Until Dawn Preview (PS3)

We have to say, Sony have certainly done well in crating products for their own brand of motion gaming. We have always said the Kinect had more potential, but Sony have made better use of what they had, and Until Dawn may be yet another way in which the Move can fulfil its potential. Games like Heavy Rain (and the upcoming Beyond) and L.A. Noire have been pushing the narrative elements of videogames, but those are full-blown, full-budgeted AAA experiences. Imagine what you can do then, if you think on a slightly smaller scale.

Until Dawn embodies everything you’d find in a classic Teen Horror flick… and we mean everything. The studio at Supermassive Games have unashamedly gone for all the details, from the inappropriate Teen-on-teen funky-time, to the cheesy one liners and innuendos to the ‘shock-factor’ moments… the very best of Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street or I Know What You Did Last Summer, all in a slickly made PSN title. In Dawn, you follow the exploits of 8 unnecessarily rich and educated (so we’re told) teenagers taking a holiday at a private Ski resort in British Columbia, where naturally something dark and horrible is waiting for them. It’s first person, and relies as much on atmospheric tension and the ‘unknown’ factor as it does on game mechanics, which are fairly simple – your only objective is keep as many of them alive as possible until the sun comes up.

Why do we even have that lever?

Obviously, our impressions here are based solely on a single demonstration during Gamescom – they’re not necessarily indicative of the entire game, although some things you can be sure will be pretty persistent. Until Dawn has been built from the ground up to use the PlayStation Move, so it has pretty simple game mechanics… the early segments at least involve a lot of walking from A to B, letting the atmosphere and the character dialogue fill in the drama. Every character will be given a source of light – in this instance a torch – which will act as a central element of the story and possibly the game... You point the light source with the Move Wand, and then use the analogue stick to move your character and to look around as well.

From what we can tell, there are two basic elements to this game – the bits where nothing has happened, and the bits where something has happened. In the gameplay demo we were shown, it was more of the former… two teenage sweethearts were making their way to a private cabin for some bow-chicka-bow-wow, and the ‘getting there’ part took longer than you’d think. The gameplay then basically consisted of walking, looking, and hearing the (cheesy) banter between the two characters. Every now and then you’d get a simple puzzle to figure out, and using an L.A. Noire style system of looking at objects, you could collect stuff and use it to progress through certain areas.

Taking the ‘interactive’ cut scene to its maximum potential...

The second element of the game was when ‘something’ happened, in this case where the girl was taken off by an unknown source. This is a faster paced element, but all the player did was really run and look still, just more frantically. You did have a shotgun though, which was only used to clear in-game obstacles, before the segment ended with a typical horror-infusing cliff hanger. Short and sweet, but ultimately not that different to what you had been doing before, there's just more happening, and happening more urgently… you may have noticed I'm being vague by the way. Despite being technically a ‘game’, Until Dawn strays much into the territory of interactive films, and considering its nature you only really get to experience this once so I’m trying to keep spoilers to a minimum as for all I know, this is important. You get the idea though.

Until Dawn is not going to be the most complex game you’ll play, nor will it be the longest (clocking in at around 6 hours, apparently) but we like how it’s experimenting with the interactive nature of the Move to give you a different kind of experience. If you don’t like Teen Horrors then you definitely won’t get on with this, but everything relies on the atmosphere, the dialogue… basically everything else, from giving the player an enjoyable experience. It’s dangerous when the player is unable to provide his or her own enjoyment in a game, but hey, there’s been a lack of risk-taking recently, so what the hell. Until Dawn is due out sometime in 2013 on the PlayStation Network.

Most Anticipated Feature: Well, it’s not really anticipated… but a highlight of the demonstration was definitely when you used the move controller to undress a girl with your hands. Welcome to Teen Horror: The Game.

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By nocutius (SI Elite) on Aug 23, 2012
Undressing the girl :)

It's a small first step but we'll get there eventually :P