Until Dawn begins with a dark, frigid cabin in the woods. As the camera pans around, the scene quickly shifts to a discussion from within the cabin, where you are introduced to several individuals. The initial cutscene helps to give you a feel for the characters’ personalities before having you to take control of Beth, the girl in front of the window. Controlling Beth allows you to learn the basic gameplay mechanics while absorbing several key story elements.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward. Most of your interactions will involve moving a character and following the button prompts on the screen. Objects that shine with a small glint of light are ones that you can interact with or inspect. Some situations consist of timed choices or QTE’s (quick time events), requiring a quick reaction to the prompts. It is important to stay alert during cutscenes, as you will encounter several sudden, timed decisions. Missing your chance to appropriately respond to timed choices can result in drastic or unwanted changes in the outcome of your story.
As you control Beth, you are free to roam around the kitchen area to interact with several objects. To your left, you’ll find a note on the island counter written to Hannah. As you walk to the opposite side of the counter, you’ll find an empty liquor bottle near Beth’s brother Josh, who appears to have passed out from the contents of the bottle. Please note that we will only be mentioning some of the collectibles in this walkthrough, as they will be fully covered in a separate post.
Your first player choice comes after the bedroom cutscene involving Mike, Hannah, and the others. You’re tasked with choosing to either Wake Josh or Find Others. We chose to wake Josh, which quickly led into a frantic cutscene.
As Beth darts into the woods, be prepared for a QTE and another player choice. You will be given the option to either go the Safe route, or the Fast route. In our playthrough we opted for the former. Feel free to choose either, but keep in mind that your experience will likely differ from ours if you choose the other option.
Soon after, you are confronted with yet another option: either Follow Footprints or Follow Noise. We once again chose the former. As Beth treks deeper into the snowy forest, continue to follow the tutorial prompts to use her cell phone as a flashlight, and then take a moment to get used to the movement mechanics. The left stick is used for walking, while the right stick moves your head and directs any light source you may be carrying. Holding L1 allows you to walk a bit faster.
Make your way down the path until you find an item of interest on the ground ahead. The object is called a Totem, and is one of several kinds that can be found in the game. This particular one is called a Death Totem, which generally indicates how a member of your group will die. However, this is not necessarily set in stone. Depending on the actions and choices you make throughout the game, it is possible to have an outcome that differs from the Totem’s prediction.
Continue along the path until you find Hannah ahead. Once this intense scene plays out, you are faced with a timed decision to either Drop Hannah or Let Go. In our playthrough, we chose to drop our beloved sister in an attempt to save ourselves. Clearly, our hubris got the best of us.
After making this tough decision, the prologue concludes. You will find yourself in the office of Dr. A.J. Hill, where you will answer a series of questions. Answer how you see fit, keeping in mind that your choices may have an effect on the outcome of your playthrough.