As Dusk Falls Xbox Series X Review

As Dusk Falls is a game that shouldn't be missed playing, while it’s more fun to play with friends to explore all the many paths the plot might take.

By Rayan, Posted 21 Jul 2022

With the release of As Dusk Falls, INTERIOR/NIGHT presents their very first game. It is a narrative adventure, which should not come as a surprise coming from a developer that draws his lineage from Quantic Dream. The game's design direction is simple since it was developed by an indie studio while it places emphasis on presenting stories via the use of both still photographs and motion graphics. It sounds like a simple technique for minimizing costs, allowing the developers to utilize 2D still photos rather than 3D visuals of people in a crime drama. Because it is a mix of a game, a visual novel, and a television series, As Dusk Falls, blurs the borders between these three types of media. Even though it is available on Xbox and PC, it doesn't seem like much of a game since there isn't much in the way of actual gameplay.


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As Dusk Falls can simply be described as an interactive drama. The gameplay is divided into two books, each of which has three chapters. We experience the narrative of two families whose lives collide in a motel along a highway in Arizona owing to circumstances that couldn't be more different from one another. The first family consists of two parents, a little daughter who is six years old, and the girl's grandpa. They seek short-term housing while attempting to repair their damaged car. After a heist that does not go as planned, the second group, comprised of three brothers, decides to initiate a hostage scenario at the motel. This is essentially the main part of the first book, which comes to a head with the scene's high point. The second book takes place fourteen years from the first and reveals not just the direct consequences of the event but also those that will follow in the long run.

The narrative of As Dusk Falls takes a winding path between flashbacks and nonlinear storytelling to flesh out the central characters and their intentions, mainly in 1998. It is quickly made clear that the boys' attempt to steal money is motivated by more than simple avarice, but also that the Walkers got themselves entangled in this situation because they needed a new beginning. This can be done in multiple ways, ranging from going back a few days, weeks, or months to even peering years into the future. It all begins harmlessly with a family's journey across America in quest of a fresh beginning. The narrative follows a little girl who experienced trauma as a child and the impact that had on her life. Her father was fired from work for a violation he was not responsible for, and her mother was offered a job in a new state. So, the family decided to move to the new location, taking their grandfather along for the journey.


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As Dusk Falls lets you play as characters from both sides of the conflict for the duration of the game's gameplay, which ranges from six to eight hours, you will make choices that will utterly and irrevocably alter their lives. The story is told from several distinct points of view, so each of the characters may be seen from several different angles, and no one is relegated to a one-dimensional or stereotypical role. This extends to the number of available options and the variety shown in each episode. Games of the Choices-Matter genre are frequently criticized for leading players along the same route with very little diversity in how the plot unfolds, which is a common complaint. It often does not feel that the player's choices matter all that much. It is not hard to fathom the reasoning behind why things are this way. Game designers can't justify investing time and money in creating large portions of a game that will only be experienced by a minority of players.

During the gameplay, players will mostly be making choices that will either help or affect the characters. Each episode has a significant number of branching paths, in which the player must choose between several lines of conversation and courses of action to affect the story's progression and the characters' lives. Occasionally in a subtle manner, and at other times in a far more drastic fashion, but always keeping certain occurrences immobile. These kinds of events frequently appeal to our want for thrills, our desire to mend relationships that have been harmed and worn down, our desire to safeguard the things we care about, and our desire to reconcile these things. And each episode concludes on a cliffhanger that makes you want to start watching the next one as soon as possible.


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The gameplay of games of this genre seldom stands out, and it is evident that this is not one of As Dusk Falls's strengths. The whole of the game can be summed up in two words: Making Choices and Quick-Time Events, which are designed for players who are less dedicated to the game. It isn't necessary to know the exact location of this button on the controller; it might be anywhere. One of the peculiarities is that a new conversation option might be revealed if the player maintains their composure and takes a brief moment before answering. This is one of how the game can be played differently. And the sense of nothingness it exudes gives the entire thing a great deal of energy.

The result is that the game's gameplay is stripped down to the bare basics, which is not necessarily a negative thing, given that the emphasis of the game is solely on the narrative, the characters, and the setting. As a direct consequence of this, the initial portion of As Dusk Falls moves at a more rapid speed than previous works of a like kind. It is hard to escape the camera throughout the game's opening chapters since they rush and reach a degree of intensity that is relatively uncommon in narrative video games. There's hardly a single moment of boredom. Everything is held together by highly challenging decisions, which often have severe and unforeseen implications.

There will likely be a lot of disagreements, but that's part of the fun. Players are compelled to choose sides with various characters based on their own personal motivations, which may, in turn, reveal something about the players' morals or sense of fairness. In addition, there are instances when it may be challenging to refrain from acting in a manner that is antagonistic toward other players simply out of a desire to be controversial and draw a response.


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After completing the game, players will have the option to load another save, which will allow them to go through previously completed chapters again. They also can make a different choice while an existing save is still active. After each chapter, a decision tree will be shown that was followed as a result of each choice. Furthermore, there's an option to view the points in the tale when a choice may lead to a much longer plot branch. The game has several accessibility features, including text-to-speech and speech-to-text for voice chat, and modifications for gameplay, such as lengthening QTE or Override timers.

As Dusk Falls is a unique visual approach that combines painted stills of the characters with computer-generated animations to create a dynamic and evocative experience. It's a little like reading a very high-end graphic novel as we watch it. There are several quick-time events for regular activities, ranging from bare acts like cleaning to more complex tasks like dodging the glare of a sniper's laser beam. Even though we cannot control the characters directly, we can influence their behavior via various choices. On top of that, an excellent level of voice acting and scripting across the whole game is worth a mention. It is a tribute to both the screenplay and the performers that every single option feels natural for the characters engaged in a game that focuses on player choice. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the length and complexness of the narrative.

As Dusk Falls was built from the ground up to support eight players, this game aspect fits in very well with the atmosphere. Because the game draws such a significant influence from other forms of media, like films and television shows, it is in everyone's best interest to preserve as much of that feeling of community as is feasible. The experience will be somewhat less enjoyable if the game is played solo. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really hold together as well as one would expect it would. The only difference between the single-player and multiplayer experiences is that each player's decisions are tallied as a vote in the overall score. The game allows a maximum of eight players to simultaneously participate in its single-player campaign, which may take place locally, online, or a combination of the two. In addition, there is an app for mobile phones that makes the procedure simpler and more convenient.



 

As Dusk Falls is a game that shouldn't be missed playing, despite the override system being a bit of chaos. Even while the gameplay does not involve revolutionary breakthroughs, it indeed ensures that the players remain on their toes throughout. First and foremost, however, how well the audiovisual style works in conjunction with this production cannot be overstated. It's a highly replayable game with many different paths its plot may go. The story is fantastic to go through, and it makes you want to have more role-playing sessions with the characters to see how they would react differently to other scenarios. Due to the vast number of decisions that continually affect the narrative, As Dusk Falls is more fun to play with friends to explore all the many paths the plot might take.
 

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

As Dusk Falls

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): INTERIOR/NIGHT
Developer(s): Xbox Game Studios
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Interactive Drama
Release Date: 2022-07-19

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