Games News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Games : Recommended
Release Date: August 25th, 2015 Movie Release Year: 2014

Until Dawn

Overview -

Eight friends trapped together on a remote mountain retreat, they aren't alone... and one of the friends is Hayden Panettiere. From Sony and Supermassive Games comes the PS4 exclusive, 'Until Dawn.' As related by the developer, the classic horror movie set-up turned game that is 'Until Dawn' began life as a PS3 title. Later, it became a PS Move title. Finally, it became a semi-premiere PS4 title.

With each jump, the visuals and the acting talent was restarted. The result is a game which on the surface, hasn't skimped on the visuals or the production quality. In a year (and a season) where the PS4 needs exclusives, 'Until Dawn' enters into a challenging marketplace.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
August 25th, 2015

Video Review


Thanks to real actors standing in for their digital counterparts, and with the help of motion capture, scans, and body tracking, all the movements are incredibly photorealistic. It’s a pleasure to see human (though virtual) beings behave and move so smoothly. The animation transitions are a cut above the norm, and comparatively never take the player out of the experience. This fluidity enhances the interactive horror movie feel. Even the eyes and the skin are great at avoiding the dreaded uncanny valley. Great work all around. There's just one serious exception. The teeth. These kids (and Stormare) have been cursed with ill-fitting dentures. No idea what went wrong there, but mouth after mouth of weird, bulging, twisting teeth are there in a distracting and detracting manner.

Real-time lightning is always spot-on, and makes for a very creepy atmosphere. Smoke and haze add a lot of husky coolness, and shadows are used to maximum effect. In a rare move, the cut scenes are often a tad less realistic than the actual gameplay. (Remember the other way around, in the old days of video games, when developers would try to impress us with FMV and underachieving in-game footage?) There’s also one off-model wolf in the best ‘Jumanji’ tradition. Characters also have a weird murderous lens-flarey glint in their eyes during cutscenes, as if J.J. Abrams directed them. In all, a beautiful and striking PlayStation 4 title that proudly shows off exactly what the system can do.

Audio Review


Characters speak as if they’re stuck in the tubular, bodacious linguistic sensibilities of the early 90’s ("that’s so rad"). However, the game takes place in 2015, and current fads like tweeting and hashtags are mentioned. Sound effects come straight out of the big book of horror clichés: think adjectives like "scary", "creepy" and "screepy" (a mix of both) in abundance.

With my easily upset sense of fear on-hand, I had to turn down the volume and turn on the subtitles in order to minimize the scares. Music is mostly absent (it's something like the eeriness of the 'Souls' with music and foley always a function of tension), and what's there is either faint, ambient or filler. Expect lots of sudden loud noises to enhance the creepiness.

Final Thoughts

'Until Dawn' should be on top of every horror fan’s must buy list. The game effectively presents the tropes and the stereotypes of the genre in a graphically stunning interactive adventure. Those who loved 'Heavy Rain' or 'Beyond: Two Souls' and thought those titles lacked genuine scary moments, will almost certainly eat up 'Until Dawn'. It shortened my life expectancy by a considerable margin.