The plot is extremely conventional (it features all of the stock characters, a predictable whodunnit mystery, and the stupidest cliches conceivable), but that’s kind of the idea. After all, the goal of Until Dawn isn’t to reinvent the genre, but rather to embrace its tropes and make you a part of them. “It’s a bloodstained love letter to every horror movie you’ve ever seen,” Gamesradar’s Louise Blain remarked.
There are obviously two very different ways you can go about performing your duty. On the one hand, you can be a cruel puppet master and deliberately make all the wrong calls that will guarantee adolescent fatalities, like encouraging the teens to investigate spooky noises in the woods or getting them to have premarital sex in a spooky cabin.
Alternatively, you can try to save everybody, which is a lot harder but also more rewarding. If you are the type of person who often yells at the characters on-screen whenever they have lapses in judgement, then this is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is and prove that you can do better.
Until Dawn is the least frightening item on this list in terms of scares, but it makes up for it with a lot of blood and guts. To get a sense of what to expect, imagine feeding an A.I. bot all of the generic adolescent slashers from the late 1990s, such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, and Halloween: H20, and then having it try to imitate them with its own screenplay.
In terms of gameplay, you are responsible for the decision-making of 8 separate characters (including one played by Rami Malek) and it’s entirely up to you who gets to live and who gets to die. In this sense it is like one of those choose-your-own-adventure stories or that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch special.