Parents' Guide to

Until Dawn

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Horror game starring teens is bloody, gory, and intense.

Game PlayStation 4 2015
Until Dawn Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 2+

Let your kids play this

Good for kids

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
age 14+

Incredibly intense horror experience has disturbing violence and gory images

Until Dawn (2015) is a horror game set on an isolated mountain following 8 friends gathering on the anniversary day of 2 disappearances on that same mountain when they realize they are not alone. Expect lots of very disturbing, sometimes unbearably intense sequences where characters lives are placed in your hands making the deaths all the more haunting, expect gory images and language along with some sexual material towards the beginning. VIOLENCE: SEVERE This game contains lots of graphic and disturbing violence from beginning to end, but it all depends on the choices the players make. On some playthroughs players may not have any protagonists die, however lots of the violence is inevitable. The context of the violence is probably the most disturbing part, and the most disturbing scenes appear around midway through the game when the cast faces an almost demented game constructed by a particularly sick character. In the second half of the game, the group faces frightening wendigo creatures which disfigure and kill in gruesome ways. I will be separating inevitable and possible acts of violence in two categories. POSSIBLE DEATHS/SCENES: A girls head twisted and torn off by a creature (graphic/bloody), a girls eyes gouged out with long and pointy fingers (extremely graphic/bloody), several people burned and charred by a fire (brief, somewhat intense), a man’s head graphically clawed off and thrown (shocking, bloody/graphic), a man’s head sawed off with claws (offscreen) and then dropped on the floor, his chopped head is still shown blinking (graphic), a girl chopped in a meat grinder (moderately bloody), a girl shot through the eye splattering blood on the wall behind her (shocking and bloody), a man cuts his own fingers off when his hand is caught in a bear trap, very bloody and shocking (bloody/shocking), a man’s head squashed (not as graphic as it sounds, but very bloody), a girls jaw brutally torn off her face, cheek and ripped meat are shown before her tongue falls out of her mouth (extremely graphic/bloody), a man falls off of a mountain and his head splats on a rock (moderately bloody), a man is hooked through the throat and it comes out of his mouth, blood is shown pooling inside of his mouth as he dies hanging from the meat hook (graphic, bloody), a man has his the front of his face brutally smashed off, his jaw, teeth, eyeballs and meat are shown exposed (extremely graphic/bloody), a girl is impaled through her stomach with an arm, the impact is off camera but blood is shown squirting out of her mouth and the arm is shown being pulled out and she is dropped to the floor (shocking). INEVITABLE DEATHS/SCENES: Two girls fall off of a cliff, one breaks her back on a sharp stone hand it is implied one of the girls ate the other down there (mildly disturbing), during a twisted game of choice, a man and a woman are tied to a wall and a giant buzz saw is set on a track to cut either one of them in half, no matter the choice a man is slowly sliced in half with the buzz saw, one half of his body is shown dropping to the floor causing intestines and organs to drop out on the floor and to splatter blood on the girl next to him, it is later revealed a fake body was used however it doesn’t change the fact of how incredibly disturbing, graphic and horrible the scene is making it arguably the most graphic scene in the game (extremely disturbing, graphic/bloody), a man can be stabbed with scissors causing him to knock the attacker out (mild), fake horrible looking and scary dead bodies are shown left throughout the game early on, a man’s head is clawed off, blood squirts onto the snow and his head splats onto the ground (graphic/bloody), a man’s hand is suddenly caught in a bear trap (shocking, bloody), wendigo creatures are blasted, burned and exploded throughout (scary, non-graphic), a dead wolf is shown impaled on a fence with his organs exposed and his chest ripped open (bloody), during a twisted game, a man is forced to decide to shoot himself or a woman while a buzzsaw is lowering towards them from the ceiling, the scene ends on a gunshot and it is revealed the gun fired duds, however that once again doesn’t change how intense the scene is, dead bodies and severed heads are shown all over the mines (disturbing), a man is repeatedly punched, knocked out and tied up alone in a shed (mild). LANGUAGE: MODERATE Frequent use of “f*ck” and “sh*t” throughout the game along with some use of “d*ck”, “motherf*cker”, “p*ssy”, “a**hole”, “godd*mn”, “damn”, “hell” and “ass”. The language is nowhere near as severe as the violence but it is still very relevant in the game but never goes to extremes, so just because of how severe other content is in the game I would call this moderate. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD Plenty of sexual dialogue at the beginning relating to sex and countless other things, the word “f*ck” is used sexually a few times if not just once, the term “porn stars” is used a few times, a man and woman go out to the woods to have sex, they make out and the woman gets down to her bra and panties before it is interrupted, sexual positions can be seen in a Kama Sutra book, this shows a man and a woman mounted on each other in two separate pictures in creative positions, they are both fully nude however nipples aren’t drawn onto the female characters and the buttocks are non-detailed, no genitals are shown. Some other innuendos can be heard, but otherwise throughout the rest of the game little to none are heard again. DRUG CONTENT: MILD Men are shown passed out drunk at the beginning of the game causing them to be absent from an important situation. Mild references. 14+ for disturbing violent content, grisly images, some sexual material and language

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12):
Kids say (29):

This is essentially an R-rated teen slasher movie turned into a 10-hour game. It's brimming with genre tropes, including character stereotypes (slut, nerd, jock), an isolated forest setting, gratuitous gore, and at least one obvious red herring. That said, it's also very well executed. The visual presentation is so rich and detailed that most players will be able to instantly recognize several members of the cast -- which includes Hayden Panettiere (Nashville), Peter Stormare (Fargo), Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), and Brett Dalton (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) -- based on their facial models and body language. These actors do a terrific job of eliciting emotions from the player, making us love, hate, or get frustrated with them. They seem like real people, and you'll likely care about them more than you would most video game characters. This makes their potential (and gruesome) deaths all the more jarring. You'll be sitting on the edge of your seat during action sequences, knowing that one slip of your thumb could result in a character's death, causing the rest of the characters to mourn his or her loss as the story marches on without them. It's a surprisingly heavy responsibility for a gamer to bear.

It trips in a couple places. A noticeably slow frame puts a slight blemish on the otherwise superlative graphics. Plus, clunky controls for movement and exploration can lead to some frustration when you're trying to make your character go one way and he or she inexplicably goes another. But these issues can't keep Until Dawn from succeeding in its aim to feel like an intense horror movie that's been slyly and expertly transformed into an interactive experience.

Game Details

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