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As Dusk Falls, the review of the interactive drama by Quantic Dream veterans

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As Dusk Falls, the review of the interactive drama by Quantic Dream veterans
Written by aquitodovale

The review of As Dusk Falls, the narrative adventure created by some of the veterans who escaped from Quantic Dream is coming to Xbox Game Pass.

One of the most frequent accusations leveled at the contemporary videogame is that it represents a dangerous form of escape from our reality, much more vivid than that offered by other multimedia works due to the interactivity factor, a unique quality of the medium. Whoever launches these cheap TV parlor arguments does so from positions of total ignorance and does not deserve comment, but at least one aspect is right. No other form of entertainment can match the narrative video game in its ability to make us escape from the monotony of everyday life, since unlike films and TV series, here we are the ones who have the keys to the story in hand. The complete identification with a character, when the fate of him depends only and only on our choices, is a damn natural and spontaneous process.

It may seem paradoxical, but for this very reason those who work on a narrative adventure are exposed to many more unknowns than normal. True, storytelling-centric play experiences have the advantage of making that much more overwhelming feeling of immersion typical of well-written stories, but the downside is that the thread that binds the player to the story in these cases is particularly tense and tends to break, when the narrative exposure loses quality.

It is a risk that everyone takes, which Quantic Dream has run in the past alternating great successes with less inspired projects, and which today has every intention of running Caroline Marchal, a veteran of the Parisian studio who after 18 years of experience in the field of interactive adventures has estabilished Interior / Night with the sole ambition of continuing to do what she does best: telling stories. The team is preparing to launch its debut title, As Dusk Falls, an interactive drama with a very particular graphic style, which promises to make us experience the painful events experienced by two families whose fates tragically intertwine in an isolated motel. of Arizona.

After several editorial appointments, the time has now come to find out if the game will succeed in establishing itself in the landscape of narrative adventures or if it is destined to get lost in the dust of Route 66. Let’s find out, in our review of As Dusk Falls.

California hotels

The Desert Dream Motel

It is the south of the United States, the desert touches the edges of the horizon from any perspective you look at it and, even if the new millennium is upon us, life here is still as hard as it was seen in the old Sergio Leone films. Traveling in the direction of Albuquerque, Vince and his family took the opportunity offered by a move to Missouri to cross a scenic drive that takes them to the legendary Route 66. In the opposite direction, on the same “dark, desert highway and with the fresh wind. in the hair, “the Holt brothers are on the run after being caught stealing from the Two Rock County Sheriff’s House, the town that is the stage for the story told by As Dusk Falls. The fates of the two families will collide at Desert Dream Motela place that the people involved will never leave, remaining marked for life by the dramatic events of that night.

From these enthralling narrative premises develops a lively interactive thriller divided into two books, the first which tells of the violent situation with hostages that arises at the motel and the second dedicated to the deepening of the deep-rooted psychological consequences that still haunt the survivors. During a 14-year story arc we will have the opportunity to face all the repercussions of our choices and to experience the points of view of different characters, even if among these only three can be considered the real protagonists of the work: there is Vince, who fights desperately for the safety of the members of her family, and then Zoe, her daughter, who will have to deal as an adult with everything she has seen happening at the motel. Finally we find Jay, the smallest and mildest of the three Holt brothers, constantly torn between his moral sense and his loyalty to his family.

The unmistakable style of As Dusk Falls
The unmistakable style of As Dusk Falls

Throughout the first book the narration continues without any weak point and indeed, net of some cliché typical of detective stories, it even manages to be exciting by putting in place many situations at very high tension that have been able to keep us in suspense, slowing down. only occasionally to offer narrative parentheses that reveal some crucial details about the characters’ lives and the relationships that bind them. The first cracks in the structure of the story they began to emerge during the second book, which violently presses the foot on the brake pedal to indulge in interminable narrative deviations centered on characters who do not have a real role in the core of the story.

We liked the sections dedicated to Jay very much, but the sudden disappearance of some protagonists and a subtle but very evident inconsistency between Zoe’s behavior and the choices made in the first half of As Dusk Falls have irretrievably deteriorated the feeling of deep involvement. that we were trying until then. Let’s be clear, the plot of the second half of the game is not to be considered terrible from every point of view and is all in all enjoyable, but it struggles to drag the player even minimally and represents an unforgivable wasted opportunity if we take for example the excellent quality of the first part of the story.

What really went wrong with us, however, is the inexplicable open ending who let the credits roll immediately after a sensational twist capable of upsetting all the events seen previously. The studio never made any reference to the presence of a third book, and while the idea of ​​expanding the story of As Dusk Falls could fit it, it would have been much more elegant for a new intellectual property to sort out all the issues by the end of the game. plots remained open until that moment, to delegate every narrative revolution to a possible sequel.

A unique graphic style

Vince and his wife Michelle
Vince and his wife Michelle

For its debut title, Interior / Night has chosen not to deviate from that classic gameplay system that characterizes most productions of this type, aware, however, that this would have risked making As Dusk Falls an anonymous drop in the sea. interactive adventures, often so similar to each other that they eclipse each other. To stem the problem, the studio decided to characterize the game with one particularly original graphic style, which combines 3D environments with images in two dimensions. The actors recited their script in the flesh, and then it was digitized within the game in a very faithful way, with a style similar to that of a graphic novel. We have to admit, we appreciated this solution across the board, as it is not only inspired and original, but also because it allowed us to identify more with the fate of each character.

Returning to the gameplay, As Dusk Falls puts in place the same intricate system of choices so dear to the productions of Quantic Dream, seasoning the flow of the story with a myriad of quick time event which in the case of the title directed by Marchal are never really demanding. In the course of the adventure we will have just missed a couple of them, and we were surprised to discover in subsequent tests that most of them do not in any case lead to unpublished implications of the plot.

Fates crossed by our choices

The As Dusk Falls choice interface
The As Dusk Falls choice interface

Simplicity and irrelevance of the QTEs, however, do not represent in our opinion an accident of path but the result of a specific creative vision within the development team. During the 7 hours of gameplay that led us to the credits, it was easy to realize that according to the author a crucial point of the plot could not depend on the wrong pressing of a button, but only on a thoughtful choice of the gamer. In this sense we do not feel like condemning the philosophy of Interior / Night a priori, also because As Dusk Falls is equipped with a particularly deep system of choices, at least by the standards of interactive adventures. As the summary graph at the end of each chapter testifies, the paths that the plot can take are truly innumerable and often the consequences of a certain decision materialize only years after making it, presenting us with a very high bill.

The influence of the player’s choices on the flow of the story, in addition to giving us the impression of being the real architects of the fate of the characters, contributes to extending the boundaries of the replayability offered by As Dusk Falls, as we assure you that your first impulse once you get to the end credits will be to return immediately to relive some moments of the adventure to discover alternative developments. We also remind you that the title can be played from start to finish along with seven other friends, even via mobile devices thanks to a handy companion app, and we can’t imagine anything more fun than reliving the moments in the story of Vince, Jay and Zoe, taking all together those decisions that will shape their future. The cooperative, local and online, is unquestionably a huge strength of the first Interior / Night effort, and our invitation to Game Pass holders can only be to organize as large a lobby as possible to enjoy As Dusk Falls in the company of some friends. You will not regret it.

Technical sector

Zoe as an adult
Zoe as an adult

Considering the style he adopts, it would have been silly to expect any technical issues from As Dusk Falls, but we were still pleased to find that everything is in place and working properly. The game runs smoothly on Xbox Series X and there is really nothing we can report to you, except for a few small imperfections that closely concern the Italian localization. The game includes a very good quality full voice acting, but it suffers from obvious audio mixing problems, with some dialogue being barely audible, while others are reproduced at a much too high volume. For the rest, the audio sector proves to be at the height of the artistic one, accompanying the story with a splendid soundtrack composed of some country tracks that perfectly match the desert atmospheres at the center of the game.

Comment

Dear As Dusk Falls, we loved each other so much. The debut title of Interior / Night, in its first half, has been able to conquer us with its unique graphic style, but above all thanks to the tight succession of events over which we have had total control, shaping the fate of a cast of characters to whom it is very easy to get attached. Then he wanted to break our hearts, with a forgettable and confusing second act, the very kind of bad writing that can indelibly stain the analysis of an interactive adventure. We would really like to recommend it in a poke, but it’s the nostalgia of the Desert Dream Motel that speaks for itself. Approach with caution, perhaps if you consider yourself a fan of interactive adventures.

PRO

  • An enveloping and extraordinarily intense first act
  • The choices have a tangible impact on the plot
  • The idea of ​​eight-player co-op is simply brilliant

VERSUS

  • The second act is confusing and with little bite
  • The game could be purged of dozens of useless quick time events
  • The ending was not to be left so open



#Dusk #Falls #review #interactive #drama #Quantic #Dream #veterans

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