Can You Survive Until Dawn?


Arianna Howard

On August 25th, a game that would receive rave reviews and change the world of horror was released in North America. Until Dawn is the newest interactive drama survival horror video game for our students to delve into. Rated M for an extensive list of blood/gore, intense violence, sexual themes, and strong language, it is not for the faint of heart. If you do decide to play it, be very careful and don’t get attached to anyone, because the fate of almost every character is in your hands. No matter how hard you try, if you miss little queues and hints throughout the game, everything could be ruined.

An abundance of YouTubers known for gaming have produced walk-throughs of Until Dawn, such as Pewdiepie, Markiplier, BereghostGames, but this article is based on Cryaotic’s gameplay. On his twitter, Cry described Until Dawn as “…a breath of fresh air into the otherwise stale horror gaming genre. Which is surprising since it utilizes old cliché tropes.” As for the cast, actors include Hayden Panettiere, Rami Malek, Brett Dalton, Meaghan Martin, and many more.

The game itself takes place on a mountain known as the Blackwood Pines, starting at sundown. However, the prologue takes place a year prior, to serve as plot for the rest of the events. After a prank is played on her, Hannah Washington dashes off into the woods, to be followed by her sister Beth. When the two start to realize they are being chased by something unknown and seemingly unfriendly, they find themselves on a cliff, trapped between either a huge fall or their pursuer. Inevitably, they fall and the player is to believe that they have died.

Now, a year later, their friends, Samantha, Mike, Emily, Jessica, Matt, Ashley, Chris, and their brother, Josh, find themselves back on the mountain trying to relax in honor of Hannah and Beth. It is then that they realize, they are not alone on the mountain and someone, or something is trying to get them. You switch between every character, either trying to save them, or allowing them to get killed. Every character is capable of dying, and you can save just about all of them. Your goal is to survive… until dawn.

As for gameplay, Until Dawn is packed with quick times events where the player has to respond to an on-screen prompt within a short amount of time. Mess up any one of these QTEs in Until Dawn, and your game can go south before you even know it. As you play the game, you will find various totems that are color coded by black for death, yellow for guidance, white for fortune, red for danger. The purpose of the totems is to warn you for potential outcomes, but most of these can be avoided. The most difficult part of the gameplay is one action that can kill a character in an instant. In intense situations, your game will ask you to hold the controller completely still. One little shift, and the story changes completely, such as some of the characters being able to die based on one screw up when it comes to staying still.

One piece of Until Dawn that usually goes unnoticed, but is very important, is the music. Famous to the industry, Jason Graves was hired as the composer for the game. His resume includes the beautiful and breathtaking soundtrack from The Order; 1886, Marvel Universe, and The Hobbit. Another incredible feature of Until Dawn is the graphics. Every character looks almost exactly like their actor thanks to the technology of motion and facial captures. Players are immersed into an intensely realistic world, and it’s hard not to become captivated.

Until Dawn is filled with plot twists and moments that will take your breath away, whether it be from surprise or fear. Players will constantly be on the edge of their seat, constantly wondering if they made the right decisions throughout the game. Think you can handle it? Until Dawn is available exclusively for PS4.