Written By: Tyler Oldfield
“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.
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.
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.
Replay Value: 9.5
Our Until Dawn review will be published here in the next few hours. Hope you take the time to read over it and give us your thoughts!
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Written By: Tyler Oldfield
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
“Rocket League takes two concepts—soccer and racing—and meshes them together to make one of the most thrilling, competitive games I have played in a while”
3….2….1….Go! I race off immediately towards the ball like a bat out of hell. Immensely draining my turbo for the sake of reaching the ball first before my opponents do. The two of us reach the stationary globe at the same time causing the impact to send my vehicle skyrocketing through the air. My rival is unruffled, taking off full speed towards the goal with a clean break away. I see this all taking place as I helplessly float through the air preparing for the inevitable goal. Out of nowhere my teammate appears, colliding into our adversary sending him into an exploding mess of twisted metal. I finally get my four wheels planted on the ground and take off towards the ball, desperately attempting to do anything to help my teammate. The other teams buddy shows up for a last-ditch effort to put the ball in the net. We’re parallel with each other, racing full speed to the ball. He jumps with a forward flip to finalize the last move he’ll need to end the round. The ball is in midair with nothing we can do but watch. Out of nowhere my teammate comes flying through the screen and miraculously hits the ball in a last second save. Welcome to Rocket League
The concept of soccer meets racing sounds a bit ludicrous but surprisingly plays out fantastically. The gameplay is high-speed and frantic, you’re always on edge whether you are playing defense or offense. You might have that break away where it is just you, the ball and an open field, where everything comes down to you not screwing up and panicking and overshooting the goal. You might be the one holding back as goalie while you watch the chaotic scuffle down the field when suddenly the ball is heading straight towards you and it all comes down to how you will make the epic save. These moments in Rocket League happen in almost every match you play and it is outstanding.
The cars you get to select are all equal with no set stat diagram. This is a plus because everyone on the playing field is equal and the game is strictly skill based. They do offer a tutorial in order to hone down your skills so you can compete with the experts. I also suggest to play a few rounds with the AI through the 3 levels of difficulties. Start off with rookie so you can adjust to the games controls and style of play. Once you get the hang of things gradually increase the difficulty. The AI overall does a great job of keeping things interesting, however; it is your AI teammates that seem to get in the way the most. At times it seemed my teammates would randomly run into me for no apparent reason causing me to miss an important block or even a goal. They are hit or miss when it comes to saving the ball as well. They might surprise you with an incredible save here and there but other times they’ll be back inside your own goal clowning around letting the easiest goals slip pass. Online play is where I highly suggest everyone to check out. Modes range from 1 versus 1 all the way up to total chaos with 4 versus 4. The latter is really entertaining and can be extremely chaotic but in a good way. I personally found myself playing 2 versus 2, this mode feels the most competitive and intimate than the others. You really need to use team work in order to succeed if you decide to try to carry your whole team you might find yourself doing more harm than good.
Each car is highly customizable but these customization’s do not alter your car in any way other than appearance. You can adjust what type of wheels you’d like to drive around in, what kind of turbo you want coming out of the exhaust (these range from flamethrower to a silly rainbow trail) to what goofy “hat” you want gently place on top of your cars body. These aesthetics bring out unique personalities while on the field and shows the developers aren’t taking their game too seriously. The maps don’t really offer anything new other than they’re set in different environments. You could be playing in a normal soccer field arena to an industrial type stadium with trains passing by overhead. It would have been nice if they added the option to have little obstacles inside the arena–think bumpers or dips in the ground—to kind of change it up and add a new type of gameplay element.
Final Word: Rocket League takes two concepts—soccer and racing—and meshes them together to make one of the most thrilling, competitive games I have played in a while, even if the AI seems a bit dull-witted at times and the maps don’t offer anything special. With unique customization to give your car a personality and having a balanced playing field Rocket League is a game that many will stick with for months, if not years.
Written By: Tyler Oldfield
Review on PlayStation 4
“with a solid team and some friends, you might find some endless hours of fun hiding away.”
Four hunters. One monster. Hunt it. Kill it. Those words pretty much sum up the whole plot of the game. However, once you dive deep into this game you’ll soon discover there is much more to be discovered than the simple hunt and kill scenario. The makers of Left 4 Dead bring their teamwork formula that they have been so good at into Evolve. Each class has a specific role to play in order to keep your team alive and moving. Failure to play the role you’re given the way it should be played could cost your entire team the round, leaving the monster victorious. The medic should hang back, taking pot shots at the monster while observing your teammates and making sure everyone is topped off on health. This class may just be the most important out of the four, if your medic goes down it will make things extremely difficult. The support class is responsible for helping mark the monsters whereabouts or making the battle with the monster a little easier for the hunters. Throwing a stasis bomb causes the monsters movement to slow down, and calling in a dust bomb will liter the battlefield with green powder to help outline the monster (in green) and expose its location. If you play as the trapper, you’re helping hand requires you to set specific traps down to help capture and locate the monster. The most effective equipment the trapper carries is this bottle type device, when thrown creates an arena type dome that traps the creature forcing the monster to fight and not having the ability to flee for a certain amount of time. Lastly is the assault class, and basically the job is to just deal as much damage to the monster as much as possible. Weapons range from shotguns, mini-guns to a lightning-arc type gun. The monster you’re hunting isn’t the only thing that you need to worry about while traveling across the landscape. You will come across the planets many different species, and running into these creatures can produce just as big of a problem. You can’t win matches as hunters if everyone decides to do their own thing, you absolutely need team work in order to succeed.
Playing as the monster is a big change of pace compared to playing as the hunters. There are three monsters that are playable, the last two are unlock-able once you’ve ranked up to a certain point with the first monster. With each class of monster having its own unique look and set of skills. The Goliath is a giant lizard-ish looking beast that could probably put up a good fight against Godzilla. It specializes in brute force by throwing huge boulders or jumping high in the air and slamming down on its helpless victims. The Kracken takes on a squid like appearance and specializes in using lightning type attacks. It can fly through the air while throwing down electrified bubble projectiles. The final monster, the Wraith, is a stealthy creature. Slithering around the map and teleporting in and out. This monster is very quick and can deal some pretty brutal melee hits and vanish within seconds. As a monster you start off with a few seconds head start to get away from the hunters before they hell dive into the map. You must then hunt and consume wild life to help boost your level up. The goal is to get to level 3 so that you can be a serious threat to the hunters. While you are trying to hunt down the species that inhabit the planet, the hunters are doing their best to hunt you down and kill you. If you get trapped by the hunters while you are at level one than you will have a hard time trying to stay alive. You must sneak, smell and play smart when controlling the lumbering beast.
The maps are my biggest gripe I have with the game. They all seem to blend together, with nothing really distinctive about each one. I can’t tell you the names of the maps because nothing really stands out, they are all mostly filled with rocks, water and trees. This makes it kind of difficult to give directions as to where you are located or where the monster may be. Thankfully there is a feature where you can mark the area you are looking at by clicking in the right stick. This is helpful for those who like to remain off the headset and be mute. The maps are filled with hazardous traps that makes it interesting when searching for the monster. From crocodile inspired monsters that patiently wait in bodies of water to get the jump on you. Carnivorous plants will instantly snap its jaws around you if you mistakenly step on their open mouths. Without the help of your team nearby you might as well kiss your tail goodbye.
FINAL SAY: Evolve turns a simple concept of 4-vs-1 into a game of teamwork. You may be doing the same thing over and over with a set of bland, uninspired maps. But with a solid team and some friends, you might find some endless hours of fun hiding away.