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Eight friends trapped together on a remote mountain retreat, and they aren't alone. Gripped by dread, with tensions running high, they must fight through their fear if they all hope to make through the night in one piece.
Create an interactive teen horror adventure where even your smallest choices can snowball into story-altering (and sometimes fatal) consequences
The environments and character models impress, though some facial expressions and animations can be awkward
The superb dynamic orchestral score and voice acting sell the experience and ratchet up the tension
The Heavy Rain-style interactions are simple yet effective, serving up more engaging action sequences than other adventure games
Supermassive weaves an intriguing and exciting mystery with all the right teen-horror trappings
Announced in 2012 as a Move-based PS3 game, Until Dawn has undergone a number of delays and design changes during its prolonged development. Normally, such production woes are a bad omen for the fate of a game, but Until Dawn doesn't just limp to release like a bloodied survivor; it emerges as an excellently penned teen horror tale that sets a new standard for the adventure genre.
Like Telltale's myriad series, Until Dawn is more story than game. You control a rotating cast of eight endangered teens trying to survive an ill-fated night at a secluded mountain lodge. There are no puzzles or inventory management in this adventure - gameplay is comprised entirely of exploring eerie locales, timing your way through action sequences, and making an endless series of choices that shape the story. However, thanks to topnotch production values, Supermassive has polished the formula to a triple-A sheen. Outstanding visuals, commendable performances from a cast of professional actors, and a mood-setting dynamic score all bring the characters and environments to life.
But Supermassive's improvements aren't just superficial; Until Dawn redefines the importance of player choice in story-driven adventure games. Gone are the closed-loop decisions showing you the immediate repercussions of your choice before funneling you back onto the main path with everyone else. Instead, your decisions in Until Dawn continue to reverberate, impacting later events in complex and unforeseen ways; alienate a friend with your dialogue choices or actions, for instance, and they may not be there to save you hours down the road.
Numerous feedback techniques highlight the importance of your decisions (including the Butterfly Effect menu that tracks various choices and their consequences), but none are more effective than the swift decapitation of your character, or any number of equally brutal death sequences. It's not just smoke and mirrors; while certain characters prove more resilient than others, every member of the main cast is capable of living or dying based on how you play, and you can't go back and fix mistakes - the story continually auto-saves, pushing towards its climatic finale without the chance for checkpoints or retries. Who lives to see it depends entirely on you.
See the rest of the Review at Game Informer
Play as each of the eight characters and experience fear like you never have before. Every decision you make in your terrifying search for answers could mean the difference between life and death, but for whom? Your actions alone will decide who survives Until Dawn.
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