Classic Slasher Movie in Videogame Form
I enjoyed Until Dawn, much to my satisfaction. In recent years, I've found myself much more interested in story focused, less complex games, such as the Telll Tale adventure games and the like. I was hoping to get a similar experience from Until Dawn, and I can say I am very satisfied.
The gameplay is basic, yet challenging. You are either moving a character through an area and clicking on shiny things to look more closely at, and action sequences which are entirely quick time events. It totally works. In fact I would have liked the game to be less of the exploring aspect, because that's where I felt the game dragging the most. However, the sense of dread you get from walking around, half expecting something else horrifying to jump out at you, makes the sometimes slow pace of the exploration completely worth the time. When you make a mistake in decision making or QTEs, there will be deaths. Every death I had was due to a mistake I actively made, and that made the gameplay all the more meaningful.
The characters were fun in their own, cheesy horror movie, kind of way. I didn't like every character, but every death still felt meaningful. In fact, I almost put the game down for good after a particular character's death.
Until Dawn stacks up extremely favorably against the games that clearly were inspirations. It is much better written and assembled than Heavy Rain, and was more fun and less glitchy than The Walking Dead Season 1.
Rarely do I enjoy Horror games, but for some reason Until Dawn just completely worked for me. The combination of fun writing, for the most part quickly paced action, superb acting, and consequence really made Until Dawn a pleasure to play. I'm not sure I'll go back for a second play through (I rented the game on Redbox and was able to finish the game in a single day), but with the ability to go back to different chapters and change what happened would seem to make the game somewhat replayable.
Overall, Until Dawn is one of my favorite games of 2015 so far, and I hope more developers make this style of game.