Until Dawn Review

Written By: Tyler Oldfield


Seems Safe...

“An uninterrupted story that is all based on the players decisions and quick thinking will have you wiping your forehead in a ‘close call’ way or having your head hang in disappointment”

Developers Supermassive Games first debuted Until Dawn as a PlayStation Move experience. It was set to release at the tail end of the PS3’s lifecycle and to be a game that made motion control gaming fun for the hardcore gamers. However, somewhere during development something happened, causing the team to take a step back in the shadows and reevaluate their product. With the PlayStation 4 set to launch on the horizon, Supermassive—or maybe even Sony—saw an opportunity to take advantage of the systems powerful tech and deliver an homage to the classic teen-slasher horror.  This isn’t your typical horror game that we have all come accustomed to. Your camera isn’t panned behind the characters and you aren’t stocking up on firearms to give the horrors that stalk you a fight. This is more in style of an adventure game–think of the classic Resident Evil games merged with Telltale’s approach to storytelling—that is Until Dawn.

The game starts off with a group of friends tucked away inside a cabin on top of a mountain during a winter storm. This opening prologue plays out as the games tutorial where you learn the basics of the game and how its mechanics work. It also establishes the story going forward and why exactly these compelling teens decide to visit the cabin. The game does an overall good job of keeping its story a mystery. With subtle hints and clues regarding some of the strange happenings around the area only to let your imagination and theories to start processing. I will say that a certain part in the story completely threw me off guard and veered more towards something I wasn’t quite expecting. This mysterious story is just enough to keep you motivated and continue  plowing through the terrors to figure out everything. Throughout the course of the game you will come to like some of these characters or simply despise them. These can entirely play out depending on the choices you make as certain characters that will define who they are as a person. I played the game the way I would as if it was happening to me. I am a nice guy (at least I think so) so when given the option to be more understanding I’d go with that. These choices made me care for characters but it also made some individuals run all over me and belittle me because ya know, nice guys finish last, right? This began to take a toll on the way I viewed the characters who were mistreating me. If they were in need of assistance I was hesitant on whether or not I should or not. Every action you take can determine the outcome of the situation for the best or for the worst. Because there is no “Game Over” I found myself trying my hardest to take care of characters that I cared for the most. Everyone can die and everyone can live, it is the classic case of the butterfly effect. This leaves room for replay value, giving you the chance to go back and make different decisions to get different outcomes.

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The game visuals are absolutely stunning, almost to the point of being realistic at times. This heightens the believability of the characters as they can express fear, sadness and care through the amazing animation. The moon illuminating through the thickness of the forest providing patches of light to help navigate through the blistering winter storm. The sinister cabin echoing uncertain whispers and creaks as you investigate the beautifully, yet haunting house. All the essentials to create an amazing horror atmosphere is there. The setting may be cliché but the creators really nailed the tone and inspiration from the classic slasher horror movies.

I can’t really find a flaw in the game because its mechanics work for the style it uses. If you strongly dislike QTE’s (quick time events) then you will most likely be miserable during the experience. Quick thinking and good reflexes are key to success. Once or twice during my anxiety spas I accidentally pushed a wrong button causing a decision I didn’t really want to do. Keep your composure and stay calm, scenes will get very intense and will demand you make quick decisions. I loved every second of this because if I failed, that was it, bye-bye. The organic flow of the game was refreshing and very satisfying or heartbreaking, depending on what happens.

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Final Word: Until Dawn does a remarkable job at delivering the tone, atmosphere and characters of a classic teen slasher horror. An uninterrupted story that is all based on the players decisions and quick thinking will have you wiping your forehead in a ‘close call’ way or having your head hang in disappointment, knowing your favorite character will not continue on. If you can handle the tense pressure then maybe you will survive Until Dawn.

Verdict: 9/10

Gameplay: 7.5
Story: 7.5
Graphics: 10
Sound: 10
Replay Value: 9.5

 

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My Most Disturbing Creatures In Popular Horror Franchises.

Written By: Tyler Oldfield



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I love playing horror games. I love the tension. I love not knowing what gross creature is going to be around the corner. I love learning the twisted story of my character to find out he isn’t a hero at all. The one main reason I like horror games is the variety of enemies they throw at you. With a horror game, designers can use their imaginations and make their twisted abominations come to life. Horror doesn’t have to be grounded, it doesn’t have to give a reason why this deformed cockamamie evil is stalking you. For this very reason is why I put Horror as my top genre in video games. Here is a list of some disturbing creatures I’ve encountered in some popular franchises.

 

Dead Space Series: The Leaper



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These things are ridiculously creepy. Your first encounter with this thing is in the original Dead Space,  as Isaac Clarke just finished up fixing the tram, and as he heads back, he sees this anathema scurry across the top of the ceiling. The only thing stopping it from butchering you is the steel crate. You later on meet face to face with the creature and they don’t call the thing a leaper for nothing. This picture should simplify why it is my top choice for being disturbing. Its jaw-less face, solid white eyes, and a scorpion like tail, plus seeing the features of what was once a human is quite perturb.

 

Runner-Up: The Divider


AHH This tall lanky monster walks pretty damn fast that it throws you off guard. Not only is this thing strong and speedy, but once it is “dead” it splits into 3 parts causing more frustration. Oh, and it’s loud groan….ugh. The worst!

 

Silent Hill Series: Twin Victims


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This thing takes the cake for being the most disturbing creature in the Silent Hill franchise. When you first meet this freak you faintly hear baby wines, I mean the cries are so quiet you most likely wont hear them the first time. Then just as you’re making your way around a circular hallway, there it is, still as a statue. When you move a little closer the large monster charges you, with both monotone baby faces plastered on a hideous body with only large arms supporting whatever is underneath its black robe. Truly frightening.

 

Runner-Up: Scarlet 


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Another tall and skinny monster, maybe I am just disturbed by them. This thing is incredibly scary though, With its porcelain  like “skin” and black hollowed out eyes with agonizing teeth, this thing was intimidating to fight. Not only does the brute stand tall on two legs, once beaten enough it’ll bend down in a spider-like form and start climbing the walls and ceiling. Silent Hill: Homecoming may not be the best Silent Hill game but it delivered one of the most iconic boss fight in the series.

 

 Resident Evil series: Duvalia


AHHResident Evil has been around for so long that it was real tough to find my top “disturbing” creature. It’s also funny how i chose an enemy from number 5, which a lot of people accuse of making the franchise what it is today, not scary. Well, this is a list of disturbing creatures not necessarily scary. This beast came out of nowhere when encountered, at first it is just a “normal” human (infected by a parasite) trying to machete you. Until you put a couple of bullets in the guy does its true colors show. The person starts convulsing and twitching until they literally burst, into what you see in the picture. It still has its human legs for movement, but its upper half is far gone and its hungry.

 

Runner-Up: Regenerators


AHHYou see a creature on an operating table, behind thick glass and a locked secured door, you just know that you will eventually be fighting this savage. You know they’re close when you hear their snarl, it is almost like they are trying to breathe but something is clogging their throat. When they notice you, they shamble slowly towards you, with their intimidating posture of standing tall, and of course their gruesome looking face. Just don’t let this giant get to close because he’ll leap on you and make your face his lunch

 

Left 4 Dead series: The Spitter


AHHLeft 4 Dead isn’t known for being really a scary game, sure it has zombies and other monstrosities, but it isn’t something you’ll lose sleep over. However, there are some rather disturbing creatures in the game regardless of its lack of scariness. The Spitter is one of those enemies, everything about it is disgusting. It’s stretched out neck,pale skin with exposed blood veins, and of course it’s comically large jaw and beady white eyes. On top of all its freaky features, it spits acid out of its mouth. Gross.

 

 

Runner-Up: The Hunter


AHHHe may just look like a zombie in a hoodie (one reason he is a runner-up) but his tactics of stalking you is pretty scary. This guy can run on both legs if it wants, it’s when he gets low, in hunting mode, when he really becomes terrifying. Just before he pounces towards its victim he’ll let out a shrieking scream, next thing you know you are on your back being clawed to death.

 

Condemned series: Tar-Men


AHHThe Condemned series deals for the most part with tweaked out meth heads and smelly hobos. It’s when you start fighting the “monsters” that things get weird and horrifying. These guys, who i call “Tar-Men”, were an unexpected surprise. You encounter these creeps when you make your way through an empty building, they’re hanging on the ceiling in some sort of cocoon. When you walk underneath them they break open and grab your arms, and force you to look at its repulsive face up close. When they’re not in their cocoons they are bum rushing you with its friends, easy to kill but they definitely cause anxiety when overwhelmed.

 

Runner-Up: Dolls



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Again with the weirdness of Condemned. There isn’t really much to say here. They’re dolls, they want to kill you. Creepy.

 

Well that is all I have at the moment, there is a ton of horror games I could go through with some whacked out creatures, but these were my favorite. Hopefully later I can make a new list with new games. Thank for reading!

 

The Evil Within Review

Written By: Tyler Oldfield
Reviewed on PlayStation 4


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you will be left thrilled and satisfied after battling bizarre and original creatures with one bullet left in the chamber.”

Shinji Mikami returns to his roots with The Evil Within. Survival horror has been absent for far to long and Mr. Mikami recognized that. With the mastermind being backed up with a talented group in Tango Gameworks, what they produce is a genuine survival horror experience.

You follow a detective by the name Sebastian Castellanos, who receives a call that something devastating has happened at a near by mental asylum. Upon arriving, you immediately find out that something awful is going on. Bodies of nurses and doctors are spread all over the main lobby, with the smell of blood polluting the air. You quickly look through the security cameras to try to get some knowledge of whats going on. But you find some strange entity take out 3 cops within seconds, before looking at you and disappearing. Confused of what just happened, the ghostly figure appears right behind you, taking you out before you can comprehend the situation. From there on out, it is down the rabbit hole, as you struggle through torment and chaos to try to figure out just what the heck is going on.

The story has your attention in a sense of because you don’t know what exactly is going on. It is so disjointed and all over the place that it makes you curious to see where exactly this thing is going. Because of this, characters can be a little bit forgettable especially main character Sebastian. He is very bland and just so ‘meh’. He spews cheesy dialogue like “am I going crazy?” in such a snoring monotone that it can kinda unhinged you from the incredible horror taking place around you. I mean come on Sebastian, a four armed-contorted-spider girl chased you down and all you have to say is “You again!” tisk tisk.
The EvilThe presentation of the game is outstanding.The lighting sets off an uneasy and suspenseful vibe, and the gore that litters the hallways foreshadows of what is about to come for poor Sebastian.The cinematic letterbox (black boxes on upper and lower parts of screen) give off a grainy, grindhouse horror vibe and I think it works fantastic. But i played on a 60′ HD Vizio so I didn’t have any gripe. I have heard if you play on a smaller TV or a small monitor, then you might run into a few problems. Unfortunately, this setting isn’t optional and can not be turned off.

The monster designs are very original and add another layer of horror. Ranging from the graphic bloody exposed organs to the psychological disturbing (Laura, The Keeper). Each monster presents some type of physical originality that makes meeting a new monster even more terrifying but also very exciting. The boss battles are for the most part, excellent. There are some boss encounters that are kinda tedious and personally I thought the game could do without, more so towards the finale.

The gameplay is more in line with Mikamis huge hit, Resident Evil 4. You have the camera panned behind Sebastian, and zoomed up closer when aiming with a firearm. You don’t have the tank controls of Resi 4 but more control and feels a lot more fluid, as a third-person game in 2014 should. An element that adds a new layer to gameplay is the stealth mechanic. This technique comes in hand a lot because ammo is extremely scarce. Sneaking up behind an unaware enemy and jabbing your knife on top of their head brings a satisfying feel for both taking out the freak and conserving your resources. Also, enemies are tough. A simple headshot just wont do in The Evil Within, you might lay a solid between the eyes shot but the monsters brains will splatter on the walls as the creature continues its march towards you. Burning enemies is the most reliable way to take down an enemy for good. Lighting a match on a dead body gives you confirmation that the corpse wont rise.

FINAL SAY: Shinji Mikami and company approached The Evil Within in an attempt to bring back what true survival horror is all about. With a few hiccups later on in the game and some rough character development, the game doesn’t hold your hand. Ammo is few and enemies are brutal. You will die. A lot. But you will be left thrilled and satisfied after battling bizarre and original creatures with one bullet left in the chamber.

Verdict: 8/10
Gameplay-8
Graphics-8
Story-9
Sound-10
Replay-7