until dawn

Until Dawn – Game Review

I was so intrigued by Until Dawn, the game even made it to my “Upcoming Games I’m Excited For” post I made almost two months ago. I held off buying it for a few weeks, as I had a friend coming to stay at the end of September and we’d planned to play it together. No shame in trying to save a few bucks on a new release!

As a lover of a good old slasher horror flick, Until Dawn did not let me down. It was incredibly cliché; a group of teenagers staying in a log cabin on a mountain, with a mix of teenage dramas, crushes, and couples that will take their chances against death for a quickie. Slap on a bit of paranormal activity and a psychotic killer on the loose, and you’ve got me hooked. It was a nice blend of Evil Dead, The Cabin in the Woods, and Scream.

The visuals were incredible, something Supermassive Games really deserve all the praise for (and I’m hoping they win all the awards!). I strongly suggest that you watch the behind the scenes videos, they’re a bonus with the game but I’m assuming they’re available online now. They show how the actors performed the whole game on a sound stage, in their fancy CGI morph suits with cameras attached to their heads to capture all of their facial movements. The only letdown is that it’s a short video, I would really have loved a more detailed documentary showing the process from “Stage to Screen.”

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Now, onto the gameplay. Until Dawn is advertised as being “designed to be played multiple times,” but I’m afraid to say that the game is only fun to play through twice. Any more than that and it’s far too repetitive, with no skip button for the long cinematic scenes. I’ve played it five times now (I’m a shameless trophy hunter. FIGHT ME.) and I’m ready to put the game to rest. There isn’t enough variety to keep seeking out new ways to change the story.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game, the first playthrough with my friend was a bloody good time. Watching someone else’s decisions, having little arguments about said decisions, judging each other for failing the Quick Time Events, then discovering the big plot twist, it’s a really fun game to play the first time through with a gaming buddy.

During my second playthrough, which was on my own, I took a bit more time with the game. I found all the collectibles, which piece-by-piece unlocks a video about the lore and history of the mountain, the suspicious mining accident, and the creatures inhabiting the mines. I also changed a lot of my previous decisions, completely changing the outcome of the game. Like I previously said, the first two playthroughs are brilliant and I cannot fault them.

My favourite collectibles were the Totems. Depending on their colour, they would show you character deaths, and any upcoming dangers or fortunes you may come across. The scenes are re-playable, so they were interesting to play back during the game to see if any of the premonitions may be coming up. It was a nice twist to the usual collectibles in games, which sometimes don’t add much to how you play.

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One of the biggest downfalls of Until Dawn is the lack of multiple save slots. Your first playthrough is your main save, and once you’ve played the game you can play again from whatever episode you choose (you have to play all the episodes from that point on to make a change to the outcome in the end). The biggest flaw in that is a character potentially dies in an early chapter. If they died on your first play, then you need to play from that early chapter every time to try and keep them alive. It’d be nice if there were at the very least two save slots, one to keep said character alive and the other one where they die.

If you’re not a fan of games with Quick Time Events, then I’m sorry but this game is pretty much built on them. Personally I don’t mind them, they can make me feel a bit anxious (I’m an Anxious Annie..), but I think it adds to the feel of the game. You’re being chased by a killer – you’re gonna be feeling a bit antsy.

In addition to the Quick Time Events, there’s also the use of the DualShock 4 controller’s gyroscope feature. In situations where you’re hiding, you’ll be told to keep still. And I mean keep still. The tiniest of movements will trigger the attacker, and in some situations can lead to a character’s death. I ended up holding my breath and resting the controller on my stomach to avoid my hands betraying me and going into spasm out of sheer stress.

At first I found the controls a bit difficult, they reminded me of old school Resident Evil (I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what I mean!), where the right toggle didn’t really have much control of your camera movements. After a while I got used to it, however it was a bit daunting walking towards the camera and not knowing what you were walking towards until the camera angle changed. I wonder whether they decided on these controls as a nod to the classic horror game.

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Overall, I really enjoyed the game, but got a bit tired of it after a few replays. However I won’t let my greediness in replaying for trophies spoil the fun I initially had playing it. I paid £38 for a new copy a few weeks after release, which may seem steep for some people, but considering I’ve raked in almost 40 hours playing it, I’d say I’ve got my money’s worth.

– AmyGames

Twitter: @littleamyhere

Upcoming Games I’m Excited For

September is literally on our doorstep, which means we’re closing in on the end of 2015. How terrifying is that?! 2015 has been a pretty damn good year for games, with quite a few big titles already released: Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, Dying Light (which I’m currently playing), Mortal Kombat X, Batman: Arkham Knight, the list goes on. With four months of the year left, here are the last few soon-to-be-released titles I’m excited for:

– Mad Max (release date 4th September 2015)

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I bloody loved the latest Mad Max movie, but what surprised me is that they didn’t release the game in line with the movie release. It’s been almost four months since the movie was in the cinema, but perhaps the extra waiting time has got me even more eager to get driving on Fury Road. The interesting twist to this game is it’s actually not a direct tie-in to the latest Mad Max movie, it was supposed to be a tie-in with an animated Mad Max film. Either way, fans of the old or new Mad Max franchise are sure to get a buzz out of this game, I’m just hoping it lives up to the hype it’s created.

– Until Dawn (release date 25th August 2015)

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This definitely feels like my kind of game. Until Dawn is an adventure survival horror, where any action you choose for your character will cause consequences later on in the game. According to the game developers, Supermassive Games, Until Dawn can be replayed multiple times, as each run through will contain new content depending on your decisions. I’m not sure how many times I could replay a game just to experience the story from different angles each time, but I’m definitely interested in trying this one out.

– Rise of the Tomb Raider (release date 10th November 2015)

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I’ve been excited to play this game for a loooong time. I absolutely loved the first reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise (although the ending was a bit poop), and as I’ve mentioned quite a few times in previous blogs (and if you check out my Twitter header photo..) Lara is my girl. I’m really hoping it doesn’t disappoint second time round. The one thing I’m disappointed about is that I have to play it on my Xbox 360 when it’s initially out, as the game won’t be released on PS4 until late 2016. I can’t complain as I still get to play the game, but I won’t get to enjoy it in super crisp graphics unless I wait another year. I don’t want to wait!

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (release date 6th November 2015)

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For a franchise that pushes out pretty much the exact same game every year, they still get my money every time. I haven’t even completed the campaign for Advanced Warfare, yet I’m still eager to play Black Ops 3. New maps, new guns, new zombies – with Jeff Goldblum voicing a character – yes, you heard me, JEFF GOLDBLUM. Now take my money, Treyarch!

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Oof.

 – Uncharted 4 (release date 9th March 2016)

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I’m slightly cheating with this one as it’s not released until 2016, but it’s early 2016 so shh. Not only am I excited for Uncharted 4, I’m eager to get my hands on Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (release date 9th October 2015) as I’ve never played any of the Uncharted games before! My PS4 is the first Playstation I’ve owned since the original PS1 (besides my stepbrothers bringing round their PS2 every so often), so I’m thrilled to be able to play the Uncharted games finally! Considering how much I enjoy the Tomb Raider franchise, I’m expecting Drake to be my kinda guy.

So, are there any upcoming games you’re eager to play? Let me know! Gotta love a good recommendation 😀

– AmyGames

Twitter: https://twitter.com/littleamyhere