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A Week Later, I’m Still Scared of PS4’s Until Dawn [TGS Hands-On]

September 26, 2014 Written by Heath Hindman

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It’s been a week since I played the TGS demo of  PS4-exclusive Until Dawn. When I think back to it, the tingling feelings of the scare come back anew.

Sony walked me into a dark, quiet room with a soft chair (sitting down is a rarity at TGS, let alone on an actual nice chair), probably to give me something more like a home environment rather than the loud, loud, obnoxious chaos that is the Tokyo Game Show floor. The show floor is cool, but let’s be clear: it’s also rather chaotic and not at all what the makers of a scary game would want, if they have any say.

So Sony did something about it by giving me an environment that wouldn’t be too different from my own house. My light bar would’ve been on the dim setting and had a piece of duct tape over it instead of being exposed and on the fricking Christmas light setting, but other than that, Sony did a decent job of recreating a living room. I knew that will all this elaborate setup, there had to be a jump scare moment coming. I grinned thinking that I had already bested Sony in this battle of wits. I knew it was coming, and therefore, I would not be scared.

I’m not so tough.

Until Dawn got me good. So good, in fact, that I threw my head back so hard that my giant earphones rocked clean off my head.

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I’d become invested in the story, engrossed by the environment, and genuinely interested in the characters’ struggles. In other words, the game did its job. Not only did the big moment get me, but it was able to get me because there were ups and downs throughout the play. Some segments had me constantly on edge, others had me admittedly relaxing. Then the developers made their move. The game got me off my guard, and yep, it made me jump and probably pull a stupid face. I retroactively applaud.

I wasn’t big on the mandatory tilting of the controller this way and that way, but it didn’t bother me enough to drive me away from the game. I excused it in Heavy Rain and, from the looks of things, I’ll be willing to overlook it in Until Dawn. A game hasn’t scared me this much since Silent Hill 2.

The visuals looked great, the script was well written, and the voice acting was impressive. Until Dawn has a lot of good things going for it. An official release date has yet to be announced, but developer Supermassive Games hopes to see it ship some time in 2015.