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Video Game Review: Until Dawn (2015), Choices and Fear of the Unknown

Posted on the 13 August 2016 by Kandee @kandeecanread
Video Game Review: Until Dawn (2015), Choices and Fear of the Unknown
Until Dawn (2015)
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Rami Malek, Meaghan Martin, Brett Dalton, Noah FleissPlatform: PS4Developed By: Supermassive GamesRelease Date: August 25, 2015Rating: A
Summary: A bunch of teens in the woods are stalked by a madman of some sorts.My Thoughts: As an avid horror fan, the announcement of Until Dawn was one that excited me completely and the day it came out, I picked it up and I wasn't disappointed. What we're presented is not only a homage to old 80's to 90's horror, but a story that really keeps you on edge and packs the scares with its big names and even bigger and greater game mechanics. When we get begin the game, what's introduced to us is a mechanism called "The Butterfly Effect" where we can control the outcomes of the game's finale. Reminiscent to 2010's Heavy Rain, any ill character interactions, taking the wrong path, or a failure to complete one of the game's many quick time events can all result in the demise of one of our 8 playable characters and that's what everyone liked about Heavy Rain, well at least that's what I liked, because we can kill off any of the characters based on our choices and what happens is they're gone and we can no longer play as them. For the most part, when a character dies, their death doesn't really concern any of the other characters unless they come across the body and we're reminded of our failure. And neither does it effect any of the plot besides the fact they can't be played as anymore, however, they are mentioned again at in the game's finale as a final reminder that we messed up and it got someone killed.Therefore your choices do matter because as with horror movies, you bond with these characters, you're screaming at the screen hoping they'll make the right choices and egging them to do what you think is best and here you're choosing the choices for these people in order to keep them alive whether or not you even actually like them or not because as the story progesses these people change. Their character traits begin to diverge from how they originally were. We begin to root for the "Asshole Jock" or the "Bitchy Cheerleader" and instead want the "Shy Sweet One" to get her comeuppance. The fear lies in the unknown behind these choices. When we're watching a movie, there's really no weight behind these character's actions as they chose to do whatever they did to lead them to their early demise, here we're leading them and their lives are in our hands. It's the fear of making the wrong choice that drives Until Dawn and makes it the great game that it is. The most dreadful moments in the game are moments like right when you miss a quick time event and you know that something awful may happen or before you click the button to make a major decision like choosing to go follow a noise or stay on the correct path. It's moments like these where we're fearful the most not because of the outcome itself but because we do not know where they outcome will lead and while this sort of mechanic is not one that Until Dawn invented, but it's upholds this mechanic well in order to create suspense and leave us on edge and even when the decisions are low pressure, the fear is still there that something we may do may get someone killed.As I stated before, there are big names in this game and everyone puts on a great performance even though there are some cringe-worthy lines (and I mean a lot!), however as the game draws from typical horror movie cliches and tropes, it's forgivable. Creepy environments, quippy banter between characters and animal instinct decisions that have to be made are all what Until Dawn is made up and if you're a horror fan, these are factors that you'll love like I did. The visuals are stunning, the character arcs, while not completely developed, are enough to get you through the game and want to keep them alive. If you love horror and have a PS4, go get this game. 

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