If you keep up with the video game world then you may have heard about Until Dawn. The much anticipated game developed by Supermassive Games was originally slated for a 2013 release but delays held it back until just last month. The single-player PS4 exclusive is categorized as a "interactive drama survival horror" and has been getting very positive reviews thus far. Personally, I have played the game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Every once and a while I like to play a game that makes me jump out of my seat. If you're like me you might want to keep a light on and not be alone in the room while playing. Still not convinced you should play? Here are 4 reasons that might make you want to try the game out:
1. The Plot
The game starts with a group of ten teenage friends at a lodge for their annual trip to Mount Washington. While drinking and having fun some of the friends decide to play a prank on one of the girls. The girl is humiliated so she runs out of the cabin into the woods as her twin sister chases after her. Without giving too much away, the two sisters presumably disappear without a trace. A year later their brother (one of the ten friends) invites the other seven to come back to the mountain to keep the tradition going in memory of the the girls. The friends, still full of questions, and some remorse, all agree to the annual getaway. The trip quickly goes downhill as one might expect with a plot surrounding a group of teenagers alone in the woods. The group realizes they are trapped on the mountain with their lives being threatened by some sort of mysterious killer. If you are a horror movie fan, you will get a kick out of all the cliches thrown into this game. You have a cabin in the woods, creepy stalker camera angles, Ouija boards, and much more that I wouldn't want to spoil.
2. The Characters
The characters are important to the gameplay because they each have distinct personalities and roles. Their relationships with one another also play a key part in the decision making process throughout the game. Some of the characters may look familiar (likeness and voice) but here is a brief rundown of them all:
- Hannah - ran out of the cabin after being pranked, disappeared along with her sister.
- Beth - Hannah's twin sister.
- Josh (Rami Malek) - the twins' older brother, very complex, having a hard time with his sisters' disappearance, recently stopped taking his meds.
- Sam (Hayden Panettiere) - very close with Hannah, did not partake in prank, considerate, adventurous, calm in a crisis, most likable character.
- Mike (Brett Dalton) - good looking ladies man, cocky, narcissistic, brave, dating Jessica, previously dated Emily.
- Jessica - dating Mike, trusting, confident but a little immature.
- Emily - currently dating Matt, previously dated Mike and may still have feelings, witty, causes drama, the mean girl of the group.
- Matt - dating Emily, very whipped in the relationship, the good guy and athlete of the group.
- Ashley - jumpy and nervous, the academic.
- Chris - has a crush on Ashley, protective, the goofy one.
As you can see there are typical teenage stereotypes thrown in the group but it is fun to see how they play out and change. There might be few other characters but you can find them out on your own....
3. The Butterfly Effect
Until Dawn relies heavily on the concept of the butterfly effect, a theory that suggests that a change or decision at the time can largely affect the outcome of a specific linear path in the future. Within the game, you cycle through the eight characters controlling their movements and essentially their minds. You get to make the important decisions which could cause repercussions immediately or down the road. The choices you make could alter that specific character's story line and affect their relationships within the group. You will have moral dilemmas while choosing and probably struggle with right and wrong. You decide their fate so you can try to be their savior or make it so nobody makes it alive in the end.
4. The Gameplay
Visually, the game looks great. The setting is very detailed and it is cool to see some well-known actors play the characters. Sometimes their facial expressions are a bit odd but hey, not everything can be perfect. As I said before, the game is single-player and involves quick time events. The QTEs might come up very fast so be prepared or you might cause your favorite character to die (sorry Hayden!). The majority of the game allows you to explore the area and look for clues in the twins' disappearance with only a flashlight or lighter in hand. Be sure to pick up and inspect every clue! The camera angles are definitely horror movie inspired at times with angles and music that purposely makes you think something is about to happen. Since you have the power to control the characters, your choices ultimately decide who survives. The options are sometimes tough considering how you don't know how it will affect you later on in the game so you may not get the outcome you want. The game is only about 9-10 hours long and is meant to be played multiple times which is intriguing to someone who may want to experiment in the butterfly effect scenarios.
Bonus - Only read if you want to know more about the killer antagonist!
The game includes Native American folklore which can be found in the area of Washington. Along with the hidden clues, characters can also find pieces of totem poles that will give you hints about their fate. Later in the game, the threat on the mountain is revealed to be that of a Wendigo. The legend of the supernatural creature claims that someone who eats human flesh will be possessed by an evil spirit and turn into a horrifying creature. The scenario certainly plays out on this particular area based on clues you will find. The creatures can be killed with fire but guns will only slow them down. They stop hunting at dawn so the group has to survive until then, hence the game's title.
Until Dawn was released worldwide on August 25th so buy it, borrow it from a friend, rent it, whatever but just remember it is a PS4 exclusive!
For our next Moviepilot Magazine, it's all about fear. So we're polling our readers to find out what terrifies them. You can help by answering the question below!