Until Dawn: Hands On

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Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: August 25th 2015

The Until Dawn title has been a while in the making as it was originally designed to be a PlayStation Move-powered PS3 title before finding a permanent home on the PS4. It’s a game that’s riddled with slasher film cliches right down to a guy wearing a college varsity jacket, but is structured a bit more like a television series than a movie.

That’s not a bad thing though as my time with the demo showed a lot of potential. Until Dawn takes place at night in snowy mountains, where a bunch of teenagers are hanging out and in like most B films it makes absolutely no sense why they would pick that destination to chill. Predictably, the group of teenagers (there are 8 different characters you will switch between as the story arc progresses) soon find themselves on the run from a creepy serial killer. In the demo I played, I controlled teens Matt and Emily who ran into a pack of spooky elk that converged on them but ultimately moved aside and then they climbed up a park ranger’s watch tower. Once inside the tower you had to explore inside and find out how to get the power back on. Once I located the switch and restored power, all hell broke loose.

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Whoever had been stalking them decided to chop away at one of the supports of the the already weak tower in an effort to chop Matt and Emily down. With the tower falling the teens were put in a precarious situation with Emily hanging on for her dear life and Matt faced with the choice of saving her or his own hide. This was my first encounter with what developer Supermassive calls the game’s Butterfly Effect which is a system of branching paths. In other words what choices you make in the game will yield different results. Ultimately I decided to have Matt help Emily but she still fell to her death and Matt would up getting his neck impaled on a hook courtesy of our stalker friend. Ouch. I then turned to the PR person showing the demo and asked had I chose to ditch Emily and save my own butt, would the results had been different. She informed me I (Matt) would have found a flare gun and survived the demo.

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Until Dawn had some nice things going for it and could be a sleeper for the PS4 console. Look for my more in-depth review next month as we get close to the August 25th launch date. – written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)