I can only image how Supermassive games pitched the idea of Until Dawn. I can't help but feel that it went along the lines of the devs talking to the Sony Executives about creating a interactive movie paying homage to slashers like Friday the 13th and Scream and films like Saw then giving details on how gameplay is going to look like and what type of budget they would want before turning to a large page that has two words in block capitals on it "CHOICES MATTER!!" The Sony Executives then eye the page for a little bit with their beady eyes before proclaiming "Genius! No other game has ever done that before!" Then Supermassive get their funding and Until Dawn is created.
To say Until Dawn is proud of the Butterfly effect mechanic would be an understatement, it is so in love with the idea that actions have consequences that it boasts about it on the back cover of the box and at the start of the game and twice in the game. It is all so blunt and self congratulating yet endearing as it has a distinct lack of pretentiousness to the mechanic. There is also truth to what the game tells you as sometimes the smallest mistake can get on the eight protagonists killed further down the line. The Butterfly Effect, while not the most original thing to exist in a game(Undertale and early Bioware games have choices that affect the game, Bioware games to a lesser extent then Undertale.) It still provides a good amount of tension and replayability.
The game starts with a group of Teenagers pulling a prank on one of their friends which goes terribly wrong, as they always do. Then one year later and two missing friends later same group of eight go back to the same snowed in lodge to remember the lost friends. Little do they know that a someone is lurking out in the snow planning to do horrible things to them.
Until Dawn is one hell of a thrill ride, it pays great homage to the films that insired it and builds upon it. All the characters start off as the generic slasher movie tropes but gain depth as the game progresses making the player actually give a damm if they survive the night. The motion capture and acting are all fantastic, they make this game and I would be surprised if all these young actors do not go onto more projects as they deserve it.
The writing is knowingly cheesy but is able to pull off the more serious moments very well, the homage and love for slashers and gore fests of the 80s, 90 and early 2000s is worn proudly on the game's sleeve and has fun with the common tropes. I sadly cannot give examples due to the spoiler heavy nature of the game. You will have to take my word for it.
Now, about that framerate...
For a Console exclusive, a game that wants to persuade consumers to buy a PS4 as well as show off the hardware's capabilities it does do a very poor job of it. Every time there are more than two people in the same room at any given time the framerate tanks badly to what I could estimate to be 20 FPS or lower at certain parts of the game. At its best it is at a stable 30 FPS, that is not to say the game is not beautiful, it is but the inconsistent framerate really hurts the game as a system seller and its chances of being placed in my Hall of Fame because it is really distracting.
Until Dawn is a Quantic Dream game that is well written and well acted. It is a short tense fun ride though hell where you are always hoping that you did the right thing and cringe when one of the teenagers dies a needlessly grisly death.