Until Dawn: A 2spooky Game Review

Until Dawn

Cuz it’s Halloween.

Until Dawn for PS4.

A survival horror game. Finally. It’s spooky, and perfectly themed for the season.

Made by Supermassive Games, who are mostly known for a whole lot of Little Big Planet DLC, a remake of Killzone I put as much effort into as I did any other Killzone (own them all, finished none, just like everyone), and a Dr. Who game.

Ok…. first of all. No one asked for a Dr. Who game. I’M NOT A FAN OF DOCTOR WHO, JUST WARNING YOU NOW. IT CONFUSES ME.

Here’s my issue with Dr. Who. You ever stumbled on an author you like, only to find he has a massive backlog of shit he’s written? Goodkind, Pratchett, Adams? And when you realize to get caught up, it would require reading a fuck ton of older books. You hunker down and read through their entire catalogUE (because they’re British), right? Catch up on everything that’s happened so far? Yeah no, no one does that shit. You say, “Oh what else has he written? That many huh? Nope. Good day sir,” and move on with your life.

That’s how I feel about Dr. Who. Here’s how I know that’s the case too: there’s constantly a new doctor. It’s like the shows developers even know that no one would pay attention to anything that long. Is CSI still on? Is the guy from Manhunter still on CSI?

Supermassive made a Dr. Who game that got a metacritic score of 39. Out of 100. That’s a lot less than 100, 39. You’d think a shit game like that (shite), would be right up my alley. I even looked it up before writing this article.

The game takes place just before the events of “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” in River Song’s timeline as indicated by various notes within her diary as well as the use of her title of ‘Professor’.

Wait. Is that a sentence? A reference to something? Words and such?

So I clicked the link that explains what Silence in the Library is, and got this.

“Silence in the Library” is the eighth episode of the fourth series of the revived British science fiction television series Doctor Who. 

See, the issue we have here is I have no idea what’s going on. SIMILAR TO UNTIL DAWN.

aaaaaaaahhuh, see how I brought it all back???

So a group of teens (the oldest looking fucking teens in the oldest world ever) are hanging out at a winter mansion owned by some kid’s parents. A prank is played and two of the sisters run outside and die. A year later (WHEN THE OLD ASS KIDS ARE STILL SOMEHOW IN SCHOOL), they go back to the cabin for some dumb reason. They’re promptly hunted and killed off despite your best efforts. I mean, there’s a way to keep everyone alive, sure, but who watches Friday the 13th for the romance and witty banter?

High School. Ahuh.

The object of the game is to keep everyone alive. But the system is the interesting part. At the surface, it’s an interactive movie game, choose left or right path, button mash at the correct time, you know the song and dance. But the game switches it up a bit by adjusting based on your choices. Did you notice the baseball bat in the kitchen earlier? Later you’ll be able to use that. Didn’t notice it? Well screw you pal.

My point and click instincts kicked in almost immediately, so I spent waaaaaaaay too long checking for everything. It was suggested that by even doing that, I was changing the game. Well piss.

Oldest High Schoolers ever…

So the game bounces around between different characters throughout, and you play out each of their scenes while picking different dialogue trees, paths of travel, and items to examine. You’ll get the occasional quick time event where you have to press certain buttons quickly, and sometimes where you can’t even move the controller. Which, ok clever, but I’ll just set it down on my gut and we’re G2G.


OH! Peter Stormare is in it. Really the reason I bought it. (I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR APPEAL HAYDEN PANITEIRRE, HAYDAN PANTI…. YOU).

Hayden Pantene-Pro V.

True story, tried to type her name into google to get proper spelling, like a proper person, and google suggested Basil Hayden’s. You’re absolutely right Google.

To the store!

See. What’s great about the internet, it’s been a day, and you didn’t even notice. Went to the store, got Basil Hayden’s, remembered that I hate Basil Hayden’s, should have gotten Grand-Dad.

Two days later.

Peter Stormare is in it. He plays a chorus of sorts.

See, in plays of old, you’d use a chorus to sort of set the scene and setting for the performance. If they were sung, like in Greek dramas, they’d be choral odes. Useful for when you have minimal scenery or need to cover/explain a setting change. In Romeo and Juliet there’s an omniscient narrator who opens the story “Two Households, both alike, in Verona” and an omniscient voice of sorts (the Prince) to end the story “Than this of Juliet and her Romeo”. The idea being it’s helpful to draw the observer into the story if you didn’t have to have the characters explain everything, pro and epilogue style. Makes for a simpler transition. Modern playwrights tend to use soliloquy (sometimes heavily), to express setting and time. The removal of the chorus allowed for a more intimate performance.

Now you know. Also never let your kids get a BFA in Theater.

So you, as you yourself, sit and talk with Peter in between episodes of Until Dawn. So it cuts away to him in a therapist’s office, and he asks you questions about what scares you. Usually asking which of two is scarier. The idea there is the game trying to tailor the experience to what would scare you specifically. Peter Stormare also makes for a fairly unbelieveable therapist. But hey, I bought into the idea that he was an Italian mob-boss so whatever. Also, he’s Swedish, not Russian.

Italian Mob Boss, who looks Russian, but is Swedish. Ahuh.

Italian Mob Boss, who looks Russian, but is Swedish. Ahuh.

Fine. back to the game. The real problem here is I want to fully experience the game. If there are hundreds of different possible outcomes, how can I do that? You essentially can’t. That’s the real problem with games like this, there’s an infinite number of outcomes, but basically a finite number of playthroughs. Unless you managed to make super outlandish choices after a while, you’d eventually keep coming across the same results. What, are you going to remember every decision you made and slightly alter the 15th and 59th choices on your 103rd playthrough? Nope.

So inherently, you’re stuck playing a handful of times, then being done with that. It’s the aspect of these types of games I can’t stand. I used to love playing Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace (I might own the 3DO versions, proceed to drop panties), but once you’ve “””beaten“”” the game, you can only really play through it again to fuck with it. How many times can I be killed, can I break it in this way, and so on and so forth and on.

High School. Seriously.

High School. Seriously.

It’s a good game, but it screams rental. Lots of jumpscares, good dialogue, great graphics (like better than LA Noire facial construction), and a solid system. But at the end of the day, an 8 hour game is just that. 8 hours. Hell to do literally everything supposedly takes only 20. Every ending and scene takes 200, but still….

These games aren’t about how many hours though, it comes down to if you enjoy that style and want to see more of it. You pay $12 for a movie (usually more) and that’s only two hours. So math math math, an 8 hour game should cost…. $48? Good thing the game came out at $60, but quickly dropped to $40.

I picked mine up for $20 which I feel is worth it. I don’t necessarily want Supermassive to think I’m supporting them. (DON’T BANK YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY ON VR GAMES DAMMIT, THAT’S EGGS AND BASKETS AND NOT A THING YOU SHOULD DO). But it’s what they’ve always done, so meh. Will their recently released VR Until Dawn Rush Of Blood…. game…. stand up on it’s own? (Can we call them games when really they’re glorified demos? You show me a 30 hour VR game and I’ll call it a game. Of course if you show me a 30 hour VR game, I’ll quit calling it the EyeToy 3).

The following is a list of good arcade rail shooters. (IT’S GOING TO BE A RAIL SHOOTER BECAUSE EVERY ARCADE SHOOTER IS A RAIL SHOOTER. IT’S A FANCY WAY TO SAY RAIL). Arcade shooters are NOT shoot em ups, well not exactly.

  • Pokemon Snap
  • Killer7
  • Jurassic Park the arcade game
  • Typing of the Dead
  • Area 51

Aaaaaannnnyyywwaaaaaaay. Give Until Dawn a shot. Redbox it, but understand that you’ll be spending $12 or so to get through it completely, unless you marathon it. Beyond that, watch a Let’s Play. No nudity, so I give it minus 5 stars compared to Night Trap.

What’s that?

Night Trap didn’t have nudity? Well. It had that claw thing and the foot clan. So there’s that.

Is every one of my posts going to have Night Trap? Yes. Every one.

About Doug

Once asked to leave a video game store for having STRONG opinions on the Zelda timeline, Doug still stands by his correct opinions. He refuses to apologize to that misinformed grandma or to pay for her medical expenses. Wrong is wrong. Born and raised in the finest city of Xenia, he managed to escape the deathclaws of the gaming retail industry mostly intact. He is not a nurse. He does however, have a CIB Virtual Boy on his kitchen table (which you must never touch), an ever-growing collection of video games he proudly calls his “burden for future children”, and a first-name basis with most workers at any Miami Valley Taco Bell. Profusely sweating and swearing as he types every word of every video game commentary or review, he’s glad you’re here.
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