Until Dawn PS4 PlayStation 4 1

We all have our guilty pleasures, and Until Dawn is fast becoming this author's. Supermassive Games' slasher title has been in production for what feels like an eternity, with its roots dating all the way back to the PlayStation Move boom of 2012. At the time, the platform holder promised that the title would offer a teen horror twist on the popular genre, and while it's grown up in the years leading up to its PlayStation 4 release, its premise certainly hasn't changed.

Indeed, this is a game that's truly terrible – but intentionally so. The developer has delved into popular culture, and concocted a cast of teenage misfits so amped up on angst that they make an American Pie flick look frigid in comparison. You'll assume the role of all eight of these characters throughout the course of the Cabin in the Woods-inspired campaign, and your actions will ultimately dictate whether they live, die – or, crucially, get laid.

But this isn't the low budget padding that the above paragraphs may lead you to believe. Sony has somehow encouraged Hollywood big shots like Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek to lend both their larynxes and likenesses to the game, injecting it with a true motion picture profile. More importantly, however, it's hired writers Larry Fassenden and Graham Reznick of The Innkeepers fame to pen the script, meaning that it's genuinely funny as well as dumb.

Until Dawn PS4 PlayStation 4 2

The release had us in fits of giggles when we got to go hands-on with it late last year, as it dropped popular culture references like they were going out of fashion. While this can be a recipe for disaster in some games, though, the recognition of teenage staples like Twitter and Instagram had us genuinely guffawing rather than shaking our heads; there's a subtlety to the gags which helps to break the overbearing tension, without them ever overtly smacking you around the face.

Your actions will ultimately dictate whether the characters live, die – or, crucially, get laid

Clearly, it's going to be an acquired taste, and that will likely apply to the gameplay, too. The Guildford-based developer – who's perhaps best known for helping out on the LittleBigPlanet series – has not even attempted to reinvent the wheel here, borrowing heavily from Telltale Games' various episodic outings. Subsequently, you'll spend much of your time exploring gorgeously rendered environments, looking for clues and objects that push the story forward.

Some of its PlayStation Move origins have remained very much intact, with the controller's motion sensors used to pivot your flashlight when you need to make a decision. Again, it's the kind of thing that's going to prove divisive, but it's arguably the sort of attention that the DualShock 4's various underused features deserve. Not all of these are obvious implementations either, as one video shows you having to hold the handset steady in order to avoid the advances of an angry clown.

Until Dawn PS4 PlayStation 4 3

This is still a horror game, of course, but we think that you can probably rule out the kind of psychological spooks seen in the likes of Silent Hills. Jump scares appear to be the order of the day, with many nonsensical sequences reminding us of those old-school fright videos that were popular on college websites in the early 2000s. For that reason, we suspect that this is going to be an absolutely colossal hit on streaming sites such as Twitch.

And that may end up being its surprise selling point: as a social game. PlayStation Experience must have proved really rewarding for the team, as the crowd at the fan event passively participated in the title's on-stage demo, spontaneously screaming out selections for the title's various branching paths. With hundreds of potential outcomes, this may yet end up being a surprise multiplayer success – despite its evident single player emphasis.

Either way, we're not exactly expecting amazing things from a critical reception perspective – but that doesn't mean that it's not going to be a horrific hoot. From what we've seen so far, this seems like the type of title that David Cage would make if he was a little more self-aware, and seeing as we're fans of Quantic Dream's ambition – but not so much its inconsistent writing – this is sitting right at the top of our most wanted list. One spot below Hayden Panettiere, of course.

Have you got the stomach for hashtag gags, or is it this title's creepy clown that's putting you off? Join us in the Jacuzzi in the comments section below.

Will you be picking up Until Dawn at launch? (41 votes)

  1. Yes, I’ve already put my pre-order in27%
  2. Maybe, but I’m waiting for reviews59%
  3. No, this doesn’t interest me right now15%

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