Until Dawn? I’ll still be awake next Friday!
Game: Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
(Review code provided by publisher)
2015’s sleeper hit Until Dawn gets its own VR Spin-off in the shape of Rush of Blood. A seated shooting gallery type experience, with a host of jump scares and enough atmosphere to make the Moon habitable, this may well be the game to show everyone at parties when they ask about your fancy new headset…
First and foremost, a confession. I’m not the biggest fan of horror games, and as such I’ve still not completed Until Dawn. I know it’s a great game and I know there are a million reasons that I should probably finish it, but I once played it at about 3am and it directly referenced one of my most irrational fears, and I’ve not touched it since… So it was with a huge amount of trepidation that I saw Rush of Blood on the list for the PSVR Reviews, and reluctantly turned it on and jumped in head first.
Here’s the thing with VR. It intensifies everything around you, especially in the visual sense. Things that wouldn’t normally be scary suddenly become intense and horrifying when they’re right up close. Poorly drawn and animated puppets will haunt your dreams, and the slightest movement will have you questioning your sanity. Supermassive know this, and they probably also know that I’m a massive wuss when it comes to horror games, so they’ve made something that’s functionally very straightforward, but will probably sit with me for a lot longer than I’d like it to.
Thematically, there isn’t much to tie Rush of Blood to Until Dawn, and part of me wonders if this was a title that was in development and had the Until Dawn name attached to it a bit later on in its dev cycle. That quibble aside, Rush of Blood is the literal definition of an On-Rails shooter. Imagine the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disneyland, but with dingy corridors and mindless creatures coming to kill you instead of cute and cuddly aliens, and you’re about half way to imagining what Rush of Blood brings to the table. A mysterious fairground owner beckons you into the ride and hands you a puny gun, before the killer from Until Dawn shows up and diverts your ghost train on an entirely different, more sinister path. You then get handed a bunch of different weapons throughout the levels and are faced with increased numbers of ever-more psychotic things that just want to kill you.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t make it all the way through Rush of Blood. After 3 or 4 levels I’d seen all I needed (and, quite frankly, wanted) to see. This really isn’t my type of game, but I appreciate the craft that has gone into it. The atmosphere is genuinely tense and claustrophobic, with a horrifying undertone that will unsettle most. One level in particular is doing a lot to ensure that I’m not going anywhere near pork for a while! As with every other VR title, it runs at a buttery smooth frame rate and graphically, it looks pretty damn good.
Functionally solid but ultimately repetitive, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a good example of one of the types of VR game you can expect to play. These types of shooting galleries are a dime a dozen on Steam and the Oculus store, but this is a good example of how well they can be done, particularly when mixed with a bunch of horror elements. If you want something to scare the living daylights out of your house guests or people at a party, throw this on and watch them squirm!