Where can I even begin? Of all of the 80+ games I have, Until Dawn is the first I’ve ever played straight through, in two days, without taking a break because I got bored. I love this game. It’s unlike any other game I’ve played because while its gameplay style could be compared to Telltale games, the story, the choices and the way the entire thing depends upon your choices, is unlike anything else. It’s stunningly detailed and the acting makes you feel like you’re in control of a movie. Yeah, the horror movie storyline is cliche, but for me, that’s part of the charm of both horror movies and this game.
I have to admit that I did remarkably bad on my first playthrough. You’re supposed to keep all 8 of your teens alive and I ended the game with 3 with their hearts still beating (two of whom I didn’t even like). The game is comprised of making story-altering choices and quick time events and plays out like you’re watching a movie, thanks to the cinematic camera angles. It turns out that I’m not very good at quick time events, as I’m apparently not very quick, but even though I killed off nearly everyone and generally sucked, I still loved the game and I’ve started my second story.
Now how does Until Dawn do in terms of being deaf-friendly? Remarkably well. The subtitles are very easy to read, each line of dialog includes the name of the character and in a few cases, the detail and motion capture of this game is so good, an adept lip reader can actually read the lips of the characters. There are visual cues to let you know an important item is nearby and the quick time events and choices the player has to make are displayed prominently on the screen. The world is absolutely beautiful and quite often you will find yourself feeling like you’re right there, outside in the freezing cold with the characters. The controller vibration is great and appropriate (not constantly occurring with every single scary moment, and not only showing up during incredibly loud events).
I had high hopes for this game, reading about it is one of the reasons I decided to buy a PS4, and it didn’t disappoint me at all. I did have my doubts that I would be able to be scared by it, as much of the fear and jumping when watching horror movies comes from sound, but this definitely made me jump many, many times, thanks to the level of detail, paired with controller vibration. I hope they make a sequel to this game and I hope there are games similar to this one, even if they have nothing to do with horror, in the future. Supermassive Games really did an incredible job with this and they should be proud of how well they did making a game like this accessible for deaf
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