Hello everyone! Today for my BirthMay post I’m doing a video game review of Until Dawn!
This is my third annual BirthMay! What is BirthMay, you ask? Well I blog every day in May because it’s my birth month! I started BirthMay in 2017 and did it again in 2018 so I knew I had to do it again this year.
Now this is a little different than what I usually do. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a video game except maybe small reviews on my Lively post and one mobile game app review I’ve done. This is exciting!
I’ve wanted to play Until Dawn since it’s release, even including it on a list I wrote of video games I want to play two years ago. I remember watching a ton of YouTubers play through the game since it seemed so fun. As a result, I did know the story already and what actions led to which consequences for the most part, but it is different playing yourself.
Until Dawn is a game by Supermassive Games and was released in 2015. This is a Playstation 4 exclusive so I couldn’t play it until I bought a PS4 late last year, hence why I had to settle for watching others play it on YouTube or Twitch. Apparently it wasn’t expected to do as well as it did but did end up winning various gaming awards that year. Since the game is a little on the older side I won’t say I’m necessarily going to avoid all spoilers but I’ll still try not to give any of the really big things away.
The game is a suspense/mystery sort of game with quite a few jump scares. For gameplay, Until Dawn uses a lot a quick time events or easy motions of the controller to either successfully or unsuccessfully complete an action. The path the playable characters can take is very linear, where there is only one right way forward and while they are doing the limited amount of exploring they can there is plenty of opportunity for a bit of sleuthing to try and understand what is happening in the story. It reminds me a lot of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, two games I’ve played before by Quantic Dream. I do like these types of games because they’re very story driven and feel more like movies with all the cutscenes.
The game opens on ten teenagers on a winter trip to the mountain lodge owned by one of the families. After a prank goes wrong we play as one of the characters chasing after her twin in the woods as the intro to the game mechanics. Ultimately the twins go missing and the game opens up a year later.
The remaining eight teens arrive at the mountain lodge on the anniversary of the disappearance. We get to play as each of the eight teens at various parts of the story and the goal is to help them survive until dawn, when help can arrive. Each hour until the rescue is a “chapter” and the game saves on it’s own as you go, so if you make a decision you regret, you either have to restart or suck it up and keep going. The game developers really drill into your head that every action has a consequence due to the “butterfly effect”. Whether it’s from missing too many quick time events, picking dialogue, or missing items you can pick up, everything has a consequence. Usually they’re immediate and clear but sometimes they come back chapters later. The group tends to split up a lot so you go through multiple story lines before each chapter ends.
Honestly, I love the story. It’s full of all the typical horror movie or teen movie tropes in terms of relationships, characters, and so on. Plus, it’s always different based on how you play. I have played through it completely once and then replayed a big portion of it once because I accidentally killed one character and really wanted to have them all survive. I might play once more but since I do know what most choices influence it does make it a little less suspenseful so I do wish I could play a game like this without knowing what the choices will lead to. Based on the decisions you make you can either strengthen relationships and attributes of each character or worsen them which then leads to different cutscenes. If a character is killed it will really alter the story as the character will, of course, not be playable or present in later chapters. You can either save all the characters, kill all the characters, or have any combination in between so there’s many different endings you could have.
It’s a lot of fun to get through the game though, especially since it can be so different! Some of the lines are pretty cheesy or just funny and the locations are so incredibly designed. I really enjoyed the game and I can see how much incredible work went into it. I would recommend this game and personally found it more enjoyable when I was able to play through it all in two sittings. It’s so much better when you’re able to immerse yourself in the story and play through it in as little as possible. I’ve Googled to see how long it takes and have seen anything from 5 hours to 12 hours because of how many different choices and how they affect the story. I’m sure mine was a little on the higher end because I did try to explore and get all the collectables (I ended up missing a handful anyway) so it took awhile. I did see the average is about 10 hours so I’m guessing that’s close to where I ended up!
So did the game live up to the expectations? I would say so! Would I recommend it? Yes, I would! It’s a great game and I really enjoyed that journey.
Let me know if you’ve played Until Dawn or if you want me to do more video game reviews! I’ve been trying to play more games since I’m done with school. It’s fun to catch up on them finally.
Thanks for reading!
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