Digression Girl

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Google Image: Until Dawn

I recently played a horror-interactive game by Supermassive Games called House of Ashes. I have another one of their older horror-interactive games, Until Dawn (which came out in around 2015). I had started to play Until Dawn a couple of years ago, but never finished because I would make a choice and end up regretting it, so I would then re-start from the beginning (I can’t be the only person to do something like that. . .right??). Doing this eventually led me to never finishing it, plus I also realized I’m quite a big baby when playing horror games (yet I love horror movies ironically) and get easily spooked.

However, after playing House of Ashes, it made me think of how I never finished Until Dawn. I decided I would try again, because after all I made it through House of Ashes without getting too spooked. Until Dawn is Supermassive Games’ masterpiece. I’m not saying this game is flawless (sometimes camera angles can be annoying and controls cumbersome), but having come out about seven years ago, the visuals, musical score, and aesthetics still hold up very well (it’s a beautiful looking and sounding game). The story is engrossing and the way it unfolds is excellent, the pacing is very well done. I felt as if I was part of the story. There were all these little ‘a-ha’ moments and things that I didn’t catch when I first tried to play this game. For example, I didn’t correlate Josh’s descent into madness with the breakdown of Dr. Hill’s office. As Josh unravels during the progress of the game, you slowly see the façade of the office come apart. It’s these little touches that add to the believability of the overall story as well as to Josh’s mental disturbance. Or what those bursts of fire were about in the prologue of the game, which you find out how it ties into a character you discover later in the game.

Another great aspect is how the game weaves all the stories, side and main, together. You think you know exactly what happened in the past and what is transpiring in the present, only to find out the story is much larger and complicated than you realized. What you thought happened wasn’t quite what you thought it to be and what is transpiring in the present is even more horrifying than you imagined it to be. It’s chef’s kiss deliciously perfect. I’d like to take a moment to talk about the characters in the game. Supermassive Games did an excellent job in creating characters you can love and hate. While one could rightly argue that the bases of the characters fall into the stereotypical teen horror trope, I’d argue that’s what made these characters great. I mean it’s so easy to write off Mike as a jokester jock that is only after one thing. Yet, he absolutely comes through in the clutch during the game and redeems himself. He became one of my favorite characters to play. I will say that Emily doesn’t stray from her base characterization no matter what, anyone who’s played the game knows exactly what I’m talking about (if she perishes you won’t exactly shed any tears).

What else makes this game great to play? Having the ability to make life altering choices with very real consequences. By having the various choices in your hands to make (many times in split seconds—talk about pressure!), you realize how easy it is to do many of the things people complain about (such as making foolish decisions that could get you or someone in the group killed) in many horror/slasher movies. I found myself saying out loud, quite a few times, “Ugh, WHY did I make THAT choice?!” Every decision you make has a consequence of some kind, even the small and seemingly innocuous ones, can cost you dearly.

While there were jump scares galore, with quick time events that made my heart palpitate, I’m glad I re-visited Until Dawn. It was a fun, creepy game as well as story to play and experience. The choices one can make are enough to give about six different possible endings, which gives this game some good re-playability. Anyone who hasn’t played Until Dawn and likes horror games, I would recommend this game, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. For the best gameplay experience, play at night in the dark. . .

Google Image: Until Dawn–I See You

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