Collision is the main theme of As dusk falls, the first game from the all-new indoor/night studio. Worlds, backgrounds, families, and priorities all collide in a whirlpool of emotions and consequences, bloodshed, bullets, tears and sweat, within a hearty story that never gives clean answers. With great presentations, a smart art style that blends animation and 3D animation, a wide range of accessibility options, and excellent writing, As dusk falls It’s a promising start for a new studio and another great entry in the Xbox Game Pass catalog.
This is a narrative adventure in which the story and stories dominate the gameplay. It started in Arizona, in 1998, with the Walker family moving interstate. After an accident causes their car to stop working, they are forced to stop at a motel boat while it is being repaired. Meanwhile, the Holt family robs a local home, but they are caught red-handed and have to flee. Holts end up in the same hotel as the Walkers, and the thieves take everyone captive. Thus begins a nail-biting hostage situation, as a desperate family tries to run an innocent family, and each gradually becomes a worse version of themselves – underlying issues and unspoken grievances are a byproduct of this collision of lives.
But things did not end in 1998. Opening As dusk fallsset in 2012, shows that the fallout from that night has had ripple effects for decades.
The game allows players, in turn, to control one member of each family. This poses interesting challenges, because sometimes you go against a character you were just playing with. Who do you prefer priorities? Would you make a bad choice because you prefer another character? I absolutely love it when games do that, and wish more of them would.
As in all of these narrative-focused games, you’re given dialogue and action choices, resulting in separate narrative branches that extend into each other and intertwine with each other – all displayed as a summary, with connected diagrams and paths showing the outcome of choices after each chapter. And just like in Quantic Dream and Supermassive Games, there are also fast-paced episodic events; In this case, you can tweak it to your own playing style. (I extended the reaction time in the accessibility menu, because I felt it was unfair at times; however, failure is also part of the gameplay for games like this, so take that as you like.)
The summary screen above makes it easy to go back and play specific scenes to reveal the paths you haven’t taken. A complete story and secrets for you will miss the first time. For example, I didn’t come across a massive reveal that seemed pivotal in explaining the many “plot holes”. (They were just holes in my gameplay scheme; if I had made different choices, it would all make sense.) This increases the replay value, yes, but beware there is no “skip dialogue” button – in Game Lords 2022 – Which, as in any game, is unforgivable.
While I didn’t have time to test it, As dusk falls It was also designed with multiplayer and cross-platform gameplay in mind. You can get friends and family to play with you, vote on decisions, make jokes, and generate arguments that make the shared Game Pass experience entertaining.
Despite this being the first title from a new studio, the game’s voice cast includes video game veterans: Elias Tovekis (Adam Jensen of Deus Ex), Jane Perry (Hitman’s Diana Burnwood and return Celine), Sam Douglas (Heavy rainScott Shelby). But even those actors I don’t recognize, like the older Zoe Walker (Alex Jarrett), are stellar. Besides the great sound design, everything feels animated, authentic and real, even if it consists mostly of still images. As dusk falls It makes Quantic Dream games seem like the immature works of a naughty teenager. This looks like he’s watching primetime TV and mature. This is not as simple as an interactive experience, but praise for his excellent script.
The gaming experience suffers from some technical inconveniences. In addition to the long loading screens (I’ve played on my Xbox Series X) and the odd requirement of having to log into a profile every time, the game repeatedly showed “how to play” messages even when I was loading a game saved for hours at a time.
And one element of the plot seems to lie: The Robbers, a group of T-shirt country boys without exceptional armor or powerful weapons, manage to keep an entire police force at bay. While this helps perpetuate the sense of frustration and inability to escape the situation – for both families – it seems like an unreasonable perception of storytelling. I couldn’t help moving my eyes whenever Holts managed to battle waves of police, often without injuries.
As dusk falls It is a story about no good people, only those who do their best while the world wears them down. Thieves have good reason to steal; The Walker family evades a mistake. In the demon world, all that seems to matter is who holds the largest pitchfork. While there’s nothing unique about the gameplay, Interior/Night’s efforts make it clear that the studio is a bold new sound within a genre that can easily get old, standing up even against a juggernaut like until dawn And the quarry. With its ability to constantly pull the rug out from under you, As dusk falls Don’t fade into a forgotten narrative experience we’ve seen a thousand times. Instead, he leaves his mark, with a long shadow that casts a sad but understandable shadow over the hardships of the characters drawn through the threads and appears to be made of coarse wire. What will haunt you is whether your chosen topic is the best at the time. As in life, the answer is likely to be: Probably not.
As dusk falls It will be released on July 19 on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on Xbox Series X using a pre-release download code provided by Xbox Game Studios. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. you can find Additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy is here.