Horror is an interesting genre, the sheer idea of bestowing fear in the characters and in the viewer really adds to the impact, and sadly most of the time this is because we let it. It does not matter how many times we relive the same story or the same ideas our attention is still grabbed, these classic horror tropes are timeless, predictable, but timeless.
Until Dawn plays itself out extremely well when it comes to not hiding what it is, the game knows it is a throwback to all things horror, it is aware that it is an interactive story. Until Dawn never holds back this information as secrets, it prides itself on being by the book and interestingly this is something that really makes Until Dawn what it is. I’ll be honest a year ago I had no interest in this game, in fact I actually had no idea what it was, but once I took notice and saw exactly what this game was trying to do I knew I had to play it. The portrayed ideas could have gone either way, this could have been the start of a gaming revolution officially changing the way we see the industry, or it could have been just terrible and something that we wished was never attempted, thankfully it turned out to be the former rather than the latter and was revealed to be an amazing experience.
When I finished playing Until Dawn I remember saying just one thing and that was “wow, this is a marvel of interactive storytelling, a true game changer that could redefine the way we see and play games”. All of this was true, Until Dawn really is those words and so much more and it comes down to atmosphere, the level of tension, the mystery itself, and the reality of choice and consequence.
Never before have I felt such control, in part Until Dawn does lead you down the rabbit hole that is its story, but at points where its possible control leaves the game and instead was given to me. I regularly feel bad when a character gets killed in any game, but in Until Dawn the pressure was on me, I wasn’t just a passive observer this time, I was the decider, I affected these characters fates. I chose to run when I should have hidden, I chose to diverge from a path rather than stay on it. At many points I even made the tough choices I never wanted to make and the deaths that were caused by my choices live with me, I was responsible. Having this power is wonderful, because of the Butterfly Effect ever choice seemed life changing, every choice could have a positive or negative outcome down the line, this power was gripping, and this power pulled me through, this power made the game memorable.
There is so much to say about Until Dawn but anything beyond the basics are spoilers which ruin an amazing game, I could never praise this game enough and if I was forced to choose one game that really meant a lot to me this year it would be Until Dawn. Still, this doesn’t mean I would say Until Dawn is Game of the Year, it is incredible but so were other games this year, there were any that changed ideas and preconceptions. Until Dawn is a big fish in a pond full of many big fish, so the question stands would Until Dawn be my Game of the Year? Would Until Dawn survive Until Dawn?
Our other contenders for Game of the Year include: