Saturday, June 15, 2024

Until Dawn is a Horror Take on Life is Strange

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It is Spooktober, the best time to find a horror game and play it for all of your viewers, or just for your own enjoyment. This Spooktober, I chose Until Dawn, a choose your path, sort of thriller. It is a ps4 exclusive, so sorry for anyone that doesn’t own the console. (It was one of the games I received for Playstation plus a while back, so it was an easy choice when I looked for a horror game to stream.) In this game, you are able to play as all the characters presented and you get to feel out all of their personalities. The premise is: you spend the night at a friend’s family ski resort to escape the stress of everyday life, but it seems like someone has other plans for you. Since you decide what choices the characters make, your survival is dependent on whether or not you can foresee the best option.

My take on the game was that it was a horror take on Life is Strange. The two games couldn’t be any more far apart, but the playstyle is the same. Until Dawn trains you to be able to make quick decisions, since a lot of the decisions have a time limit. The timed button inputs were probably the most heart-racing part of the game since you could die from a wrong button input.

As if the game wasn’t interactive enough, there were times when you had to stay still in order to avoid something. I failed 99 percent of those because remote play doesn’t really give you that much wiggle room to those ps4 features. Basically, I lost a few people because this feature didn’t work for me. I know it sounds like I am making an excuse for failures in the game, but it is the utmost truth to my experience playing.

While running for your life, you are also trying to uncover the truth behind a few mysteries presented in front of you. It is kind of weird searching around a room when you could die in the next few moments. See, I called it a thriller and I stand by that because this game messes with your nerves while you play. This game is autosave only, which means if you make a mistake, there is no going back, well, not until you beat the game. This game isn’t necessarily a scare fest, but when you know death is around the corner, any kind of jump scare can make the bravest of women scream.

I regret actually screaming on stream while playing this game, but truthfully, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It tested my wits and made me rethink how games and movies of the like use their jump scares. Yes, I did say the jump scares were predictable, but it still spooked me even though I was ready for it. While playing, it’s easy to imagine that you, the player, are actually there in these moments. You try to be as immersed as you can be and that is your downfall. Just finding a few clues will change your playthrough because now characters have something to share with the rest of the team. It made me think, “What would happen if I didn’t find this clue? Would I have died earlier because of my lack of knowledge, or would I have been better off not knowing it because I wouldn’t have expected it?”

There are so many unknown variables in this game, and I would like to know all of them. But, like all games, it’s better to replay this after a good long wait. I am not saying there isn’t immediate replayablity, but a thriller-horror game isn’t really as scary or as thrilling the second time around. You are expecting certain jump scares more often than not, and you already know where to look for certain things. Being wiser in these sorts of games takes away from the fun. The only way to have fun a second time is to forgot some of your knowledge and try to replay it a little better. I know that sounds weird since you usually play a game a second time to 100 percent it, but, for me, replaying Until Dawn means I just want to save more people.

See, I don’t believe this is a spoiler, but I only saved one person in end game. The motion controls were the end of me at the end sadly. I had a quick laugh at the fact that the one person I didn’t want to save ended up surviving. In my opinion, there were only one or two redeemable characters. A lot of the characters were driven by emotions that fit the situation but didn’t really make them look good in any light. A bunch of the choices weren’t decisions I would have made, which sucked since you only had two options to choose from at any given time. That kind of took me out the game at times, since I didn’t relate to any of a particular character’s choices. I also don’t know anybody with these character traits in real life, so again, it didn’t feel all that true to life.

However, even as I say all that, I still had fun playing Until Dawn, because it actually challenged me in a non-frustrating way. All in all, definitely worth a play, and a replay or two once you’ve gotten over the tension.

I hope you enjoy your Spooktober and find something you enjoy that spooks you. Why not try Until Dawn while you’re at it?

Featured Image Courtesy of Supermassive Games

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