The upcoming adventure survival horror from Supermassive Games plants you behind the controls of eight delightfully clichéd besties in a remote and snowy mountain getaway.
The group’s dreams of spending a fun filled week playing beer pong and swapping spit are soon shattered, however, by the realisation that a predator-esque psycho with a grudge is out to murder each and every one of them.
Graphics-wise the game looks brilliant, and features a motion-captured, star-studded cast with the likes of Hayden Panetierre (Heroes), Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) and Peter Stormare (The Big Lebowski) adding some real acting chops into the mix.
Fans of David Cage’s Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls will immediately peg that it shares more than a little of its design DNA with both of those seminal PlayStation exclusives, which is by no means a bad thing. And similarly the real beauty of Until Dawn lies in being given the power to make decisions that spark off a butterfly effect that impacts what happens to each character later on in the game.
In the hour-and-a-half demo that we played we encountered several examples such picking a different route whilst getting chased leading to the possible survival/death of a character, or deciding to push your not-quite-girlfriend into a river as a prank may ultimately quash your chances of hooking up with her later on (who would’ve thought?).
Whilst this decision making ability allows for multiple playthroughs, each with what we assume will be drastically different outcomes (we only got to play through once), we can’t help but feel there’s a chance you’ll grow accustomed to the somewhat predictable jump-scares, of which Until Dawn is absolutely riddled with.
Opening doors, gates, boxes or pretty much whatever will spring up mini quick-time events. These definitely add to the suspense, and during intense situations something as simple as opening a gate will cause you to frantically button mash to avoid getting horrifically murdered.
Even the simpler quick-time events, such as refusing to react when your friend goes for a high-five, is somewhat satisfying when you leave them hanging and is played as a welcome break in the tension.
Until Dawn features a strict auto-save feature, meaning that if your not-so-apt decision-making abilities end in an undesirable outcome, you’re kind of stuck with it.
Luckily though, a fair few of the characters seem relatively disposable thanks to their bro-happy personalities, and you may find yourself meeting untimely deaths with a simple snort and the feeling of ‘well, they kind of deserved it anyway’.
We are however quite excited for the game’s scheduled release in August. There’s something enormously satisfying (and not to mention seat-of-your-trousers scary) in being able to control almost all aspects of what essentially boils down to a playable horror film.
If nothing else, it should help reduce the instances of angrily yelling ‘why would you even do that?’ at your TV that is so prevalent in other horror mediums.