Until Dawn: Game Review (PS4)

Until Dawn image

I’m gonna get this out of the way.  Until Dawn is very fun to play.  It may have its flaws,  but I can’t stop enjoying myself from playing it. Here’s the best part,  I hate horror movies so bad because I don’t like the scare factor or jumpscares that are plenty for the horror junkies (medical reasons.  Cough). And here I am,  laughing like an idiot when those moments happen.

A year after the disappearance of twin sisters at a mysterious cabin on the hill,  8 high school students get back together for a reunion at the request of Josh,  the brother of the twins. Upon their arrival,  weird things begin happening to them and it’s up to you as the player to try and get all 8 of them alive (it’s possible).  Or not.

Run saja.

The game’s basic premise is to give you the director’s seat of a B movie grade horror slasher flick. Complete with corny cheesy lines that you can expect from those kind of movies. Based on what you do with all 8 characters,  they live or die,  despite how they will emerge at the end of the game.

Why I find this game so fun is how great it feels to be in the directors seat.
You have total control of who lives and who dies. In words,  this won’t feel much. But this power is best demonstrated in a room full of people showing them how you want the fates of the characters to be like. Hate Jessica as much as I do? Let her get abducted and then walk as slowly as you can to try and save her. The same concept can be applied to other characters as well like, leading them to weird kind of areas that are bound to give you something to be afraid of.

And boy the jump scares are funny.

The game employs common jumpscares that you can expect. And when they do happen, I can’t believe how I feel rewarded for guessing them right. In fact, characters that I have invested in that I want them dead in specific moments,  feels satisfying as heck! I agree it’s psychotic that I want these people to live or die,  but that’s the beauty of the directors seat!

Another interesting option in the game is that it wants to know what you are scared off.  Based on what are you afraid of,  the game will change its surrounding and effects based on what you have chosen.  If you are afraid of gore, there will be tons of blood and guts ready to be spilled.  But if say you hate needles,  it will keep showing u pointy objects. It’s a very nice feat in my opinion and slightly enhances the fear factor. The much talked about “Butterfly Effect” is a good way of branching storylines that depending on the choices you make, changes how the ending of the character can be (whether lives or dies, with cloth or not). This may take some of the thrill of not being able to back track in the game away, but makes every choice a lot more of interesting to decide on.


Your favorite psychiatric doctor!

Technically, I can’t avoid complaining about the frame rate. This game is gorgeous, but the frame rate dips are a bother. In fact, there are moments in the game that i felt could have been improved, like shorter explorations that gets me to the next scene. Walking faster doesn’t seem that fast either. Controls, whether motion or stick based, could use more polish as well. Animations are… a hit and miss. Sometimes, the motion capture is good. Other times, they look like they were made in the 90s. Some facial expressions are even scarier than the jumpscares!

Conclusion

It’s weird for me to say that this is a great party game for you to play. But when I was younger, I remember being a part of Resident Evil 2 playthrough party, and the screams coming from everyone were euphoric. Until Dawn has been succesful in giving me that good old feeling of a good horror game, despite its immediate flaws. Remember, play with a room full of people, lights off, and let the fun filled horror begin!

For Against
Hydra is in this game (Brett Dalton) Controls need more polish.
Jumpscares are fun to anticipate Framerate issues.
Butterfly effect changes the scenes properly and adequately.  Mocap is scarier than the jumpscares.
Directors seat. THEY LIVE OR THEY DIE.

Final Score: 8.0/10
Review was done using a final retail copy of the game. Get the game at http://kyosgamemart.com/collections/frontpage/products/ps4-until-dawn-r3!

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