Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Until Dawn

The Gist
The quintessential horror movie that Hayden Panettiere should have starred in a long time ago.

The Story
On February 2014, a group of friends spent their winter holiday in a remote mountain lodge owned by their friends Josh and twin sisters Hannah and Beth Washington. A prank gone awry leads to the humiliated twins fleeing the cabin into a raging blizzard. Mysterious forces seemed to be afoot during that fateful night and the twins have never been seen since.

A year later, Josh invites the friends back into the same lodge in hopes of remembering the tragedy that has befallen his family and to provide some closure for the group. Little do they know what terrors the night had in store for them, or if all of them could last until dawn.

Gameplay Impressions
In a similar vein to the PS3 game Heavy Rain, Until Dawn is more like an interactive movie than a video game. The player controls each of the game's eight main characters throughout different chapters of the story, which provides a lot of dimension in terms of how each of them sees their experiences during the course of the night.

Until Dawn introduces a system called the Butterfly Effect. Decisions made by the players affect how the story plays out both immediately and a few hours down the line, which in turn would affect the chances of each character making it out of the mountain unscathed. These decisions also affect both the characters' traits and relationships towards each other - something that players should keep track of during the harrowing events that the characters will go through. With the game offering multiple endings as a result of these decisions, there's a good chance that no two experiences will be similar.

A normal playthrough lasts for a good ten hours, which in my opinion is just the right length for games of this genre. The game makes use of a variety of environments that lend the story that distinct cinematic feel - the claustrophobic corridors of the lodge, abandoned mine shafts and a decaying sanitarium are just a few of the locales that the story explores. The hostile winter environment that encompasses all of these provide an ominous feeling of isolation. Combined with elements from Native American lore and classic thriller and horror movie elements, Until Dawn is bound to be etched in many players' memories for quite some time.

For horror movie enthusiasts, I'd recommend giving Until Dawn a try - and I'd recommend playing it during one of those late and lonely nights for full effect.

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