To think 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 houseprobably says a lot about the real value of the pens within that team and the real merits and demerits that David Cage has had over the years.
As the twilight falls
Platform: PC, XSX Genre: Graphic Adventure Release Date: July 19, 2022 Developer: INTERIOR / NIGHT Distributor: Microsoft
Beyond this vitriolic criticism, necessary to immediately and clearly frame the project given birth by INTERNAL / NIGHTit becomes curious to see how much the adventure is solid and bombproof in the first part and a little less convincing in the secondcertainly 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 through QTE.
As the twilight falls, the story
As Dusk Falls tells the stories of two families over a multi-decade story arctying 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 marking their lives forever.
The way in which most of the events will be directed – as it is easy to imagine for games belonging to this genre – will depend on the type of choices you make and also on the readiness that you will demonstrate to have in certain situations at the limit, not so easy to unravel.
If there is a high-level merit that must immediately be put on top among the winning features of As Dusk Falls, it is without any hesitation the ability of the developers to have drawn some characters who are never one-dimensionaland on the contrary they prove to to have many character facets and an experience that conditions them continuously.
The gray 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 of the characters are truly humanreal and damn credible. Very American, certainly yes, but also constantly devoured by doubt, by obsessions, by the consequences of the past and by broken human relationships, never linear or trivial.
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 As 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 sheriff is hiding a big secret that he wants to cover up at all costs.
The first family includes a man who has had some nasty legal squabbles in spite of himself due to work negligence, his wife who is soon framed as a personality who hides more secrets than he should, and their little girl of just six who will find herself embroiled 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 mainly composed of three brothers, three budding criminals who decide to rob the sheriff’s villa (also not at all reliable) to heal a debt of their estranged father, violent and perpetrator of multiple abuses.
Speaking of shades, it is important to underline that one of the three brothers always appears to be a fish out of waterfinally revealing himself to be the most interesting character of the lot. Moreover, it is never so clear whether everyone is driven by reasons of real necessity or if it is the typical excuse to indulge their nature or to soothe the long-repressed pain of a forever misguided adolescence.
Family ties are sometimes very difficult to keep tight.
In this sense, even the first family, made up of regular and normal 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, it takes about six hours to complete and is entirely dubbed and subtitled in Italian.
At the end of each chapter, through a sort of flow chart, you will be able to clearly 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, there is no need to replay a chapter from the beginning: As Dusk Falls allows you to start a game session directly from the nearest hubleaving the previous save unchanged but still giving you a way to unlock what you did not know before (for purposes of “completeness” 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 does not allow the player to move freely within the scenariosbut it 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 asks you to.
Perhaps this will appeal to those who want to look a little less and play a little more, but the most functional imprint for 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 lives of the protagonists many years later. If the first act is able to literally panic the player, especially due to the agitated nature of the events and the obligation to find the best loopholes in order not to make everything degenerate or kill key characters, the second half falls a little victim to certain fillers that we would not have expected.
Acting wisely may not be enough: the unexpected is always around the corner.
We refer in particular to the focus made on negligible details and on events of little importance, while 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 made, obviously there is a problem of narrative priorities that As Dusk Falls ran into in spite of itself.
Of course, the main adventure of some users may differ from others, because after several 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 an impeccable game management, but you will have to be very careful when you lean towards some choices.
In any case, we specify that there is a high degree of unpredictability even when acting wiselyand this is clearly intended to push the player to tackle some sections in a substantially opposite way or with some more precautions.
Beyond these ways to interact, it will also happen in certain situations to have one fixed screen in which it will be necessary to review 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 highlight them with respect 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 that 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 alone are enough to make the work stand out in an important way, creating from the very first moments great involvement and many intertwining that will constantly feed your curiosity.
In spite of everything Dusk Falls is downtownand it is evident how much this new team has a potential for the quality of the stories much higher than the one in which they took their first steps.
Version tested: Xbox Series X