Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
A group of friends meet in a secluded cabin a year after the disappearance of the hosts sisters. All is not as it seems so who will survive Until Dawn? Sounds like the tag line for a cheesy horror movie doesn’t it? Well you would be mostly right but there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.
There is always one sleeper hit of the year and for my money Until Dawn takes that title. First unveiled as a PlayStation Move game on PS3 and then shown as a PS4 game, it’s fair to say that there wasn’t much riding on the success of this game. Hell, even Sony were surprised by how well it did. For me, Until Dawn is one of the best games I’ve played this year.
The game plays similarly to Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls but don’t let that put you off. You take control over each member of the party and get to make decisions as to how the story unfolds. During the game there are various choices that will determine who lives and who dies. These are signified by a butterfly appearing in the corner of the screen. You can find totems which give you a vision of a possible future which makes you question the decisions you are faced with. There are also quick time events but again, don’t let that put you off as they can be thrilling especially when running from whatever is stalking you.
With any good horror movie the tension builds slowly and like my favourite horror movies, it’s about what you don’t see that can really put you on edge. Don’t get me wrong, there is some gore in the game but there isn’t an over reliance on it to shock the player and it serves the story rather than to gross you out.
It’s fair to say that the graphics in the game are absolutely astonishing and some of the best I’ve seen on the PS4. The facial animations and environments are often stunning. The music and sound effects are also fantastic and really suit the tone of the game.
One of the triumphs of the game which Supermassive Games have achieved so well is the script and acting. Hayden Panettiere and Peter Stormare are possibly the most high profile members of the cast but they all do a great job. Trust me, you will have your favourite characters and some that you can’t wait to see die but that is down to the acting and story telling. I’ve read that all 8 characters can survive but I only managed to get three to safety in my first play-through.
I’d love to play Until Dawn with someone who knows absolutely nothing about it just to see their reaction. In fact if you have a PlayStation camera it will record your reactions to some of the more prominent jump scares.
Until Dawn manages to take influences from movies such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and create a great game. You can say it’s almost like being in an interactive horror movie. There is also plenty of replayability factor if only to see if you can get a different outcome. Sony have been criticised for their first party line up of games feeling a bit light, but this is definitely a PS4 exclusive that you should play, especially if you are a fan of the horror genre.
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and The Same Coin)