Lucien’s Review: Until Dawn

Until DawnIn case my gushing about how much I am enjoying Life is Strange hasn’t informed you, I love games where my choices matter.  That’s something that I will always enjoy.  A game that does it well is something I am utterly infatuated with.  It’s part of why I am so nervous about the last act to Life is Strange.  Games that do it poorly piss me off.  When I heard about this game, it was just before it came out.  Then, all my friends tell me – play this game, bro!  So, I go to Gamestop, and they were out.  But then I went to Fred Meyer’s, and I got a copy.  I brought it home, put it in my PS4, and now I can safely say – I’m in love with this game!  This year has had some sleeper success stories.  It’s been a slow year, and I’m glad to say that even though it’s slow, what we’re getting is quality stuff.  Let’s talk about this game.

When I say that your choices matter, they really do.  And this game is NOT subtle about reminding you.  There are several instances in the beginning of the game that throw in your face – YOUR CHOICES MATTER!  Thankfully, the lack of subtlety feels right.  Early on in this game, there is nothing subtle, and thank the Spirits for that.  I love the lack of subtlety.  To put it simply – this game puts you in the driver’s seat of a teen slasher flick.  That’s the best way to describe it.  This is a teen slasher movie, and you have total control over the narrative.  Remember all the times that you said, “man, if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t have done any of that!”  Now you get to see what you learned from horror films.  Hopefully you were a good student, because now your skills are going to be put to the test.

After a dark event, the full details of which I won’t say because it is a bit of a spoiler, seven friends are gathered at a mountain retreat, a full year after a tragic event in their past.  It’s an attempt to put the past behind them, fix the bonds of friendship that have been tearing them apart, and have some sexy fun.  However, all is not as it seems when they are being hunted.  By whom?  Why?  Well, if you play your cards right, you can find out.  Play them wrong, and you find out just how quickly this game will fuck you up.

If you’re gonna have a teen slasher flick, you gotta have teens who are stereotypical and annoying.  This game has that in spades!  If you thought that the dialogue in Life is Strange was bad at times, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  The dialogue in this game can be bad in ways you can’t imagine, but don’t worry.  This was totally intentional, and I love it.  However, because you control the events of this game, how annoying, stupid, or derpy these characters are is up to you.  You shape the relationships of this game, and since the voice acting is done well (once the plot gets rolling), you care about these characters by the end.  Who lives and dies does become a hard choice, and you WILL get stuck in positions where you have to make those choices.  These are fun characters, and part of that fun is cultivating the relationships and making these characters grow in unique ways.

The next thing that I absolutely love about this game is its atmosphere.  Oh my god, this game looks great!  From the way that the jeans hug the perfect ass of the blonde, to the scenery of the environment, this game looks phenomenal.  It isn’t like the visuals in Bloodborne, but it still has so much depth.  Plus, it takes its time to get you sucked in.  When this game wants to shine, it truly does.  For a good horror film, you need the right atmosphere.  It’s clear that the people who made this game took the time to watch as many slasher flicks as they could, and I am so grateful.  There were moments that made me think of Evil Dead (the original, not that shit-bird remake.  Fuck that movie) or Cabin in the Woods.  Given that this game is meant to be a derivative of teen slasher films, that fits.

Then there is the horror elements.  It’s a teen slasher flick, you need a good slasher.  This is just awesome.  The voice acting the presence.  I have been gripping my controller for hours.  Why did I decide to play this game at night?  In the dark?  Alone?  Is there something wrong with me?  Doesn’t help that there is a party going on across the way at the apartment complex next to mine.  The shouting into the night of drunk people is freaking me out.

I love this game.  With the multiple endings, I guarantee you that you will not finish the game the same way twice in a row.  It is the kind of game that almost demands multiple playthroughs.  Some of the mistakes that you can make are ones that aren’t connected to choices.  There are quick-time events that can just as easily affect who lives or dies.  But the really crazy thing is that sometimes this game puts you in a situation where you can choose to do nothing, and that’s a totally valid choice.  It’s crazy.  Then there are times when the game tells you to freeze.  You can’t move anything.  Not even your controller.  So many options!  So much to do!  Gathering clues, learning, surviving.  It’s a blast!  What sick bastard thought of this game?!  I love them.

Oh yeah, and get this – Peter Stormare is in this!  My friend told me that, and I’m like, “Oh, so does he play some cooky or creepy character?”  He’s like, “Nope.  You’re gonna love this.  He’s in the game just to fuck with you – the player.”  I have no singular reason why they decided to have this element in there, but it’s awesome.  It sounds like Stormare had loads of fun with this role.  Hayden Panettierre is also in here, looking hot as ever.  Haven’t seen her in anything since Heroes

Compelling mystery, derivation on the teen slasher genre, lots of choices, lots of endings, if this sounds like your think – buy this game!  Buy it now!  You probably already have bought it, so I am talking to no one.  Everybody may be gushing about Metal Gear Solid V (a game I have no intention of playing, sorry), but this is the game of my fall.  If this sounds like what you want to play, then do it.  Trust me, you haven’t played anything like this before.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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One thought on “Lucien’s Review: Until Dawn

  1. Pingback: SIONL: My Perspective on Replayability | Lucien Maverick's Blog

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