Until Dawn brings new aspect of fear

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BY SOPHIE COOK
s.co[email protected]

The new big title realease of Until Dawn is a cinematic horror story exclusive to Sony’s PS4 that brings drama, raging teenage hormones, suspense and cringe worthy dialogue. At first glance, this game appears to be the cliche, teen slasher story we’ve all seen in movies before. After playing it however, I would argue it is in fact much more than that.

Now, it’s no secret that Until Dawn borrows plenty of tropes and mechanics from games like Heavy Rain or The Walking Dead, where in which your choices will affect the way your game plays out, but the developers of UD have taken this concept to a whole new level.

Before the story even begins, the player is introduced to the “Butterfly effect” which most of us are already familiar with, that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. And that’s precisely what this game is all about. Players jump into the lives of eight teenagers returning to a cabin in snowy British Columbia a year after the disappearance (and presumed death) of their friends Hannah and Beth.

The teens decide to reunite at the cabin to celebrate the lives of the ones they’ve lost and to find closure.

With its almost nine hours of gameplay, the game definitely takes its time to introduce you to the all the characters, including some familiar faces, such as Hayden Panettiere from Heroes, who plays Sam, and Brett Dalton from S.H.I.E.L.D, who plays Mike.

Due to the extensive character development, it doesn’t take long for the player to decide who they want to keep alive, and who they’re ok with losing (I’m looking at you, Emily).

The only problem I had with the characters was they were so cliche and stereotypical, it was almost like they were designed to make me hate them.

Toward the end of the game, however, I had grown so attached to them that I found myself going to great lengths to try and keep them alive, even the ones I didn’t like.

To me, the true horror of this game, aside from the abundance of jumpscares, is the fact that it plays on your own personal fears.

In between chapters of your story, you are psychoanalyzed by a doctor (played by Peter Stormare) who asks you a series of questions relating to your biggest fears. Most of the questions consist of choosing one or the other, for example; Clowns or Scarecrows (I chose clowns), and the game will adjust slightly based off of your answer.

UD forces you to confront some of your worst fears, and that to me is scarier than any potential psycho murderer.

Choice is the real hook of this game. You as the player are in control of all choices, big or small, that the characters make. More than half of those choices are ones that you have only a few seconds to decide on.

Fast decision making combined with the near overuse of quick time events means you have no choice but to act on pure instinct and your fight or flight response, (and your ability to push a button really fast).

The catch is, you can’t replay any of the chapters until you’ve finished your game, so there are no second chances.

The player is forced to live and deal with the consequences of their actions, and that is what makes this game so irritating yet so realistic and therefore appealing. UD offers thousands of play paths and hundreds of possible endings. This is a game intended to be played more than once, and I highly recommend you do so.

Sit in a dark room, wear some headphones and immerse yourself. This, like many other games, is the best way to get the full experience that you want from a game like this one.