As Dusk Falls is a mature tale with believable and never banal characters. Our review tells you about the adventure born from the former Quantic Dream.
Thinking that As Dusk Falls was born from former Quantic Dream (recover their games on Amazon) and that, at the same time, it is by far the best-written work compared to all the other works of the complete software house probably says a lot about the real value of the pens within that team and on the real merits and demerits that David Cage has had over the years.
Beyond this vitriolic criticism, necessary to immediately and frame the project brought to light by INTERIOR / NIGHT, it becomes curious to see how solid and bombproof the adventure is in the first part and a little less convincing in the second, certainly also due to a couple of minor narrative crossroads.
The school and the basic concept are undoubtedly the same, and those who love the modern evolutions of graphic adventures will immediately find themselves at ease with As Dusk Falls, an interactive drama that dries the pure gameplay to the bone and delegates to the player many choices and some action to be carried out via QTE.
As Dusk Falls, the story.
As Dusk Falls tells the stories of two families over a narrative span of several decades, linking the fates of the protagonists in an intertwining that will lead them first to meet fortuitously and then to collide, with outcomes that can be inauspicious, terrible and capable of scoring for always their lives.
How most of the events will be addressed – as it is easy to imagine for games belonging to this genre – will depend on the type of choices you make and the readiness you will demonstrate in certain situations at the limit, which is not so easy to unravel.
Suppose there is high-level merit that must immediately be put on top among the winning characteristics of As Dusk Falls. In that case, it is without any hesitation the ability of the developers to have outlined characters that are never one-dimensional and who, on the contrary, prove to have many facets of character and an experience that conditions them continuously.
The grey scale highlighted by the writing is very evident, and especially in the first part, you will find it hard to perceive something artificial or hastily set up. This contributed significantly to the final evaluation because with As Dusk Falls, we are facing a title where most characters are truly human, real and damn credible. Very American, certainly, but also constantly devoured by doubt, obsessions, the consequences of the past and broken human relationships, never linear or banal.
We are in Arizona, in the rural heart of America, divided in two between the desire for redemption and social contexts that are difficult to recover. Although Dusk Falls takes you on an “on the road” journey after some developments in the first act, touching New Mexico and even Canada, it is precisely in the state bordering California that a real photograph of the two families and of a game world that faithfully reflects reality.
In doing so, the script immediately appears in line with the adult, mature and not too subtle TV series when they have to go straight to the point.
The first family includes a man who has had some nasty legal disputes despite himself due to work negligence, his wife, who is soon framed as a personality who hides more secrets than she should, and their six-year-old daughter. They will find her entangled in a bad affair. They are also joined by the father of the undisputed protagonist of the first half of the game, who bursts into his life after thirty years of absence and a dark past that still haunts him.
The second family is made up mainly of three brothers, three budding criminals who decide to rob the sheriff’s villa (also not reliable) to heal a debt of their estranged father, violent and perpetrator of multiple cases of abuse.
Speaking of nuances, it is important to underline how one of the three brothers always appears to be a fish out of the water, finally revealing himself as the most interesting character of the lot. Moreover, it is never so clear whether reasons of real necessity drive everyone or if it is the typical excuse to indulge their disposition or to alleviate the long-repressed pain of adolescence forever misled.
In this sense, even the first family, made up of regular people, finds themselves making choices that will surprise, on which the player himself will have some second thoughts even after selecting the solution that he deems less risky.
As Dusk Falls opens radially after the prologue, that is, since the robbery ended badly will lead to unpredictable results and very heavy consequences. The game consists of two acts of three chapters each, is completed in about six hours and is entirely dubbed and subtitled in Italian.
At the end of each chapter, through a flow chart, you will be able to see the narrative crossroads taken and those yet to be discovered, which will become clear only after having ascertained the extent of the consequences. However, it is not necessary to replay a chapter from the beginning: As Dusk Falls allows you to start a game session directly from the closest junction point, leaving the previous save unchanged but still giving you a way to unlock what you did not know before (for ” completism “or to get an even clearer picture of the whole story).
Jay is the character we liked the most, one of the three criminal brothers you will be dealing with.
As Dusk Falls Gameplay
As Dusk Falls does not allow the player to move freely within the scenarios but is configured as a sort of graphic adventure or, if you prefer, as an interactive drama in which your task is only to intervene when the game is there. Will require.
This may not appeal to those who want to look a little less and play a little more, but the most functional imprint to the type of story is undoubtedly this while admitting the presence of some structural limits that should not be overlooked.
This is particularly noticeable in the second act, when everything that has happened previously affects the protagonists’ lives many years later. Suppose the first act can panic the player, especially due to the wild nature of the events and the obligation to find the best loopholes to not make everything degenerate or kill key characters. In that case, the second half falls a bit. ‘victims of certain fillers that we would not have expected.
Acting wisely may not be enough: the unexpected is always around the corner.
We particularly focus on minor details and events of little importance. At the same time, important and barely touched themes, together with the destinies of some protagonists, are unfortunately left behind. If only in the finale, a rundown on what happened to them is a problem of narrative priorities that As Dusk Falls ran into despite himself.
Of course, the main adventure of some users may differ from others because, following various experiments, we have noticed how even a controversial choice can be enough to make someone die.
We are not at those levels of absolute madness where a single wrong QTE can be enough to ruin impeccable game management, but you will have to be very careful when you lean towards some choices.
In any case, we specify a high degree of unpredictability even by acting wisely. This is intended to push the player to tackle some sections oppositely or with extra precautions.
Beyond these ways to interact, it will also happen in certain situations to have a fixed screen in which you will have to browse the objects in the room, exactly as it was done with the old point and click.
Graphically As Dusk Falls has a unique style, which highlights the protagonists through the use of a sort of cel shading on real actors to put them in relief compared to the scenarios created with the game graphics (not exactly in step with the times but well disguised to pass it off as a stylistic choice), the action flows through fixed screens in succession to simulate the animations and thus give emphasis to the events, which always manage to be pregnant thanks to the expressiveness of the actors.
Although As Dusk Falls makes the typical mistake of some TV series, and only minimally of Cage’s works lose some force in the queue, it is ultimately the best work done by these authors with great experience in the genre and in the sector. The authenticity of the situations and the strength of the story makes the work soar, creating great involvement and many intertwining that will constantly feed your curiosity from the very first moments.
Despite everything, As Dusk Falls hits the mark, it is clear how much this new team has potential for the quality of the stories far higher than the one in which they took their first steps.
Version tested: Xbox Series X