I played Until Dawn, until dawn.

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Last weekend was pretty technologically rough for me, and being without the Internet I did what anyone in my position would do, I went down to my local video game store and bought a copy of the 2015 horror video game Until Dawn. Then played it until I was done, which worked out to be dawn the following morning.

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Until Dawn is brought to us by Supermassive Games. Creators of such memorable content as Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, Killzone (The HD remaster), and Little Big Planet 2 (the PS Vita port only). So… you know, it’s those guys. If you haven’t heard of any of those games, don’t feel bad no one else has either. And they don’t matter, because we’re here to talk about Until Dawn!

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The premise of the game is simple, a group of teens go into a cabin in the woods, and things go wrong. They return a year later on the anniversary for the last year’s horrific events, and more horror ensues. This may seem like a story you’ve heard before, even the characters themselves may seem familiar. The jock, the bitch, the geek, the innocent girl and so on. But let me assure you that there is little about them you have seen before. The game uses all of the classic horror tropes to lull you into thinking one thing, and then violently shifts you into another direction. And it does a wonderful job of it.

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The game is based around a choice system, meaning what you do at certain points will directly effect the game later on. Though the story is linear, it could pan out in any number of ways as it has dozens of branching paths. The game equates this to the butterfly effect; a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, and a hurricane hits somewhere else instead of sun shine. At it’s simplest definition that is how the game works. However I get the strong impression that the developers watched a scene from Jurassic Park to get their full definition of how the Butter fly Effect actually works. Wherever the source, the game engine works pretty well. Most game changing events are obvious as they are about to happen, but the trick is you don’t know what they will effect nor do you know when that effect will happen.

This game mechanic is very similar to the 2010 Quantic Dream game Heavy Rain. In fact some gamers think that the same team made Until Dawn because elements of the games seems pretty close to one another. It’s the execution and pacing of Until Dawn that sets it far apart from its predecessor.

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It’s a very cool game, and very well designed. The cast of real actors like Hayden Panettiere and Peter Stormare make the game feel all the more like you’re watching an actual high-end horror movie, and not just playing a linear video game. For a console the graphic rendering is also far above what I would have expected, and the sets, atmosphere and sound really make this someone that should be experienced in a home theatre setting or with a nice pair of headphones.

I had a great time playing through the game, and would recommend it to anyone who would like a solid 10 hours of being entertained, and maybe a little spooked along the way.

 

 

Resident Evil 7 Demo: PT and we love it!

 

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160617183652I have been a huge fan Capcom’s Resident Evil series from the very first game. I still remember when it came out when I was in high school, borrowing the game from my friend and not giving it back for months. The series has come a long way since defining the genre of survival horror games. Long gone are the days of fixed camera angles, and from what I understand even the zombies are gone from the series now… though they have been missing for some time if you think about it.

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Much like the PT demo for the now defunct Konami game Silent Hills (Silent Hill 5) you find yourself in first person, in a creepy house, trying to both figure out who you are and why you’re there, all while trying to escape with your life. The gameplay and atmosphere seem very similar to PT, but they also hold true to what we’ve seen in Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6. Silent Hill and Resident Evil borrow from each other so much it’s really hard to say who did what first anyway. Though the atmosphere is similar to PT, it’s without the same level or terror and jump scares. You feel much safer playing this game alone in the dark.

The RE7 demo also has it’s own series of secrets, some still without answers. You can finish the demo fairly easily, but move too fast and you’ll miss things like the lock pick, the axe and the headphones. All but one of this games secrets seem to have been solved, but 24 hours after it’s release the one challenge that still has the internet on edge is the mannequin finger. To date no one seems to know what its purpose is, and it’s the only item without one in your inventory. Further there are rumours that Capcom themselves have said they it has a very specific purpose in the demo. Some theories say that the finger will be of use in the final game, but that seems unlikely as everything contained in the demo lives in a world outside of the final game, and none of it’s contents will exist beyond this demo. Much the same way PT was a stand-alone mini game.

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160617183835Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160617184235The finger aside, the inventory system itself is another thing which makes use feel we are at home in an RE game. You can see the number of slots available and assign items to places on the D-Pad. It can be assumed that as the actual game progressed you will find a fanny pack of sorts to allow you to carry more items as has been the case in all the other RE games to date.

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It’s a great demo, and if the final game is anything like it then it will be an awesome finished product. I can’t wait for this game to be released, and as a bonus it is also going to be one of the first titles on the PS VR. I can’t wait to have the craps scared out of me in virtual reality in Spring of 2017.

Josh... Josh! (like that one time in Blair Witch...).
Josh… Josh! (like that one time in Blair Witch…).