Rutskarn brings up the fact that on your first play-though, it usually feels like EVERYTHING matters and you have a lot of control over how the story unfolds. But then you play again, make different choices, and end up with a similar outcome. Again, it’s like having someone show you how a magic trick was done. Some people are fine because they were still able to enjoy that first play-through, even if subsequent trips through the game reveal the artifice. Other people feel sort of cheated.
The Telltale Walking Dead game had the same problem. “So-and-so will remember that” sounded profound and ominous, but then you realized later that this was usually a lie and each episode had a small handful of important decisions and many meaningless ones.
I’m fine with a “magic trick” game that only works once. The problem you run into is when you try to make a franchise of recurring threats and characters built around that idea. I know if I ever played TWD: Season 2 I’d spend the whole time thinking, “This decision probably doesn’t matter.”
I think Until Dawn makes for a better formula than Walking Dead. They could make another Until Dawn game about a different group of teens in a different location with a new threat and it ought to work as well as this one, because you won’t know what the threat is. You won’t know which teens have plot armor and which ones are just one late button-press from death at all times.
We know Clementine is going to face zombies and crazy assholes in her struggle to survive, and we know she’ll make it.
I think if we’re working our way through the slasher tropes, then “camping trip gone wrong” or “haunted summer camp” should be the next destination for the Until Dawn franchise.
Next episode will wrap this series up.