Eight teenagers in a cabin in the woods at night: what could possibly go wrong?
In Sony and Super Massive’s much anticipated Playstation 4 exclusive, Until Dawn, you play as one of eight different teenagers who decide to go back to a cabin roughly a year after a tragic event. Until Dawn isn’t played like your average horror game, however. It’s akin to a Telltale game and every decision you make in the game changes the outcome.
This also means that you can choose who lives and who dies. Again, every decision comes with its own weight of consequences and even the smallest incorrect choice could end a character’s life. This is thanks to Super Massive’s new and intuitive “butterfly effect” system, which alters the game’s timeline. One issue I do have with the butterfly effect system, is that it’s exactly the same as the one Mass Effect has — except Mass Effect didn’t have a name for it (same with the telltale games). I don’t know why exactly the butterfly effect system is different from every other “pick and choose” system. I also don’t know why it’s being marketed as one of the reasons to purchase the game — for the most part it’s not something the gamer would notice.
Not only do these choices you’re given alter the story, it also changes the relationships between the characters, which also have a heavy impact on the story itself. The cast is composed of some very notable actors, which differentiates this game from most others: Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Brett Dalton (Agents of Shield), and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot). They manage to give the story a unique feel that sets it apart from other video games. It’s more like a movie. This being said, the game makes for a good play through the first time, and getting collectibles along the way adds to the “fun” factor, but the replay value is at best lackluster, and a maximum of between seven and fourteen hours of gameplay doesn’t help. The game does add further incentives to purchase a Playstation Camera for enhanced gameplay. However, the only notable feature it adds is a cheap shot where the camera records you during certain scenes you can access later and share with your friends.
Bonus, unlockable content happen to be the only real goodies you get along with it. Making-of featurettes and so on, much like those on a film’s home video release. Until Dawn is a perfect representation of well designed games in 2015. It showcases the graphical abilities of the Playstation 4 well. Even though this may be the best looking game I’ve seen in a long time, it’s still the best the game has to offer, and wanting to know what happens next is what will keep you playing. Overall, it’s a good game, but would have been better as a movie since it doesn’t offer as much control as I was hoping for. Ultimately, it’s not worth the $60 price tag, which for some can be a lot of money. Wait until they slash its price to $29.99.