|Publisher||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release Date||August 28, 2015|
What is there left for me to actually say about Until Dawn. I’ve been singing this games praises since playing it at EGX in 2014. It was one of the most refreshing games to come out this year. Rather than being hit with a wall of immediate hype upon its announcement, it built up a steam of hype as more and more people saw what it was and what it was trying to do. A “sleeper hit” as they’re called.
Of course, Until Dawn wasn’t propelled to the top of my Game of the Year list because of its lack of suffocating overhype. It’s here because it’s an absolutely extraordinary game. Until Dawn had to live or die by its choice-based mechanics, the so-called Butterfly Effect, and Supermassive absolutely nailed it. They did a better job than even I thought they would, and I was one of the games biggest advocates pre-release.
Your choices truly matter in Until Dawn. There’s very little illusion of choice here, rather actual choices that affect everything – the personalities of its main cast, their relationships with each other, their eventual fate. Even the things that you see in-game can be affected by choices you make. That you can track the choices you make and the consequences they eventually have makes them all the sweeter.
One of the reasons Until Dawn succeeds so thoroughly is because it knows exactly what it is, and it knows that you know exactly what it is too. It’s a cheesy, B horror movie starring nine teenagers in an isolated cabin in the woods. All the character archetypes are here, and so are all the tropes. Except now you’re in the driving seat. You get to decide if the teenager should go off on her own to investigate the noise she just heard. And because both the game and the player know all the tropes being employed, Until Dawn is perfectly positioned to surprise you from time to time.
Every gameplay mechanic is brilliantly implemented (aside from general walking around, which can be a bit clumsy). Hide mechanics tied to the Dualshock 4’s gyroscopic controls are a stand out, but far and away the best part of Until Dawn is the QTE’s (never thought I’d ever say that about a game). You can flub quite a lot of the games quick-time events without too much to worry about, however some of them are deadly. And you never know which is which. Keeping your heart in your mouth every time a button prompt appears on the screen.
Oh, and did I mention that Until Dawn looks amazing, has fantastic facial animations, an excellent score, terrific performances by its cast, and is actually a fairly terrifying and effective horror game? Because it has all of that too.
Check out the Words About Games review for Until Dawn.
The list in its entirety:
1) Until Dawn
2) Life Is Strange
3) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
4) Axiom Verge
5) Rise of the Tomb Raider
6) Ori and the Blind Forest
7) Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
8) Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
9) Rocket League
10) Fallout 4
11) Mushroom 11
12) Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
13) Tales of Zestiria
14) Super Mario Maker
15) Invisible, Inc.
16) Halo 5: Guardians
17) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
18) Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
19) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
20) Dying Light