Before we get started. I should state that I know almost nothing about video games. Zip, nada, zilch. My brother practically forced me to play Until Dawn, and boy am I glad he did. I was lured in with a promise of gore, wendigos, and psychological horror. What I got was all of that and so much more. The plot of Until Dawn follows a group of twenty somethings that return to a cabin in Canada where their friends disappeared the year before. As they attempt to deal with their grief, and unresolved conflicts, they begin to realize they are in grave danger. They are surrounded by threats both human and supernatural. Not to mention the freezing weather that prevents them from seeking help. As they investigate further, they stumble upon an old mine and a horrifying mystery dating back to the 40s.
I’m being purposefully vague about the plot. There are several major plot twists that I didn’t expect, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Also, this is a game about choices. Every decision you make alters your fate, so everyone’s experience is different. The game keeps track of your choices, and explains to you how they relate to what occurs.
One of my favorite aspects of the game are the impromptu therapy sessions. There are interludes during which one of the characters (You can’t see which one.) is talking to a shrink played by Peter Stormare. The doctor has you analyze pictures to get to the root of your psychological problems. You’re even forced to rank your friends based on how much you like or dislike them. The sessions are nerve wracking and bizarre. Although it’s never mentioned in conversation, you’ll notice that the appointments are being held inside an abandoned house or something of the like. It comes complete with torn curtains and broken windows.
Another great thing about this game is you play as almost every character. There is a clear cut protagonist, played by Hayden Pantierre. However, you’re given equal time with each character. It’s fascinating, because they start out as bland genre tropes, and as you get to play them and make decisions for them, each one begins to feel like a real person. There were characters I started out hating and by the end I loved them. This makes it a painful experience when one of them dies. If you’re a good gamer, you’ll be able to keep all of them alive. If not, you’ll witness some violent deaths like a guy being hung on a giant meat hook.
As for the actual game play, the majority of the game is just spent walking around and collecting clues. You do get to do the occasional shooting, when you encounter a monster. If you’re a fan of mystery/horror games like Silent Hill, it’s safe to say you’ll enjoy this one. However, if you need a game where you’re constantly running, jumping, or fighting, then maybe Until Dawn isn’t for you.
Until Dawn is available exclusively for the Playstation 4. I absolutely adored it. It’s as good if not better than most of the horror movies coming out right now. It’s not easy, but it is playable for even the most inexperienced gamer. With it’s top notch writing, unique monsters, and creepy atmosphere, this is not a game to be missed.