Until Dawn Post Game Thoughts: The towel still didn’t fall off

images (1)

My blog post will contain some minor spoilers. Fair warning. 

Until Dawn, created by Supermassive Games, is a survival thriller game that covers many forms of horror including serial killer, psychological, environmental, and paranormal.  A year ago, I was granted an opportunity to play the demo at the Playstation Experience hosted in Las Vegas. I wrote my thoughts on the demo here. For those who read my post on the demo, I will tell you that the damn towel is still magically wrapped around Hayden Panettiere’s while she runs around and throws things at a masked pursuer.

Tell-me-how-GIF

I am happy to say that I was blessed this Christmas season, and my family chipped in to gift me a PS4,so naturally, one of the games I picked up was Until Dawn. I had seen snippets of gameplay and read positive reviews on the game and those encouraged me to purchase it. I finished two playthroughs of the game and I give it 8/10.

The bit that was available in the demo was included in the game itself, and my feelings still remain, but the rest of the game was fantastic. I love the horror genre, and I love a game that has replay value. An entire playthrough could run approximately 9-10 hours. There are 10 chapters, so be prepared to dedicate one hour or more to each of them.

I will get my main issue out of the way right now. The saving system can really mess with you. This was my scenario. I completed one playthrough. A couple people died. I want to get the trophy you would receive if everyone survived. I do not choose “New Story”, I simply replay the original save from the very beginning. I mess up in chapter 4, and I figured since I completed everything once already, I could replay the chapter and the choices I made in chapter 1-3 will save. NOPE. I replay chapter 4 and I notice that the game plays out the same way it did in my original playthrough. Your choices will only be saved if you complete the entire game all the way through. Since my first major mistake occurred in chapter 4, I start back there and continue on, so I now have a hybrid of original playthrough choices and new choices of my “second playthrough”. I get to chapter 9 and mess up again, effectively destroying my chances of obtaining the all survivors trophy. My only non-hair pulling option is to complete the playthrough and then go back to chapter 9 and not mess up again. That is my one huge grip about the game.

The replay value of the game lies in the choice system. Lots of different decisions will open or take away dialogue paths and certain areas of the game. On the first playthrough, the jumpscares got me. Some were quite predictable, but there are some pretty well placed ones throughout the game. One setback is that these scares are only effective the first time through unless you play the game a year from now and forget when they happen.

A lot of the game’s value lies with the environment. The visuals, the sounds (or lack of), the finely crafted levels that prey on one’s fear of seclusion and helplessness was incredibly rich. Playing the game twice with only one night’s rest in between was really affecting my psyche because I was in a state of constant anxiety, so I had to immediately stop after my second playthrough. It’s a great rush.

I also must give props to the voice actors. They were so spot on with their delivery and easily made me genuinely love and hate their characters. Freaking Emily, man Freaking, Emily. I only kept her alive because I want that all survivor trophy.  Seriously, the voice acting is top notch in this game. So props to Nichole Bloom for bringing to life a character I hate more than the SkiFree abominable monster snow yeti (or whatever the hell it is). You know… this creepy guy.

images

Throughout the game, you take control of one of seven characters. You do not get to choose who you control as I originally assumed when I played the demo. Each character has their own personality traits; however, I did notice that it was difficult for me play as seven different people and keep in tune with their personalities without incorporating my own feelings into the decisions. Halfway through chapter 2, I had forgotten who was the intuitive one, the adventurous one, etc… and I just answered as I would naturally. You craft your responses differently once you complete one playthrough, but the value of having different personalities slowly became lost on me the longer I played. It is blatantly obvious who the nice and not so nice characters are so I just stayed with my gut instincts on reacting and then chose different options during the second run.

Overall, Until Dawn takes the best of your fears and ties everything up in a very enjoyable bundle of horror. You have no weapons and must rely on quick wit and decision making in order to survive. The game is full of intense moments, and a lot of that anxiety is inspired by the anticipation that something is about to happen as opposed to something actually happening. I would recommend this to people who enjoy the genre and who wouldn’t mind a good scare here and there.

GFR approved!

What did you guys think of the game?

Where can I get a towel that allows me to run from a serial killer all sexy-like?

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.

IMG_0775.PNG

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.