I was quite lucky to spend the weekend playing my review copy of Until Dawn. A bunch of horny teenagers getting killed in horrifying ways in a cabin in the woods? What could be better? Many sites have reviewed the game, and here’s what they thought as well.
If you’re looking for horror tropes, Until Dawn has what you need. The horny teenagers stranded in an isolated location, the tragic mistake forming a haunting backstory, the masked maniac picking off his victims one by one. Supermassive Games’ spooky action-adventure practically worships at the alter of 90s and early 2000s Hollywood horror.
Until Dawn essentially takes your reactions to every teen slasher film and puts them to the test. Here, you won’t fruitlessly yell at the screen as teenagers make bad decisions. Now those choices are yours. It’s up to you to survive the night.
The beginning of Until Dawn boasts that the decisions you make during the game will craft a unique and personal story. By the time the credits rolled, I was a believer. Sure, every player follows the same narrative skeleton, and a few of the more “expendable” characters aren’t instrumental to the ending (I’d also kill for a way to fast-forward scenes on subsequent playthroughs). However, the script kept me entertained and feeling like my decisions mattered throughout my 10-hour playthrough. Thanks to some good twists, a few fake-outs, and limitless jump scares, Until Dawn would make a solid horror film. As a piece of interactive fiction, however, it’s a remarkable experience that horror fans shouldn’t miss.
Until Dawn knows exactly what it is, and doesn’t pretend to be anything more. In that process it allows for some predictable plotlines, hammy acting, and lack of meaningful choices, but I’m glad that it exists, and every horror fan owes it to themselves to play it at some point — especially at a price cut.
Until Dawn exists within a strange duality. It’s a game that’s generic while being unlike anything else I’ve ever played. It’s bad in some very evident ways, and yet I want everyone I know to try it. It’s not a great game, probably not even a good one, but it does things I want every narrative-based game going forward to learn from. I’m still fascinated by it, still planning more playthroughs for myself, still wanting to recommend it to friends. Until Dawn’s greatest mystery may be how it manages to remain compelling in spite of such huge flaws.
Until Dawn gave me plenty of scary experiences for a good couple of hours. However, it simply couldn’t maintain that fear factor for the full game and the replay elements aren’t as compelling as I’d hoped they would be. If you are keen for a heart-pounding horror game, you could do far worse than Until Dawn, even if it doesn’t fulfill its true potential.
Oh, and be sure to see my happy face before I was traumatized by the early hours of the game, when I was happily unboxing the press kit with some cat support.
Last Updated: August 25, 2015