So why DO the writers have these characters constantly wading through freezing water? The excuse I keep hearing is, “It’s movie physics!” But is it? Even movies acknowledge just how brutal freezing water is, even if movie characters bounce back a little faster than in real life. I’ve never seen a movie where someone jumped into icy water and it was portrayed like they were just “chilly”.
There doesn’t seem to even be a point to it. The water at the bottom of the mine (where they find Josh) is the only part of the story where the water is used for suspense or to hide a threat. The rest of the time it’s just a pointless little moment where you have to walk slow for fifteen seconds. It’s such a strange design choice. For people like me it’s this huge break in immersion as our characters are repeatedly exposed to deadly conditions with no impact, and for everyone else… what? Even if you’re not pulled out of the game, it’s not like these short swims are interesting or add anything to the story.
Also, the end of Matt’s story is kind of a letdown. It seems like they’re still on the mountain. Still in the woods. It’s still dark. They’re still lost. All I needed was one line of dialog along the lines of “Oh look, there’s the [secure building]! We’ll be safe there!”
So that was Until Dawn. It bugged me in a lot of small ways, but I kind of admire it. It’s full of cool ideas, wonderful scenery, great character designs, and really offers a lot of branching decisions / outcomes. The problems I have with the game are mostly problems I have with the genre it’s riffing on. It feels like the game has an experimental / indie approach to gameplay, but with AAA production values. Despite my gripes, I think the whole thing is an impressive accomplishment.