A nightmarish series of trips.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood on PlayStation VR and PS4
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is the perfect launch VR title to scare the crap out of your friends who rarely play video games or can’t get to grips with some of the complex mechanics in modern-day games. At heart, it’s a lightgun shooter from the arcades, wrapped in the skin of one of last year’s surprise hits with a dose of extra immersion courtesy of PSVR. And while it sounds like a perfect recipe for success, it doesn’t always hit the target.
Rush of Blood’s ‘campaign’ is spread over seven different stages which will see you shooting all manner of creepy targets. While you’re likely to see some familiar faces from the 2015 title popping up every so often, the majority of targets will often be unforgettable and repetitive clones. The story that strings it all together is neat enough, though the real crux of it doesn’t properly get addressed until the latter half of the story mode’s 2-4 hour lifespan. Despite this, I was still finding myself asking the same question of why this needed to be an Until Dawn game when I took my PSVR headset off, as I was when it was first revealed. This could very easily have been a standalone scary on-rails shooter without the use of the IP.
Besides that, the actual gameplay is largely enjoyable. Levels have a range of intense shooting and fast-paced roller coaster moments that make good use of VR’s immersive aspects. You’ll jump in horror as an enemy blindsides you, and duck, lean and feel like you’re zipping along the side of a snow-covered cliff at high speed. As an additional objective to simply shooting every enemy that you see, each level also has a number of skittles for you to collect as you make your way around, with some really being difficult to find amidst the chaos of enemies lunging towards you. Though these serve as little more than another reason to play through the levels again, they did have me surveying my surroundings a little more than I would have had they been absent.
Of course, the real fun with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood comes in the form of going through the levels in an attempt to best your previous scores and outdoing your friends’ best efforts, too. Seeking out that vase in the environment you can use to keep your score multiplier going that little bit longer can be intense and it certainly seems like the leaderboards are what will keep players returning to Rush of Blood. Though I don’t quite know how long the appeal will stick around for.
With only seven levels to blast your way through on a range of difficulties from the simple Easy to the crushingly difficult Insane, things can get a little stale particularly quickly. Especially when you factor the tutorial and boss stages within this number.
In terms of Rush of Blood’s use of PSVR, it certainly felt like it benefited from the peripheral. Jump scares were far more terrifying, enemies were scarier, and the action as a whole just felt a lot more intense. Considering on-rails lightgun games were simply about quick thrills, PSVR certainly helped Rush of Blood in that regard. Had I been playing this on my ordinary TV with some Move controllers, the whole thing would have felt far less compelling, even if the resolution looked better.
This is something that I couldn’t shake during my time spent with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Despite at times looking great, particularly when things are up close and in your face, enemies and environments in the distance really start to look a little shabby with PSVR. Though you’ll seldom find yourself looking into the distance with a lot of the action being focused so close to home, it was a little jarring when looking ahead at what’s to come to only see a visual blur slowly gain clarity as it got closer to you.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a good game if you’re looking for something to throw on every once in a while for some quick scares. Its story mode isn’t going to keep you enthralled for all too long and its story was forgettable. While some may be tempted to replay the levels for the skittles or to beat their friend’s high score, it’s not likely to be the case for the majority.
Score: 3/5 – Fair
• Fun gameplay while it lasts.
• High score chasing and skittles offer replayability.
• PSVR’s immersion is a definite enhancement to the experience.
• Distant objects can appear blurry.
• Light on content.