As Dusk Falls is a brutal and unforgiving narrative experience

Dusk Falls It does not bring anything new compared to others narrative games already released. And yet, of course, the title offers one of the best Plots already created in the genre. how Interactive dramaThe game is an asset of INTERIOR/NIGHT, a studio formed by veterans. Sony and Quantic Dream For those who have this as their first game. Even if it doesn’t make as much sense as experience multiplayerThe game shines with its unique art style and brutal story of how family interferes in our lives.

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Art style

The first element that catches the eye in As Dusk Falls is of course the art style. Graphics consist of three elements: motion capture of actors, 2D stop motion illustrations, and 3D script. The result is something reminiscent of a comic book, and to create dimension and perspective, characters and scenery elements are placed at different depths of the frame. Imagine pieces of paper spaced and spaced apart, with the characters in front and the background behind, and you’ll see what I mean.

One gets the impression of watching a painting come to life. Character movement is robotic and skips a few shots – I’m reminded of Hotel Dusk: Room 215 on the Nintendo DS, which used a similar art style. The difference is that this technique is used brilliantly here: when the movements are disconnected, there is always anticipation of what the next frame can bring. It’s essential for that edge-of-your-seat feeling. Especially in the early chapters, when the events that drive the rest of the narrative unfold.

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Although much of what’s shown on screen is static, it’s interesting to notice the solutions INT./NIGHT have come up with to give scenes movement – and what’s most interesting is that these ideas are used so organically that you might not notice. right away Elements such as cars and doors are animated in 3D and move at normal speed. If you look at the screen, you will also notice that the camera is constantly moving, as if the operator is holding it. Finally, in chase scenes, features such as lighting effects and blurs are used to give the impression that the character is running.

Soundtrack and sound effects are another resource used to give movement and dimension to events. For example, when the player needs to make an important choice, a quick swing and heartbeat are used to reinforce the sense of urgency of the moment. The ingenuity of the development team in using these resources, necessary to enhance the narrative, the true anchor of the game, is noticeable.

History

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Dusk Falls has one of the most engaging storylines I’ve ever seen in a narrative game – and if you’re into that kind of experience, don’t miss the chance to play it seriously. The story begins in 1998 in Two Rock, Arizona, United States, and focuses on the intertwined fates of two families who have been dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events for three decades.

The narrative unfolds through a constant series of moral choices (some of which were so depressing that I had to go to the pause menu for some thought), and it’s up to players to decide how to act in each scenario. But be careful because the story gets brutal and devastating. For example, in my first playthrough, I tried to be honest, sincere, and open-hearted, and found myself held hostage to each character’s intentions and put in danger by trusting others too much.

The results are real and varied, and it’s great to see how they’re connected over the decades through the results trees available at the end of each chapter. Each character is portrayed with complexity and humanity as we follow how each of them deals with the consequences and impact of events, including mental health.

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It’s important to note that As Dusk Falls deals with sensitive issues that may be triggering for some people, and the game itself plays a role in warning of this content both at the beginning of the game and before the chapters begin. Noteworthy here is the sensitivity of the studio, which in certain situations gives players the choice to skip a sensitive scene that automatically completes with a positive ending.

The story is short – only taking 6 hours to complete – and well put together, but I came away from it feeling incompletely delivered. It lacked answers to major narrative mysteries—for example, a character’s fate changed dramatically in the final scene of my playthrough, but I had no answers as to why that happened. As Dusk Falls was done, yes, so the short campaign was played many times, but since I mentioned a non-game character, I honestly doubt the answers I’m looking for are hidden somewhere in the cauldron of possible outcomes. It’s a shame that the story feels partially incomplete, as if the studio was already planning on releasing a companion DLC, but that doesn’t change the fact that the first few chapters of this story are breathtaking and got me thinking a lot.

gameplay

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In As Dusk Falls, the gameplay is at the mercy of the story. Player actions culminate in moving the cursor across the screen to make choices, engaging in quick action events, and finding hidden interactions with settings.

The experience is less passive, however, compared to fast action, which here requires the player to stop and think, but be flexible in response. Movements are related to what is happening on the stage and include moving the mouse, directional control or finger on the mobile screen to the right, moving in circles or responding to several touches in a row.

In addition, the order in which you interact with the options in the scenario and the speed of the choices matter, because the end of each chapter brings a map of moral values ​​and a play style of who is in control. For example, the value “honor” appears when most choices show that there is integrity and intent to do what is right, while the “ethical” trait appears if the player is guided by strong moral beliefs. It’s an interesting feature because it allows you to compare your own results with those of your friends, but it doesn’t go much further.

multiplayer

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Because Dusk Falls was designed for a multiplayer experience, but its effectiveness has to be questioned. The game has a local and online co-op mode, in which it is possible to create a lobby for up to eight players in the game, through other consoles or using a mobile phone through the game’s free application.

During testing, I tried playing with a second player participating on mobile. This is a somewhat limited resource, because when playing in this way, it is necessary for the participant to follow the game with the main player, because touch controls are used to move the cursor on the screen where the game is being played. Still, it’s an option that allows even people who don’t own a console or PC to take part in the experience.

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When playing together, each player chooses their preferred choice and the result is determined by a majority vote. In case of a tie, the result is determined randomly. And it’s precisely because of these two factors that the question remains as to whether or not As Dusk Falls works effectively as a multiplayer experience. The game consists of strict moral choices, and since everything is determined by voting or randomness, the outcome will not always be what everyone wants. I can only imagine the strife this can cause in such an intimate group of people, and how difficult it can be to keep everyone interested and engaged throughout the story. And since there’s a chance you’ll leave the experience unsatisfied, I recommend playing solo at first.

Either way, As Dusk Falls has the potential, yes, to be an interesting live streaming experience. It is possible to enable the game so that viewers, via Twitch chat, vote to determine the choice of the game, so that it is possible to track the results and moral values ​​of the group that interacts with the broadcast.

Availability

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As an experience that comes down to reflexes and speed of players’ responses, the game will be difficult to access under normal conditions. However, INT./NIGHT is interested in providing an accessible experience for a variety of players. For example, I was pleasantly surprised that upon opening the game, a voice automatically played narrating the buttons needed to enter the start menu, even though I had not even activated this option.

The header accessibility menu has various resources and tools. In addition to configuring the size and color of the subtitles, you can enable descriptive narration for the menu and the game as a whole, extend the response timer, and change the commands needed for quick actions. For example, players with motor impairments can change quick actions with just one click without having to react quickly. Still, the lack of color filters and more options for visually impaired players are notable, features the studio may choose to add in future updates.

As Dusk Falls is also available entirely in Brazilian Portuguese, from the dubbing and subtitles to the user interface, allowing Brazilian audiences to enjoy the experience without language barriers.

An experience that lasts with the player

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When the game was introduced, I got the impression that Life is Strange is a narrative title full of thoughtful moments and a lot of emotion. Both are, yes, driven by the player’s moral choices, but As Dusk Falls is a more brutal, terrifying, adrenaline-pumping experience. This is a story about family and the influence (toxic or otherwise) that this group can have on our lives.

Dusk Falls does not innovate or reinvent the genre, but the experience of playing it was like watching a good crime series – the kind that stick in our minds and make us want to dive into the story again as soon as possible. As the first release from INTERIOR/NIGHT, a studio formed primarily by women and led by Caroline Marshall, game design lead for Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, the studio deserves recognition for the title, especially the story and art style.

As Dusk Falls arrives July 19 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam). The game will be available at launch on Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming (beta).

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