#EGX2014 Preview: Until Dawn
Horror gaming has done it all these days, from haunted houses to zombie filled cities and everything in-between.
Some of this has been done brilliantly, but if there’s one section of the horror world that has gone fairly unloved in the gaming industry it’s the slasher horror. There have been a few games that attempted it with fun, but flawed, results such as the ‘Obscure’ franchise, but few games paired the campy fun with the suspense of trying to keep your ensemble cast alive. This is why ‘Until Dawn’ is definitely something that piqued my interest as a horror fan when I heard it was on its way to Playstation 4. Far more than when it was first revealed as another dodgy looking Playstation Move game back in 2009.
The game has ditched Move, but it hasn’t completely ditched motion controls. The premise of the game also stays very much the same; you play as a group of men and women trying to survive, probably until dawn. The thing that makes this game so exciting however is that it marries horror, with the choose your own adventure styling’s of games such as Heavy Rain’, resulting in a horror game that can have 100’s of endings.
One of the first things I realised as I got to the booth to play the game, is that I really wasn’t in the best environment to be witnessing it for the first time. It was fairly bright, the controller was tethered too low to do motion controls effectively and it was quite noisy. That didn’t stop me getting absorbed in the game though. It began with a tutorial, talking you through how you can point the controller to make your torch beam move and twist the controller to look at and open things. It didn’t feel 100% natural, but I think part of this was due to the previously mentioned tethered controller.
The gameplay experience started in a basement area searching for a friend as part of the pair of Ashley and Chris. Soon you discover a secret location and it all escalates from there. I really don’t want to give too much away as this seems like a game that will be much better going into blind, but I will discuss a few of the things I did notice, including the other characters I encountered. By encountered I do not mean fought. Minus a small QTE scuffle, that I believe would’ve occurred differently if I hadn’t found an item earlier in the demo, there was hardly any fighting.
There was however a plethora of hazards and this made me question the direction the game was going, and by doing so it left me slightly confused and concerned. A ghost is in the early sections of the demo, and even delivers a cheap jump scare, that still got me even though I expected it. As you progress through the demo, you then come to a typical human like slasher character wearing a mask and by this point the ghost has completely disappeared. To top off this cliché sundae you finish the demo in some kind of ‘Saw’ like contraption.
It worries me that it will try to wear many hats to appease horror fans, but in doing so failing to deliver on any form of horror to the highest possible level. Still, it looked stunning and the ‘Saw’ moment at the end was intense and left me wanting more. Coupling this with a nice usage of fixed camera positions, aching to old school survival horror, and a strong cast of actors means we could be in for a real treat.
If you’re a fan of horror games or love QTE adventure games like Fahrenheit and Beyond: Two Souls then Until Dawn is definitely worthy of keeping on your radar and is due for release at some point next year.