Supermassive Games created Until Dawn to turn your expectations of trashy teen horror upside down. Overall I’d say they succeeded – the plot twists and revelations made the game. With Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, the developers tried to do the same thing but for the on-rails shooter genre. I’m not quite sure they were successful here.
It’s important to note that Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is not a direct sequel to Until Dawn. It draws from it, but it’s not really related. It’s not clear how Rush of Blood fits into the Until Dawn universe, but early interviews with the developers indicate that it was meant to be a representation of one of the character’s descent into madness. Which explains the final level to be honest.
Upon starting the game you are met with the soft rock of ‘O Death’ (Until Dawn’s title track) while you travel down a hallway full of references and your first jumpscare. Each level is designed around an idea from the original Until Dawn, except with a lot more clowns. Expect to see familiar areas such as the Blackwood Pines Hotel, the Wendigo filled mines, and the Washington Estate. The one exception to this is the last level which decides to throw most of of the subtle references and places out the window and just do what it wants.
Surprisingly, Rush of Blood doesn’t rely on jump scares and embraces the action aspect on being an on rails shooter. That’s not to say that there aren’t the occasional jump scare, or that it doesn’t have it’s tenser moments and a really well utilised horror atmosphere, but having two guns and the ability to shoot things does give you something to focus on rather than being scared. Don’t expect some of the gory deaths that you experienced in Until Dawn either; no one is getting their head ripped off, at least not on screen. That’s not a critique however – as the game is still great fun in this new incarnation – but more of a friendly warning not to expect the same level of horror in this on rails shooter.
On rails shooters are usually pretty clear in what they want you to do. Shoot things and don’t die. Rush of Blood follows the same pattern, with the basic gameplay going something along the lines of ‘shoot enemies, shoot targets, shoot weapon crates, shoot collectables’. You also have to duck and lean to avoid collisions while keeping a careful eye out for secrets that reveal more story.
Strangely enough, each level was presented with a boss battle that sometimes seemed a little out of place in a horror on rails shooter. That being said, two of the most memorable parts of the wholes game were the boss fights with the Psycho and the wendigos. Both were tense flurries of action while you try your best to stay alive despite being attacked. These two fights provided a mixture of tension and desperation to reload your guns, attack, and hit the much needed weapon crates.
Speaking of the wendigos though,I was disappointed by the lack of them. While Rush of Blood isn’t a direct sequel, it would have benefitted from staying slightly more true to Until Dawn. The wendigos only really take centre stage for half of one level and it feels like a waste of a great creature. Only a small amount of my disappointment was due to the fact that I couldn’t frequently use the term ‘wendi-got’ while playing. I wish there had been more of them, especially when what I’m left with is the final level.
I’ve mentioned this level several times before and honestly I feel like it can only properly be described with several bewildered expletives. Take everything you know about Until Dawn and throw it away. Now you’re ready to take on the final level. This level ignores pretty much everything else you’ve done in order to pull a sort of ‘it was all a dream’ type of rationalisation to the horrible things you’ve just experienced. It doesn’t work, but at least it doesn’t undo all the fun from earlier in the game.
Over all it took me between three and hour hours to play through, and while I can’t say Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was revolutionary or a shining example of what the PSVR can do, it certain stands out from some of the other games that come across as tech-demos. Rush of Blood is definitely a game worth playing, especially with the low price of $34.99 and the replayability provided by multiple difficulty levels, alternate paths, collectibles and secrets.