The Average Gamer

Until Dawn Hands-on

Until Dawn - DollhouseUntil Dawn has been in development for a long time. First announced at gamescom 2012 as a PS3 Move title it’s now exclusive to PlayStation 4. There has been other changes too. The in-game perspective has been switched from first to third person and the whole game now runs on the powerful Killzone: Shadow Fall engine. But the plot is still firmly rooted in that most cliché horror film scenario; eight teenagers in a remote log cabin, hunted by a serial killer.

The playable demo at this year’s gamescom involved a lot of wandering around in the dark looking for door keys, riffling through people’s diaries and lots of dark hallways. There was even a long black haired girl in a white nightgown who was just out of reach at all times. Surprise, surprise. After this I lost count of the number of horror tropes packed into this game.

Until Dawn even pays homage to the early Resident Evil titles by replicating its sluggish control system and fixed camera angles. It takes ages to move the characters anywhere. You could say that restricting a players’ movement and their field of vision enhances the whole horror scenario by making everything feel more claustrophobic. Personally, it annoyed more than scared.

The game does look the part with some eerily-lit environments and decent character animations. They have really nailed the scared teenager look which you get treated to thanks to the numerous close-up facial shots. Look at the fear in their faces! There’s also a disturbing doll house complete with what looked like a naked doll orgy inside. Odd, very odd.

At its core Until Dawn is still a PlayStation Move game. To focus on any object, like a door handle or to shine your torch about a bit you must tilt the DualShock 4 controller accordingly. Examining objects in any detail involves holding down R2 and then rotating the controller. It’s very LA Noire. Not only does this control system feel like it would be better suited to using a Move controller but there’s a perfectly good joystick on the PS4 pad that could do a much better job.

Until Dawn - Dead People

One nice touch in the demo took place right at the start. You get asked to complete a mini-questionnaire which included questions about your sex, if you like horror to be gory or suspenseful and if wanted to play at being the hero. Hopefully, this will have a real impact of the type of gameplay and add some replay value. As you get to play as all eight characters throughout the whole game, your actions as one character are supposedly going to affect others, according to the developers.

The Until Dawn demo was very pretty and had a pleasing disturbing atmosphere about it. It was slow-paced, partly as I was getting accustomed to the cumbersome control system but also searching every nook and cranny for hidden keys is never going to be quick. Played in a darkened room with headphones on, Until Dawn should deliver some decent scary thrills.

Until Dawn is coming to PS4 in 2015.