The Scariest Features of Until Dawn - Prima Games

The Scariest Features of Until Dawn

by Bryan Dawson

Until Dawn began as a PlayStation 3 title that offered the PS Move as the primary control option. Over the course of its development at Supermassive Games, it has become a PlayStation 4-exclusive with no focus on the PS Move. Based on what we’ve seen, that was a good move (no pun intended) for the game, as it’s shaping up to be a unique and fulfilling horror adventure. There are quite a few features of Until Dawn that not only make it unique, but scary as well.

You Make the Choices

At the very beginning of Until Dawn, you’re tasked with making choices. The game asks you a series of questions about your horror preferences. What scares you, what do you dislike, etc. Your answers to these questions help determine how the game evolves. For example, if you state that you have a fear of needles, the killer in the game is equipped with a giant syringe. This is the kind of custom-tailored scares that set Until Dawn apart from other titles in the genre.

The choices don’t stop as you begin the game. Instead, you’re left making decisions for your character. Do you run from the killer? If so, when do you run? Do you throw something at the killer in an effort to defend yourself? Do you hide or try to force open the door blocking your path? All of these decisions impact how things play out and help to further customize your experience. Your choices could save your character or lead them to his or her death.

Characters Stay Dead

There are eight characters in Until Dawn. You generally take control of one character at a time, but when a character dies, they’re gone for good. Since you essentially control the characters and make important decisions for them, if a character dies it’s on you. That increases the intensity as you play through the game multiple times.

The ending varies depending on how many characters are alive and the choices you made along the way. If you need to keep a certain character alive to see another ending, every moment you spend making decisions for that character will become increasingly tense as you fear for that character’s life. It not only keeps the game scary and intense throughout a single play through, but it also makes you want to play the game multiple times. This is something few other horror games can replicate.

Jump Scares

While not uncommon for horror games, Until Dawn features its share of jump scares. This works especially well if you’re playing with headphones on and the sound turned up. Of course the game can only do so much to immerse players. To make the most of the various jump scares in the game, you should turn all of the lights off and probably play alone.

With the proper play environment, as you make your way through the cabin, almost anything will cause a jump scare. The TV may pop on suddenly or you might hear something off in the corner.  Whether you opt for headphones or a good surround system, Until Dawn should give you plenty of jump scares.

Camera Angles

One of the coolest features of Until Dawn are the unique camera angels featured within the game. There are more than a few instances in which your camera angle is positioned in a way that you barely catch a glimpse of something moving in the corner of the room. You may get a fleeting glance down a hallway in which you likely caught the killer on the move… or did you?

The camera angles in Until Dawn immerse the player in the adventure. You have to stay quiet and keep your eyes open so you don’t miss anything. If you get a quick glimpse of a hallway and aren’t paying attention, you may miss the small movements of the killer. If you send a character down that hallway thinking you can escape, you may end up killing that character. With death being permanent, you’ll need to keep your senses sharp, which caters toward the various jump scares in the game.

We’ll have more on Until Dawn in the coming weeks, and not just because it features Hayden Panettiere in a towel!

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