Chiller Choices

Warning : This game contains hot girls in Leather Jackets and Yoga Pants.

Until Dawn (one of the latest PlayStation 4 exclusive titles, which was actually first developed as a PlayStation Move title) may present itself as a horror movie reminiscent of the 1980’s, but there’s much, much more going on behind the scenes. I don’t want to go into much detail since the game is so new, so just know that it features a winter lodge, teenage drama (even though all the actors and actresses are older), mysteries, clues, and a ton of jump scares.  The gameplay is very much like a Quantic Dream (Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain, Beyond : Two Souls) or Telltale (The Walking Dead, Wolf Among Us) title, but it’s actually made by Supermassive Games. The player controls a group of 8 characters and, ultimately, controls their fate. Until Dawn is based around the Butterfly Effect; all of your choices have consequences that weave within the entire storyline. This new PlayStation 4 exclusive title features voice and motion capture work performed by Hayden Panettiere, Peter Stormare, and Rami Malek, among others.

It would have been great if Until Dawn and the Uncharted Collection switched dates; the former is the perfect game to play during the scariest month of the year. However, I’m just glad there’s a fresh new PlayStation 4 exclusive out to play. And boy is it a good one. In fact, it’s damn good.

As stated earlier, Until Dawn is built around the choices the player makes. This results in a very high replayability factor, as essentially everyone’s game could be played differently. Going back and making different decisions than you did before opens the story up to all sorts of new possibilities. Until Dawn features a fully functioning decision system. Some decisions require split-second responsiveness, and are quite drastic to the story. There are many games that include player choices, but more often than not, those choices don’t really alter the game in any way. Until Dawn really flipped the switch on this. The choices you make in Until Dawn are drastic, and they will affect everything.

Until Dawn is a very cinematic game. The controls are simple; the left stick controls the character’s movement, the right stick controls any items within the character’s hands (sources of light, weapons, etc…) as well as choosing between decisions, and the the rest of the buttons (triangle, circle, square, and R2) are used for QTE’s.

After each chapter (and when you resume the game from where you left off last time), the game will show what happened in the previous chapters based on the choices that you made. There’s also a creepy psychiatrist who prompts you to pick which things scare you, how honest or charitable you are, and which characters you prefer. This changes the game to really make it a unique experience; unique to the person playing.  These doctor visits become more and more strange and grotesque as the game goes on.

Until Dawn marks my 30th Platinum Trophy. It wasn’t very difficult, but it was extremely fun. The Platinum requires saving the entire group, killing the entire group, some character-related trophies, and collectables. The collectables really are essential in Until Dawn, as each item collected adds one more piece to the final puzzle and gives the story a lot of extra weight. Some collectables are even so crucial that they determine whether a certain character lives or dies.

Until Dawn is the quintessential “horror movie game”. It’s full of great scares that will have even the hardcore horror fans jumping. I consider myself a hardcore horror fan, and no lie – this game almost gave me a heart attack. It’s the perfect game to play with a group of friends with the lights off, and just let them make their own decisions. It’s a pretty cool party game in that aspect. To put it simply : Until Dawn is the best horror movie I’ve seen in years. When Uncharted was delayed from what could have been a perfect Fall 2015 release, I was worried. Thankfully, it appears that Until Dawn, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Tearaway Unfolded, The Uncharted Collection, countless Indies, and multi-platform titles will keep PlayStation strong throughout the Fall, Holiday season, and ready for a great new year of success in 2016.

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