Until Dawn is a horror game about a group of teens who meet up once again at a lodge owned by one of them one year after the disappearance of two of their friends. But many horrors haunt the teens and test their will, sanity, and loyalty to each other. Every situation is changed based on your previous choices, and whether or not some of teens like each other, or even kill each other is based on your previous choices. Also along the way, you meet a very strange man known as Dr. Hill, who is a psychiatrist helping out someone else by giving you random choices, like what is more scary between two different pictures. Also, the office Dr. Hill is in changes depending on the choices you make with him.
Even though the plot for Until Dawn is very cliche, it being about horny teens in a log cabin, I felt the cliche story was refreshing. The classic horror setting is being abandoned more and more, and seeing it revitalized in its own way was great. Throughout the game, your play as one of eight teens who went back to the cabin(some were not there a year ago), and each teen was great. Not only do teens look fantastic, as for the teens' face models were incredible and look very much like the actual actors, but the acting was fantastic too. Not only that, the teens had their own personalities, and depending on their personality would show in their feelings towards each other. One of them was a jokester, one was a pissy ex, one was the slightly strange one and so one. It's cliche, but I still felt playing with these characters was fun. To expand on that, the game has these status bars for each teen not only for their own qualities like charm, honesty, and others, but also for how strong their friendship is with each other. Depending on your choices with each character, both the qualities bars and the friendship bars will shift, which will impact future events. Knowing these two different things was great, as for it deepened the relationships between each character and made the characters react differently depending on what happened to the others. I felt that the characters, although cliche, were still fun to play with. I talk a lot about the changing of future events, and that is where I come to a definite strong point of the game, and that is the butterfly effect mechanic. The Butterfly Effect states that one small change can lead to a larger effect in the future. Having this mechanic in the game is great, as for the game can be tailored to the way you want to play and allows for a lot of replayability. In Until Dawn, your decisions really do matter, as for even getting in arguments can lead to whether they try to save each other or not. Since I can't really spoil the game as for the outcome of the game is dependent on you, I will say there was one part where I had to choose as one of the characters(Chris) whether to kill myself or another character(Ash). I chose to kill Ash, but then found out the gun was filled with blanks. Later on in the game, Chris was in a situation, and Ash was the only one to help, but she didn't help him because of that earlier choice. It was moments like these that made the game great and makes me wanting to go back and see how many I can try to save or kill. Also, their are collectibles that give a second long glimpse at what might happen in the near future which I felt as a challenge to obtain or avoid. It made me feel like I have more of a choice, as for it showed me a possible future, and I felt that I can choose whether or not I want to follow that path.
One extra positive I want to talk about are the quick time events. Most of the quick time events are very fast, which I liked it being fast because it made the action feel that much harder, which it should, as for you are just teens scared for your life and not parkour experts. Also, time doesn't freeze right before you're about to trip over a rock. Time only freezes at moments that are too fast for anyone to react to.
The ultimate question is whether or not this game is scary. That is a subjective question, as for there is always a person who screams at the slightest of things, and there is always a person who never gets scared from anything. I am more towards not being scared, and even though this game isn't giving me nightmares, this game still made me jump a lot, even at the expected points of jump scares. Add on to this a dark, horror like environment of a lodge, sanatorium, and mines which haven't been touched since the 50s, and you got yourself a pretty scary horror game.
All games have cons to them, and this one is no exceptions. Fortunately, the bad parts of this game are so few and minute, that they have no impact on this review. But I still feel that it should be mentioned. For starters, the game didn't run at a smooth 60 fps. I know that it's a ps4, but I still feel that game that are newer should be at a constant 60 fps the entire game. When this game did run at 60, it felt great. But when it dipped, I felt it pulled me from being in the situation to just me playing a video game. The one other problem I found was with the butterfly effect. It's not the mechanic itself, but how much the game mentions it. I think there has been no game that has pushed harder than this game to say that they have a new mechanic in there game. Even one of the conversations between two characters was about the butterfly effect. I know this sounds like a really dumb thing to talk about,but when every single decision you make is followed by butterflies exploding in the top corner of your screen, it gets really annoying and worth mentioning.
Here is my final verdict; Until Dawn is a fantastic horror game with a great story, fantastic acting, great jump scares, and a lot of replayability. The only flaws I could find were very small and didn't deter from my overall experience in the game. A horror game like this is incredibly rare to find and will still be incredibly rare in the future. If you own a ps4, then this game is one that you must pick up as for it is not only the best horror game I have played, but one of the best horror games you can get for any system.