Collision is the central theme With the onset of dusk, the first game from the brand new studio Interior/Night. Worlds, backgrounds, families, and priorities collide in a maelstrom of emotion and consequence, spilling blood and bullets, tears and sweat, in a meaningful narrative that never provides clear answers. With fantastic performances, a smart art style that combines comics and 3D animation, a wide range of accessibility features, and excellent writing, With the onset of dusk is a promising start for a new studio and another great entry in the Xbox Game Pass catalog.
This is a narrative adventure where story and cutscenes dominate the walkthrough. It all started in Arizona in 1998 when the Walker family moved from one state to another. After an accident causes their car to break down, they are forced to stay at a dingy motel while it is being repaired. At the same time, the Holt family robs a local house, but is caught at the scene of the crime and forced to flee. The Holts end up in the same motel as the Walkers, and the robbers take everyone prisoner. And so begins a thrilling hostage situation as a desperate family tries to deal with an innocent, and each of them gradually becomes the worst version of themselves – hidden problems and unspoken hurts are a by-product of this clash of lives.
But 1998 did not end there. Opening With the onset of duskset in 2012, makes it clear that the effects of that one night had a ripple effect for decades.
In the game, players interchangeably control one member of each family. This creates interesting problems because sometimes you will conflict with the character you just played. Whose priorities do you prefer? Will you make a bad choice because you prefer a different character? I really like it when games do this and I wish there were more.
As with all such narrative-driven games, you are presented with a choice of dialogues and options leading to separate narrative branches that flow into and intertwine with each other – all displayed in a summary, with diagrams and connecting paths showing the result of your action. choice after each chapter. And like the games from Quantic Dream and Supermassive Games, there are flash events from time to time; in this case, you can customize them to suit your play style. (I increased the reaction time in the accessibility menu because I sometimes felt that it was unfair; however, losing is also part of the game in these games, so take it how you want.)
The aforementioned summary screen makes it easy to go back and play certain scenes to show paths you didn’t take. And there are whole story arcs and secrets that you will miss the first time. For example, I didn’t come across a massive reveal that seemed to be central to explaining several “plot holes”. (These were just plot holes in my playthrough; had I made a different choice, everything would have made sense.) Yes, it adds to the replay value, but beware of the lack of a “skip dialogue” button – in the year of our lord 2022 – which, like in any game, on the verge of unforgivable.
Until I had time to test it, With the onset of dusk also designed with multiplayer and cross-platform play in mind. You can invite friends and family to play with you, vote on decisions, make jokes and come up with arguments that make it a fun co-op Game Pass experience.
Despite being the debut game from a new studio, the game’s voice acting features video game veterans: Elias Toufexis (Adam Jensen from modern-day Deus Ex), Jane Perry (Diana Burnwood from Hitman and Return Selena) and Sam Douglas (ShowerScott Shelby). But even the performers I didn’t recognize, like the older Zoe Walker (Alex Jarrett), are excellent. Combined with great sound design, everything feels moving, authentic and real, even if it’s mostly static images. With the onset of dusk makes Quantic Dream games look like the immature creations of an exuberant teenager. It’s like watching mature prime time TV. This is not a disparagement of the interactive experience, but rather praise for a great script.
The gaming experience suffers from some technical inconveniences. Aside from the long loading screens (I played on my Xbox Series X) and the odd requirement to log into a profile every time, the game kept showing “how to play” messages even when I loaded a saved game hours later.
And one plot element sounds fake: the robbers, a bunch of country boys in T-shirts, without any exceptional armor or powerful weapons, manage to keep an entire police force at bay. While it helps to perpetuate a sense of frustration and inability to escape the situation – for both families – it feels like implausible vanity. I rolled my eyes involuntarily whenever the Holts managed to fend off waves of cops, often without injury.
With the onset of dusk this is a story about how there are no good people, only those who try their best while the world grinds them down. Burglars have a good reason for robbing; The Walker family is on the run from a mistake. In the world of devils, all that seems important is who has a big pitchfork. While there’s nothing unique about the gameplay, Interior/Night’s efforts demonstrate that the studio is a bold new voice in a genre that can easily get old, and stand up to even juggernauts like Until dawn as well as Career. With its ability to constantly cut the ground from under you, With the onset of dusk does not turn into an unforgettable narrative that we have seen a thousand times. Instead, he leaves his mark, with a long shadow cast by his characters’ sad but understandable predicaments strung on threads that seem to be made of jagged wire. What will haunt you is whether or not the thread you chose was really the best at the time. As in life, the answer is likely to be: unlikely.
With the onset of dusk Releases July 19 on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game has been verified on Xbox Series X using a preload code provided by Xbox Game Studios. Vox Media has partnerships. This does not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Read more about Polygon’s ethical policy here.
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