A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a horror-based shooter for PlayStation VR. It has intense violence, blood, and gore. You're tasked with aiming and shooting at enemies who jump out at you with weapons including handguns, machine guns, and shotguns. You'll not only see spurts of blood but can blow off limbs. Some scenes show decapitated people and animals (such as pigs' heads on sticks) and someone sawed to death. There's also frequent use of strong profanity, including the word "f--k." Parents should also be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players’ physiological development.
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What's it about?
UNTIL DAWN: RUSH OF BLOOD is an action-horror game for PlayStation VR. You play from a first-person perspective, riding a slow roller coaster through a haunted carnival populated with demonic clowns, zombies, giant spiders, and other ghastly enemies. You'll aim and shoot firearms as they jump out at you or run toward you from all angles, plus you'll need to duck and dodge everything thrown at you, too. You'll play through seven chapters, each with a different nightmarish theme, and can compare your shooting score against a global leaderboard, if you like. While the game is "on rails" -- meaning you don't walk around -- there are multiple paths to take per level, each stage is replayable, and you can choose from multiple difficulty levels.
Is it any good?
Horror fans who've invested in a PlayStation VR headset will like this game so long as they don't expect an extraordinary experience. First, the good news: The game developers did a great job creating a dark, atmospheric, and decrepit amusement park. There are some legitimately creepy enemies, too, especially if you fear clowns, giant bugs, zombies, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night. Aiming and shooting these creatures feels incredibly intuitive, thanks to responsive and accurate PlayStation Move controls. There's some variety between the levels, including a climactic conclusion worth working toward.
The not-so-good news: Repetition. The aim-and-shoot gameplay gets a little tiring after a while -- especially with the predictable "jump scares." Repeat a level and you'll learn when and where you can expect a pop-out thrill, which defeats the purpose. While it's longer than some other PlayStation VR games, some might not like that you can finish the game in a day or so. At least, as previously mentioned, you can go back and try to improve your score or opt for a higher difficulty level. It's too bad there's no multiplayer support, extra game modes, or other bonus content to help justify the purchase. The end result is that Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is good but not great. It explores what scarier experiences could be like in VR and puts your trigger finger and wits to the test but bores you with thin, repetitive play.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Does a "shooting gallery"-like game like this have to be so graphic? Can't a developer make a scary game without the blood and gore? Or is this over-the-top violence what people want in a virtual reality carnival adventure?
Talk about spin-offs. This shooter is vastly different from the original game, Until Dawn, but why do you think the developers choose to take movement controls away from the player? Does that help or hurt the gameplay?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: SIEA
- Release date: October 31, 2016
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Bugs, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.