If you play a lot of games and own a PS4, PS Now is a great investment. There are loads of interesting games on there that I probably wouldn’t otherwise pay for, but get to try as part of my subscription to the service.
Until Dawn was one such game. I love horror films- I collect B movies and consider myself a huge fan of the genre- but I cannot cope with horror games. They freak me out too much. I managed to painstakingly limp my way through the Resident Evil REMake and Resident Evil Zero a few years back, but beyond that, anything even vaguely scary is beyond my ability to deal with.
I had been aware of Until Dawn for some time; I love a choice-based, heavy narrative game. Until Dawn is a wonderful homage to a genre I adore. However, my intense fear of horror games put me off paying for it.
The game itself has multiple protagonists: various teenage stereotypes who have that occasionally clunky feel of having been written by adults who don’t really get teenagers. They are also all terrible and I despised them all at the beginning. I couldn’t wait for them to start dying. After a couple of hours of trying to steer the dafties away from danger, however, I was rooting for their survival.
Keeping them alive is easier said than done- they can all die, and seemingly arbitrary choices can mean the difference between life and death for these pixelated cliches. (I kept all of them alive, miraculously, and there was a real satisfaction in that.)
The story itself is sort of predictable, but pleasantly twisty and interesting. It moves along at a steady pace and changes things up often enough to stave off boredom. It’s a relatively short game, too.
Is it terrifying? Yes, it is. There are millions of jump scares in it. (Slight hyperbole.) If you have been avoiding it because it seems frightening, then probably keep avoiding it. For me, it was charming and funny enough to get me through the absolute horror of some (frankly very cheap) jump scares.
The game feels very “Telltale”- it’s that narrative based adventure style where you “do” relatively little. There are a whole bunch of quick time events here. I don’t hate them, but I know a lot of people do. The choices feel meaningful and there are a bunch of interesting clues to collect about the lore and history of the spooky mountain setting.
I’d recommend this one, especially if you play it with company.