This will not be a spoiler-free review so if you haven’t played this game and want to then I’d avoid reading this. The basic summary of the game is that you are the narrator of a choose your own adventure type setting. Except you’re in a horror movie. There are a bunch of characters in a bunch of different situations and you get to decide the outcomes (for the most part) of these characters.
It starts off with a party where a girl named Hannah is humiliated by her group of “friends” over a guy she likes. She runs out into the snow and then gets lost in the woods or something. Kinda. She’s not really lost she just runs really far out there. Her sister Beth runs to get her and they end up getting chased and both of them fall off a cliff. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. Though I totally let go of one of the sisters thinking it might save myself it totally doesn’t.
After that there are opening credits with a really awesome song (I think it’s just called OH Death) and you skip to a year later, where the same friends are all meeting up at the same cabin again. There are also cut scenes in between where “you” are with a psychiatrist and he’s asking you questions. Your answers somewhat influence things you see and do in the game but not to a very high level.
The main characters are as follows:
It seems like it would be way too confusing but you play these different characters in segments and most of the action is QTE based (quick time events where you hit a button to make a choice). Otherwise, it’s basically like watching a movie, except for when you are moving the characters around yourself to find clues and things like that. The clues you find also impact the game and what type of ending a character will have or not.
As it turns out Josh (who is or WAS the brother of Hannah and Beth) has gone insane and decides to put his friends in a bunch of Saw-style traps to choose if they “live or die”. He’s filming it and wants to put it on the internet or something. It’s really only a side plot to what is actually going on. The real monster in all of this is the wendigo. Or the group of them. It deals with a lot of Native American lore about cannibalism up on mountains when people got desperate enough that they ate other humans since they were starving. A wendigo is a creature that craves human flesh that is born out of consuming human flesh. There are many different varieties of this legend so I won’t get into it here too much but that’s the basic concept.
Through the game, you get to know many different types of characters and personalities. My favorite was Emily because she seemed like the only strong character who didn’t take
shit from anyone. She was also pretty much universally hated which annoyed me because the other character didn’t have much substance (the female ones at least) maybe other than Jessica. I liked her as well because she stood up to Emily and also wasn’t some kind of damsel in distress waif of a girl. Sam and Ashley were either too boring or too annoying for me to develop any sort of attachment to.
The game follows them over the course of being pranked by Josh and thinking there is a psycho killer on the mountain, up to the point they find out there are wendigos. That they have to survive until dawn because that’s when the wendigos will go away and that’s also when they will be able to get help to the mountain. There’s a snow storm pretty much-preventing anyone from coming up to help them.
I have played this game three different times and still have yet to make the “right choices” for all of them to survive. The general rule of the game if you WANT them to survive is to not disturb nature and be aware of the butterfly effect. The game does a great job of showing you how your choices impacted the story and what happens to the characters. As well as giving your hints and clips throughout the game to possibly warn you from making a bad decision.
I thought this game was going to be really bad, because it seemed less like a game and more like a “hit the button and see what happens” kind of thing, but I was wrong. Very wrong. It’s one of the best survival horror games I’ve played in a while and it deals with wendigos. Though that’s not an ORIGINAL idea, really, I haven’t seen it utilized much in horror and it was refreshing.
The scenery, music, graphics, and acting are great. The only real complaint I have is that it was so realistic that sometimes the characters bordered on the uncanny valley level of creepy when I’m sure they weren’t supposed to be like that. Even still, I would recommend this game to survival horror fans. It’s also a great discussion game to play with friends because you can see what your friends would do in situations and then ask them why they chose X instead of Y. I initially rented the game to play (as I was unsure I would like it) and ended up buying it because it quickly became my favorite. I urge everyone to check it out I think it’s worth the price and the time. I cannot wait for the sequel!