Here’s our rehearsal of As Dusk Falls, Quantic Dream’s veteran narrative drama featuring a one-of-a-kind art style.
In almost all fields of entertainment, theauthorship represents the true cornerstone of artistic expression, and if in mediums such as cinema or music the hand of the author is often very evident behind the forms of his own creature, in video games it is often difficult to identify the influences of an author in his works. It will be because directors are much more famous than game designers, it will be because many more people work on video games who have a direct impact on the artistic components of the final product, but still struggling to find the idea that behind every single work videogames there is a precise artistic vision, the result of the creativity of the people who made it.
For example, most gamers are probably not familiar with Glen Schofield’s authorial path, and are surprised that The Callisto Protocol is so similar to the Dead Space series. In a similar and parallel way, when Caroline Marchal left Quantic Dream to found Interior / Night after having worked as Lead Game Designer on games of the caliber of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, it was difficult to hypothesize that the author’s creative baggage could take her away from that artistic “fil rouge” that linked all the projects to which she had dedicated so many years of his professional life.
As we know since last summer, the new creature from Caroline Marchal and the other Interior / Night veterans is As Dusk Falls, the interactive drama recently appeared on the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase that is now one step away from release, fixed on PC and Xbox systems to next July 19th.
Less than a month after its release, we finally could try As Dusk Falls for the first time, being able to test the quality of the narration and the depth of the complex system of choices that promises to make us the undisputed architects of the fate of a well-matched cast of characters. Here, below, all we have discovered.
Two families, a motel, and a robbery that went wrong
We already mentioned this in the preview of As Dusk Falls, but it’s worth taking a step back and starting from the beginning by talking about the interesting debut title of Interior / Night. The game fairly faithfully follows the same gameplay plot that distinguishes most of the interactive adventures by Quantic Dream, placing the player at the center of a series of dramatic events that will mark the lives of two families in a multigenerational drama in which our choices will have considerable effects even after decades.
The formula is almost the same as other famous representatives of the genre such as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain, but As Dusk Falls wants to put his own and does so by adopting a peculiar artistic style that had never been seen before in a video game, mixing environments 3D and 2D illustrations to create a stunning interactive graphic novel.
In this test we had free access to first two chapters adventure, told from the point of view of two protagonists whose destinies intertwine irreparably in the remote motel that is the stage for this first phase of the story. The first is Vince, a middle-aged man who is moving with his family and is passing through this lonely county of Arizona. The second is instead a local boy, Jay, who together with his two brothers becomes involved in a robbery attempt ended badly which results in a violent hostage crisis right in the Desert Dream motel where Vince, his wife, his father and his daughter Zoe are, who in all likelihood will be another of the protagonists of the story.
You could consider any further details on the plot of As Dusk Falls as a spoiler, so we’ll just add that the story seemed well blended for the duration of the first two chapters, although the story lends itself to more than a few. cliche typical of those crime-themed television dramas where the characters always do something stupid so that the plot can advance. Net of this obvious defect, the game has been able to field a story full of tension and twists, in a fast pace of situations at the limit that slows down only in some rare situations to focus on the characterization of the characters and on the deepening of their narrative background, through flashbacks that often reveal even crucial implications of the plot.
No doubt about it, we particularly liked this first taste of As Dusk Falls and, from a certain point of view, we can’t wait to reprise the role of Vince and Jay to discover the end of the story. We’ve only explored a tiny fraction of Caroline Marchal’s new interactive drama, but the start is certainly more than promising.
Same gameplay as ever
As previously mentioned, As Dusk Falls has no intention of squandering valuable development resources into innovating a gameplay rig that has worked well in Quantic Dream’s previous narrative experiences. In this sense, we were therefore not surprised to see the presence of a large number of quick time event, which together with the classic screen choices also give rise to considerable plot deviations. Replaying the same section more than once has allowed us to discover how the success or failure of some of these leads to unprecedented implications of the narrative, even if it is still very early to understand how profound the effects of these branches will be.
However, an element that was able to surprise us concerns the apparent simplicity of the set of QTEs, which are here significantly harder to fail than in any other interactive adventure tried so far. It is not clear whether this depends on a precise Interior / Night design choice, on the control system we used (the mouse) or on the fact that what we had at our disposal was a preliminary build, but from what we have seen it is not It is possible in As Dusk Falls to miss a quick time event due to an incorrect input: the only way to get one wrong is not to execute the correct command within the time limit, a possibility that we encountered only once during our test. It is difficult to express ourselves on the subject since we do not know what this facility can really depend on and fortunately this is not the place to do it, but we cannot wait to investigate the matter in July.
The value of one’s choices
When we talk about interactive adventures, the analysis sooner or later converges on the weight and impact that they have player choices they have on the course of history, a critical and fundamental aspect for productions like As Dusk Falls that have no more important responsibilities than that of giving us the keys of the narrative. It is clear, this aspect can only be dealt with properly in the review, but we allowed ourselves to replay the two chapters at the center of the test over and over again, trying to reach new narrative scenarios each time. To better understand the effects of each decision, the summary chart which at the end of the chapter shows all the possible paths that history can take, in an almost identical way to how Detroit: Become Human also did. As happened in the adventure packaged by Quantic Dream, even in As Dusk Falls we will not have total freedom in shaping the ending of each chapter, but the good news is that through our choices we will be able to significantly influence the way in which we arrive at that. the final. Some characters could be killed, others injured, and even if at the moment it is not clear how these situations will develop at the end of the game, it is clear that some choices of the player will have a direct effect on the fate of the characters.
This first contact with As Dusk Falls has done nothing but fuel the interest we feel in the new interactive drama directed by Caroline Marchal, which had attracted our attention already from the very first trailer for its truly peculiar artistic style. The debut title of Interior / Night seems to take all the best from the creative baggage of the developers involved, and although it has no intention of innovating the gameplay canons of its reference genre, the game has managed to keep us glued to the screen. thanks to the good quality of his writing. Lovers of interactive adventures have definitely found their next purchase.
- The first two chapters of the story enjoy a well-written script
- Excellent characterization of the characters
- Nice idea of playing together, even with mobile devices
- History insists on a few clichés too many
- Those looking for an interactive adventure different from those typical of Quantic Dream will be disappointed
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