I bought Until Dawn today. It feels like I've been waiting for this game forever. I've only played a small amount because I'm waiting until it's well and truly dark before I get into it. Still, I thought I'd start a thread and post my initial impressions.
So far, it's like playing a horror film. It opens with a group of friends partying at a lodge in the mountains. The friends play a prank on a shy girl and she ends up running out into the snow, with her sister chasing after her. They're never seen again. Cut to a year later, and the friends are once again meeting at that lodge on the cold, isolated mountain. Obviously things aren't going well.
Sure, the plot's kind of generic so far but it works. The game has focused on fleshing the characters out and showing their dynamics to one another. They all don't get along, that's for sure. The characters are stereotypes at the moment, but the actors help elevate them above that. Hayden Panettiere, Brett Dalton, Rami Malek, Peter Stormare, and several others lend their looks and voices to the characters.
So far the game reminds me of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls in how the mechanics are. You control the character (switching between all the characters at various points) and interact with items in your surroundings. When it comes time for more complicated actions like climbing a wall or running away from something, QTEs take over. I'm fine with that kind of gameplay but not I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.
Choice has been touted as a big mechanic of the game, and I've seen it in action. Early on I had Sam go snooping through Chris's phone and he caught her. A bit after that, Chris steals a letter out of another girl's hands and says it's okay because Sam did the same thing to him.
It's not just how characters react to the choices you make. Depending on what you have a character say or do, or not say or do, will affect how the character's perceive each other. To see how a character is perceived you just have to go to the pause menu and it lists all the characters with a green bar showing how much they like or dislike you. I'm guessing if they don't like you that much then they might not come to your rescue.
The game is broken up into chapters, and between the chapters you're treated to a psychiatrist trying to find out your deepest fears. At first he shows you a picture and asks if it frightens you. If it does, he asks why. Later he gives you a book to flip through with pictures of various scary things like snakes, spiders, gore, etc. and asks you to point out the ones that scare you the most. It's pretty cool and I'm hoping the game will tailor itself to my fears to make for a more frightening experience.