As I sit here, in a cold doctor’s office, waiting for my name to be called, I found my mind drifting off to the events of the Playstation Experience. I was able to play some of the demos that were available on the show floor, and thanks to the “scary moments montage” from my Evil Within montage, several friends urged me to play the Until Dawn demo.
I am a fan of the Oreo effect, so I will list my opinions as such: good, bad, good.
Also note, I understand that this is just a demo and that gameplay is subject to change in the final product and I also understand that there are more characters you can choose in the final game. My opinion is strictly regarding the demo and I how I felt about what was chosen to be experienced by the public.
I love video games when they allow you to become immersed in their environments. I also love cheesy horror flicks as well. First impression of Until Dawn is that the graphics are beautiful. The voice acting was great and the environment of “you are a mouse in a huge maze of a house” was established early. If you love horror slasher films, this is right up your alley. The gameplay itself reminded me of Indigo Prophecy. I don’t play a lot of cinematic interactive games but you basically are placed in a situation and you choose option A or B. It’s not as involved as say, Walking Dead, and I was only able to experience one playthrough but you’re given options such as “hide”, “run” and “throw vase” and the character acts accordingly.
My biggest issue with the demo was not that a typical horrified female character was selected and being chased around a huge mansion by a serial killer in a clown mask. My issue was that there was a typical horrified female character being chased around by a serial killer in a clown mask and she was wearing nothing but a towel the whole time.
Come on. Any woman who has stepped out of a shower and wrapped herself in a towel knows full well that said barrier of flimsy fabric does not stay on for more than a minute even standing still. Almost every response I heard from a woman who played the demo was “is that glued on her?” That should not be the first thing we think when giving feedback on a horror game. You want the feedback to be “holy crap, that have me a heart attack!”
I’m not even angrily arguing that a barely clothed woman took the main stage and is a near helpless victim in the demo. We have to give some leniency to video game logic (like where the crap did Ada Wong keep that rocket launcher in RE4), but the lack of realism in the Until Dawn demo really took me out of the experience. It doesn’t take much to get cut out of an experience. In some cases, it’s bad dialogue, a misplaced scene, or a character that brings absolutely nothing to the table. In this case, it’s a damn towel.
That being written, I did enjoy the atmosphere of the demo. I’m a very aural person, so the jump scares came when the grandfather clock chimed and the anxiety built up when I heard…nothing. The mansion or vacation home you are placed in is HUGE. Of course, all the lights are off and hearing the character freak out while walking around was a nice touch. The area shown in the demo would be a great place to play hide and seek so long as the person who is “it” isn’t trying to kill you. There’s footage of me jumping and screaming so the atmosphere really got me (thanks for the video Keanu and Bret.) It would have been great if the demo was somehow enclosed so people playing it could get that sense of isolation. But the headphones that were available at the demo were fantastic so it made up for seeing tons of people walking around in my peripheral.
And I did think to myself that I wanted to continue playing but it was more for the mechanics of the game. The demo was maybe 6-7 minutes. I cleared it in ten because I had to readjust direction/controller habits since I’m so used to playing third person over the shoulder games. Until Dawn has a very early Resident Evil feel to it.
You may or may not ask “so if you’re complaining about the towel issue, what’s your resolution?” Easy. Bathrobe.
Functional piece of clothing that a woman who has just gotten out of bath will wear. It makes sense. It’s still “appealing” if the game devs were worried about the sexy factor rather/more than the horror factor.
The other playable characters will determine if I purchase Until Dawn. On the bright side, the demo character will be easy to cosplay.
Either way, I will be looking forward to future reviews and maybe even some let’s plays. Horror is still an entertaining genre in the video game culture, and I would like to see the final product of this game in particular.