Until Dawn Review (Rue Morgue Magazine: Issue 160)

As I cling to the ledge, his hand outstretched towards mine, I must decide. Do I let go and die bloodied on the rocks with my sister, or let her fall into the black pit and take the stranger’s hand? Unlocking a fate I don’t entirely trust. Until Dawn can tug at your heartstrings, before it rips the still beating muscle from your chest. It all boils down player choice and sacrifice.

The interactive movie/ adventure game is the morbid tale of a group of teenagers dead set to spend a weekend in a remote cabin, only to find that something waits deep within the bowels of that lonely mountain. But you decide who lives or dies.

The familiar nature of the plot structure represents Supermassive Game’s ability to understand what makes a slasher work, lovingly plugging the formula. However, this tactic may alienate the non-goalie mask initiated. Gamers will cringe when they see that the acting is terrible and the script is laughably bad. However, horror fans will cheer when they see that the acting is terrible and the script is laughably bad.

Scares also lack the proper audio setup, effectively pulling their teeth. The result is the game feels like a campy, 80’s romp rather than a serious frightmare.

But while a perfect reference, Until Dawn lacks the polish to be a great game. The clunky controls feel more like a hindrance than a conduit into the game world. At times, handling Until Dawn is as awkward as a junior high dance.

Despite a blistering second act, Until Dawn falters as it moves into the third. Stepping away from its slasher influence and into the familiar monster territory. The move changes something that was once blindingly original into just another monsters and guns horror game.

Despite its faults, Until Dawn succeeds. As teenagers began dropping off, I gripped the controller tighter and began to wonder, will I even survive…until dawn?

3.5/5

 

Headshots: Gruesome deaths, gore the merrier, fresh and original concept.

Misses: Clunky controls, choices have minimal effect, falters near the end.

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