Going into As Dusk Falls we were a little apprehensive. Xbox's marketing push has been somewhat light with this one considering it's an Xbox Games Studios effort, and we've only just seen Road 96's similar tale of loss and hope through to its fantastic conclusion. As it turns out, we needn't have worried at all; As Dusk Falls is a thoroughly gripping story from start to finish and a fine addition to Xbox Game Pass.
The basic premise is this: two families' fates become intertwined when a robbery goes horribly wrong and ends up a bit of a motel massacre (we won't spoil it beyond that). From there, you'll go on one hell of a journey with a broad cast of characters, each of whom seem to have their own plan of how to get out of the mess that's just unfolded.
As a premise it's not entirely unique; we've watched and played through plenty of crime dramas before. However, the cast — and each of their performances — elevates As Dusk Falls to one of the best video game stories we've played through in recent years, and one that felt engaging right to the end. Although the game's stop motion, visual novel-esque presentation may put some off, it doesn't hurt the game or its story delivery one bit.
As for how you'll interact with that story, there are three main gameplay elements. One is a simple Telltale-like dialogue choice tree, which is often presented in scenes where making a decision will dramatically alter the narrative. Another is where certain scenes are displayed like an adventure game, and you'll have to find key items to progress - sometimes with a time limit. Finally, quick-time events play a major role as well, although never so much that they become irritating for those who don't particularly enjoy QTEs.
All three are evenly utilised throughout the game, and they all kept us engaged and eager to carry on discovering the story. In fact, this reviewer joked with the PX crew that they often accidentally fail QTE prompts in games like this due to a dwindling attention span - but not with As Dusk Falls. We were glued to the screen through pretty much every scene thanks to fantastic writing, dialogue delivery and cutscene presentation.
It's worth noting as well that the game can be played in local or online co-op, using a voting system for dialogue choices and story decisions. In fact, there's an As Dusk Falls companion app too (Android, iOS), so if you've got a bunch of mates around for co-op, you can all vote on key decisions and perform QTE sections on your phones. We didn't get a chance to test this out during the preview period, but it's something we'll definitely look at for a second story playthrough.
We will add one warning though - at times the story in Ask Dusk Falls is quite heavy, with a particular focus on trauma, violence and suicide. To us it never became too dark or overbearing in any way, but be warned; the story isn't very light hearted if that's more your pace.
That's not to say As Dusk Falls doesn't hit you in the feels from time to time though. It works character relationships into its story really well, and you do feel a tangible rapport building between ordinary people in what is a pretty shocking moment in all their lives. It's just a really well constructed story overall, and its twists and turns born from your choices make it feel like quite a personal story in the end.
And that's why As Dusk Falls is quite a hard game to write a review on. It really is all about the game's storyline — don't come here expecting much gameplay at all — and we don't want to spoil any more details of our playthrough if we can avoid it. Admittedly though, your playthrough could be very different to ours. Some choices have a massive impact in As Dusk Falls, and the game presents all the decisions you make as a giant choice map as chapters come to a close. There's certainly replayability here, put it that way, if you want to experience where the story can go when different decisions are made.
As Dusk Falls is a cracking crime thriller and feels like the exact thing we should be seeing on a regular basis from Xbox Game Studios on Game Pass. Its 6-8 hour length feels just right for a game of this nature, and that also makes it feel right at home on Xbox's subscription service. Oh, and the fantastic storyline that never let us wriggle free of its grip? Yeah, that's not a bad reason to play it on Game Pass either.
So very happy it turned out great ☺️👍
This is getting incredible reviews
Thanks for highlighting this. I’ll give it a go!
But…. I don’t wanna fall
Cant stand stop motion visual novels so I cant play this no matter how good the writting and story is. In an age where we can create video game characters with proper acting and readable emotions, telling such a tale with such static imagery is a weird choice.
Look forward to trying this, the unusual visual style made it stand out at the showcase.
I am going to try it as it's on gamepass but I suspect I won't play this much.
I can appreciate a good story but it's a game too which should come engaging gameplay to match the great story telling.
Occasionally doing a qte or selecting a dialogue isn't what I consider engaging gameplay. So no matter how good the story I am going to lose interest or patience
Each to their own of course so if this floats your boat more power to you and I hope you have fun with it.
I just would like more game in my games 🙂
Is it just series S/X or is there a xb1 version?
This score seems pretty high compared metacritics 76 average, still not a bad game and maybe il give it a try, only thing putting me off are the character models
Glad it’s getting great reviews, but I’m not into these narrative type games. Too little actual gameplay for me.
Looking forward to playing this one. Wife doesn't like violence so likely won't get her to play co-op with me lol.
The biggest problem is that this game launches an hour before Horizon 5's Hot Wheels expansion, which itself launches an hour before Halo Infinite's new event.
Tomorrow evening is going to be a long one 😁
@Titntin I tend to agree with you: it does seem cheap and a bit lifeless, from a presentation perspective. However, maybe we should take a look...I mean, it's on GP, so what's the risk?
@UltimateOtaku91 There’s a few outliers pulling that score down. Both IGN and GameSpot gave it a 9 as well. Not very often that they agree on that high of a score.
@OldgamerDave Absolutely agree, except ive too many games to play, so I need to be stern with myself!
I have quite a few on the go, and with the forza dlc arriving and the release of stray this week adding to the pile, Im going to be picky! Nice problem to have.. 😀
@Stocksy supposedly is also on xbox one
I would rather play an actual game, thanks.
That's a good score and it's on Game Pass so I'll download and try it out. Co-op too! Mabey I can get a friend to play it with me.
I wasn’t sure at first but I now I am excited to play it. I just went through Until Dawn on PS4 and that was much the same; an interactive story. Nothing wrong with that; and if the story is told well then awesome.
@Titntin I like the style alongside the more tradtional type of games, and it seems there will be an audience there. It is only about 6 hours to playthrough so that will be more forgiving on time for people hopefully
Thats fair enough and I really hope you enjoy it! Im normally into this style of game and im sure the writting is excellent.
As I wrote earlier, I have so much to play right now Im being picky, so this is on a back burner as I dislike the delivery method, but as its on gp, I might get back to it one day. 😁
cant judge a book by its cover, but nowdays its I dont like the way it look must be rubbish
@Stocksy Xbox One too!
@Savage_Joe @Kezelpaso thanks. I have my old Xb1 set up in front room and I think my Mrs would love this. It’s a bit like (gameplay I mean) until dawn? And she loved that. She won’t play it where I have my XSX set up.
@Stocksy It's similar in premise but you don't control characters at all! It's more Telltale-style, where you're interacting with cutscenes and making dialogue/story decisions. The story is brill though, definitely recommend if you both love playing through story games!
This seems right up my alley. I will try it when I get home from work.
I probably am not going to be playing it, but I'm surprised people are so down on the visual style. It's definitely unique, and creative in an industry that's so bent on cookie cutter everything.
But at the same time I also get where people are coming from, in some ways they may have done too good a job with what they were trying to do, and it ends up looking like something lesser than it actually is. I think people look at this and think it's raster artwork, or still models ,when they showed the way they did it is actual live action filming - these are still-frames of actual live actors acting out the scenes in front of green screen, not rendered models. They gave the images a filter of some sort to make it look more like drawn artwork, and I think people look at it and see it only as cheap hand drawn art in stop motion. The unfortunate result is an expensive, creative process ends up looking like a cheap cop out to nearly everyone if they don't know already it's not that..... I feel bad for them, but critics seem to be rewarding it anyway.
Ironically most of the games industry is bent on trying to make CGI look like live action, and gets praised, and this is real live action given treatment to look hand drawn, and it gets shrugged off.
@UltimateOtaku91 I just had to laugh at "only thing putting me off are the character models" because it's the ultimate nerd thing to say considering they're not actually character models but filtered photos of real people "6/10, terrible character models" when shown photos of real people is just......the "Ultimate Otaku" statement
@SplooshDmg The style actually reminds me of the VN sequences in Max Payne now that I think about it. And that also was intense.
So Ultimate hates the "character models" of real life people, and you're looking to replace them with anime girls. We've definitely found the Ultimate Nerds. Where's Monokuma?
Every game needs mizuki and aiba though. Best characters ever!
I'm probably alone on this thought...but I couldn't stand the still frames...played 30 mins and also didn't like the ui
I'm a few hours into this game n still enjoying it a lot, pleasantly surprised how good it is.
@mac01208 The still frames is kinda strange tbh, but I got use to it after 30min or so, enjoying the game a lot now.
@SplooshDmg True, the story is very strong in this game, hence the still frame pics dont bother one after a while, very unique indeed.
Let me start discussion by saying "ENOUGH WITH THESE CHEESY ASS GAMES". We need some hardcore games man. I pay for this every month and the selection of games majority of the time sucks ass. I'm literally about to stop my game pass. There are so many more hardcore ground breaking games that they could be putting on Xbox game pass. Vampire the masquerade being one. Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut being 2. Or assassin's Creed Valhalla. These are hard core gaming games. I mean hell I know these games cost a lot alone but think of it this way. With money we spend every month for game pass including buying lots of in-game content, we basically have paid for the game already. So come on Xbox, get it together.
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