Until Dawn Review
Decisions matter. Really, they do.
I’ll admit, it felt a little strange playing through Until Dawn in August. A horror game in which eight friends become trapped on a remote mountain getaway, stalked by a psychopathic murder, seems better fit for an October launch. For whatever reason, though, Sony saw it best fit to release their latest PS4-exclusive in the middle of August.
Developed by Supermassive Games, Until Dawn is more of an interactive adventure than an actual game. Gameplay consists mostly in the form of quicktime events, pressing the correct button or performing the appropriate action and watching the event unfold on screen. Anyone familiar with Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls -- two games which also happen to be PlayStation exclusives -- will be right at home with Until Dawn.
What makes Until Dawn unique is the notion that every decision you make, even the most seemingly trivial ones, will affect the outcome of the game. Until Dawn relies heavily on the butterfly effect, or the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. And the game certainly isn’t shy in reminding you of that. What this whole butterfly effect does is ensure that your choices carve out a unique story.
Of course, like all games of this nature, not every decision you make or action you take is a monumental one. Some choices definitely have lasting implications on the story, but others exist merely as fodder, not necessarily changing the overall story, but how you experience it. What makes Until Dawn so intriguing is that you don’t know which decisions will have a lasting impact. One wrong decision or mispress of a button could simply be a minor twist in the narrative, or it could mean the death of a character. And with only one save file for each playthrough, there’s no going back and changing your decision.