Until Dawn was originally slated to be released on PS3 as a PlayStation Move exclusive game. The general premise of the game surrounds eight friends who have returned to Blackwood Pines on the one year anniversary of twin sisters Hannah and Beth. The twins mysteriously disappeared after being hunted by a crazed serial killer. The beginning of the game is extremely slow paced, which is necessary as the game allows you to learn about each characters personality and relationships with other members of the group.
The story of Until Dawn follows a very familiar trend for fans of horror movies; it’s over the top, incredibly cheesy and full of incredibly gripping scenes that would almost certainly never play out in real life. It’s all of these things and more that make the game’s story a complete success and one that you won’t want to step away from. The characters mostly end up fulfilling an archetypal role, but the freedom of dialogue choices and how your character can end up interacting with others makes the otherwise cliche’d dialogue quite fun.The story is broken up by sessions with a psychologist. This sets the tone of the game incredibly early and was one of my favourite parts of the game. Your sessions early on will alter gameplay. Things like picking your biggest fears or phobias or which characters you dislike most which I assume would affect the way that the story plays out. This is very reminiscent of Silent Hills: Shattered Memories in a good way and adds another layer to the story that I wasn’t expecting.
The presentation in Until Dawn is a positive experience for the most part. The environments are incredibly dark, yet all have a lot of detail and interesting areas to explore. The game positions you with a light source whether it be a torch or a lantern, which is controlled by the analogue sticks or motion controls depending on which control scheme you choose. You can use this light source to better focus on the little details that can be found within Blackwood Pines. The acting in the game is close to the best that I’ve seen in a video game with Peter Stormare playing an interesting psychologist, and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and Rami Malek (Short Term 12) rounding out an all-star lineup. The motion-cap and animations are top-tier in the gaming industry and Supermassive Games are to be commended for this. The music and sound effects within Until Dawn were a highlight for me. The score is brilliantly reminiscent of some of the best horror movies I’ve seen. It provides a lot of atmosphere in building up to key set scenes within the game. The sound effects are equally brilliant with constant birds fluttering, screams from within the woods and other noises that keep you on the edge of your seat.