Until Dawn – quick impressions
+, +, + very cinematic experience
-, +, + the story/characters are rather shallow/teen however this is in fitting with this kind of movies so it works in the end surprisingly okay. It’s annoying when they’re particularly stupid or ridiculous, but like with these kinds of movies it ends up making a kind of sense for these particular characters and one can even get attached to their particular curiosities
+, +, -, + The game is built with moments of choice branching nodes. This is great as an idea, though the choices feel strange sometime and forced. In the end though the attempt at this great direction is appreciated and it creates a special experience.
+ the music and sounds are decent, not fantastic music, but supportive of the story. The soundscape was also nice though not mindblowing.
+, +, – the visuals are sometimes remarkable in a an almost fotorealistic way, yet there’s also the occasional non-stellar moment
+, +, +, – the animations are quite spectacular, with at times shockingly expressive faces, but still with the occasional uncanny valley moment where the human eye picks up on strange skin movements we’re not familiar with. Sometimes the movements could be better but the facial capture and the actors behind did a fantastic job. Particularly I was impressed with the acting and am a longer fan and was glad to see the actor behind the psychiatrist, and the character who’s played by that actor from the tv series Mr. Robot was also impressively recognizable. This gives me mixed feelings as I prefer original non-actor characters but on the other hand i realize the necessity for this and it’s impressive to see it done at this new awesome level
-, + the fixed camera angle style does help with the cinematic feeling and the scares but at times it’s particularly weird to control
+, +, + there’s some nice mysteries and revelations. I was particularly impressed by one major story twist.
-,-, + the world is very linear, not open, the only exploration feels like in-between advancing in linear corridors. Still, even as this, it’s nice that some optional content is there and, particularly given the consequences of stories and mysteries, the things you can find out can be quite meaningful
+, +, + the story starts out thin but in the end it turns out to have a richer than expected texture, backworld with history and twits and subtleties, as well as well done mysteries.
Overall I’d give this game a 2 on a -5 to 5 scale meaning a quite good game. Maybe at moments been tempted by a 0 to 1 because it feels somehow “ordinary” but then on the other side this game does something truly extraordinary, in ways that feel like a first for the games industry, to tell this kind of a story in this kind of a way or at least this level of polish. So I stick by my +2 verdict given that it does something which in 2016-2017 games is still spectacular and ground breaking both in terms of technology and also in terms of approaching a new type of topic that has been done quite little in games to date (I remember a ps2 game and also an old “Shivers 2” game which was special in its own way). All in all i’d consider it a remarkable game and I’m happy I played it and got to experience what i think is a special moment in gaming history even if it’s not necessarily my favourite genre/subject matter.
PS: Thank you very much HaikuHunter for this great gift! We had an eye on it for a while so it was a particularly cool surprise. Thank you!