Until Dawn PS4 Review

Until Dawn caught my attention the second I heard its premise: an 80's horror film-inspired video game, in which all of your choices have real consequences. I really didn't want this to disappoint me... and it didn't. I'm happy to tell you that this game lives up to the hype, and it is one of the best experiences I've had this year.

While it is vastly different, Until Dawn feels similar to a TellTale game, with better graphics and a more complex choice system. So if you're into games like The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, you'll love this game. However, small details and aspects of Until Dawn make it feel like an original game.

First off, this game is absolutely gorgeous. At the end of the day, it might be PlayStation 4's best looking game. Faces, clothes, hair, weather effects and environments look stunning. Lighting and particle effects look crisp. It is extremely important for horror games to look as sharp as possible, and Until Dawn absolutely delivers in the graphics department.

Something that really helped the game is that the developer (Supermassive Games) payed attention to every detail. Small ones like environments being rich and full of elements that make them feel real. Every house, cabin and abandoned site has pictures, furniture and other details that fit, making everything come to life. Sound effects are also great. Music, noises and voice acting are top notch.

However, attention was especially put in the details that make this game feel unlike any other adventure game. Until Dawn uses a unique choice system, rightfully titled The Butterfly Effect. I love how complex it is. You being nice to a random dog might save your life later on. It's also appreciated that the game gives you instant feedback on the decision you've made, and the consequences they might have. During my first playthrough, 4 of my characters survived. On my second one, only 2 made it out alive.

Another welcomed addition is the analyst. This "psychologist" asks you questions at the end of each chapter (there are 10 chapters in the game). Depending on your answers, the game will add specific concepts so the experience is as scary as possible. I love how the game attempts to make each player tackle his/her fears.

Until Dawn is heavily inspired by 80's horror movies, so we get the usual horror plot and characters. While some reviewers thought the whole thing was silly, I enjoyed it. We got a fun, varied cast with specific gimmicks. The hot girl, the nerdy guy with glasses, the sports guy, etc. Truth be told, some of the characters were complex, with multiple emotional layers.

The story is a big part of the game. It might not be the greatest story ever told, but it was interesting enough for me to be invested during my entire playthrough. I wanted to know who was after me, and what was happening. It was pleasing to see that the game didn't start with big jump scares. The first two or three chapters were all about the build up, and then things got real. While you're playing, you can also find clues across the game that tell you side stories about the characters and the world. For the most part, story is good but some issues hold it back from being great.

Until Dawn biggest flaw is the fact the the story is not cohesive.  I have no problem with a game having a story that's not completely logical, but I do have a problem with it losing focus. About 75% through the game, the story takes a major turn that changes the pace and narrative. It doesn't kill the game or anything, but it adds an element to the story that affect its realism. Also, you play as 8 different characters. But some of them don't get enough time for me to actually care about their safety. One of my characters disappeared halfway through the game and didn't show up until the end. I almost forgot about him, and I didn't care if he was going to live or not (which is not ideal).

Other than that, there are some other small issues. Movement feels a bit heavy and non responsive. Even if most of the game's action comes by quick time events, walking feels clunky at times. Also, some people will feel that the game is not scary enough. There were definitely dozens of moments that made me jump out of my seat, but there was no big scare that made me want to stop playing. While it was an ideal experience for me, the BIGGEST fans of the genre might feel disappointed.

Verdict: Until Dawn may be the most unique experience I've had this year. It's original, scary, beautiful and action packed. Add the fact that attention was clearly put into every detail, and you have an amazing game. Even if some issues hold it back from greatness, it's still a must play in my book.

The Good
- Your decisions matter
- Stunning Graphics
- Unique
- The Analyst
- Fun, Varied Cast

The Bad
- Story's not cohesive
- Unresponsive Movement

Score: 8.5/10

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