Survival Horror meets Interactive Drama in this thrilling masterpiece.
For multiple generations of the PlayStation the Interactive Drama genre was monopolized by pioneering developer Quantic Dream but between the Indie Developer revolution on the PlayStation Store and the hardware capabilities of the PlayStation 4 the company had much more competition. One of the largest competitors was Supermassive Games, who developed the masterful, Until Dawn.
Until Dawn is an Interactive Drama / Survival Horror game that was released in 2015. The game plays out very cinematically and relies only on button prompts during action sequences putting more emphasis on giving the player control of what direction the story goes.
Each character’s statistics and their relationship’s with one another are fluid and change often making for more interesting and complex interactions as the game progresses. Sometimes even leading to a character not helping another one out in a fatal situation. Nearly every decision has a devastating consequence.
“Nearly every decision has a devastating consequence.”
The game begins at a house party thrown at a secluded lodge up in the mountains. A couple of mean girls decide to play a little prank on a sweet and naive girl named Hannah by luring her to her crush’s room with the expectation of a romantic exploit. But soon Hannah realized that it’s a setup as four of the other guests are hiding in the room laughing at her. Dejected, embarrassed and heartbroken Hannah flees her shame and runs out of the lodge. The group gives chase trying to apologize garnering the attention of her twin sister who rips them all up for being assholes and follows her sister into the woods.
Things quickly get out of hand, terror ensues and the ladies go missing. Now it’s one year later and their brother asks his friends to come back for old times sake despite his sisters still missing and presumed dead somewhere in the area.
The entire game plays out like a camp slasher film and it’s a joy. In fact, there are very few things not to love about this game. Minor detractions for it’s heavy character models, making the controls feel a bit too “tank” at times and although innovative I wasn’t a huge fan of the “Don’t Move” sequences utilizing the PlayStation’s Sixaxis Motion Detection for particularly tense moments. Fans of the game online have also lamented this feature for its “bugginess”.
But other then those minor gripes the script is witty, the characters captivating and it remains true to its Grindhouse-esque vision throughout. The visuals are stunning and the gameplay addicting (utilizing “The Analyst” in between sequences of gameplay who seems to be the game trying to make sense of your motives). The replayability is through the roof as well, as there seems to be dozens of different endings and scenarios. It’s not an expensive title at the time of this writing and I highly recommend it for fans of horror, film and FMV games.
Overall: 96% (PLATINUM)