that will show you premonitions that may or may not come true depending on your choices.
I don’t enjoy “walking simulators” hardly at all, but I wouldn’t classify Until Dawn as such. One could make the argument, but where walking simulators tend to be a glorified movie with added button presses, Until Dawn is a good-looking choose your own adventure. They don’t feel the same to me, which explains why I’m actually enjoying this game, at least more or less. It remains to be seen how much I’ll keep at it though. After I finish the story, I will be interested to see if the game gives me any incentives to play through again aside from just making different choices. The cut scenes that wrap around the actual choices can be a little long, often with no real consequence. Also, the game is REALLY heavy on jump scares. Just about every scare is a god damn jump scare. I admit that I’m easily spooked by scary games, and even I was getting bored of them.
I’ve definitely had some characters die already, and in horrible fashion no less, so the idea of playing again in order to keep more people alive is interesting to me. I think the game will have to find new ways to entice me though. This is a fun, spooky experience that can at least hold you over until your next big purchase, and maybe it’ll be something I play just once in awhile to see if I can do better than the last go round.