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Last year’s Until Dawn by Supermassive Games was one of the PlayStation 4’s best first-party sleeper hits. It combined survival horror with Heavy Rain style mechanics and full of choices keeping characters alive or not. Seeing a big budget Telltale-like game with recognizable actors was quite a treat. However, no one expected a PlayStation VR spinoff to be an arcade-based shooter on a roller coaster. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is basically a $19.99 theme park ride that sticks to it’s premise well and nothing else.
Rush of Blood doesn’t take place at the same time the Until Dawn events happened. It’s more of it’s own thing within the universe containing some references from the main game. You’re in a mental asylum going through visions of carnival-themed roller coaster tracks shooting down psychopathic enemies. Supermassive knows when throw in drops as if you’re living the ride in VR as well as jump scares. The jump scares aren’t that scary even in VR. If you’re someone that can be easily spooked however, well if you’re in a good time. Since you’re also riding a roller coaster throughout the game, folks that can get nauseous from them in real life might be not worth playing this through. Don’t expect too much from Rush of Blood’s story as well you’re just there to shoot stuff in VR.
This Until Dawn game shows that VR is the next best thing for the light gun genre. That genre has it’s heyday in the late 90s and early 2000s. Developers of these games can only do so much with the core mechanics until now. However, I did find myself calibrating the most out of the PlayStation VR games I played so far. In every couple of enemy encounters, I had to hold the options button to recenter my hand position because tracking can go a bit off at times. At least the process is quick and painless though. Despite those issues, Rush of Blood nails it’s atmospheric tone in VR exceptionally well to the point this game wouldn’t be worth paying attention to without it.
I played through Until Dawn: Rush of Blood primarily with the Dual Shock 4 controller. I mentioned before in my thoughts of PlayStation VR that if games highly recommend you using the Move controllers, they’re not joking. This on-rails shooter is meant to be played with the Move than a normal controller. You have free reign of your hands shooting down foes using the Move controllers. With the Dual Shock 4, you’re controlling both guns looking more awkward and more limited with movements at the same time. The flashlights on the guns makes areas more visible, but hitboxes are a bit wonky on certain enemies. There were moments where I felt I was aiming right at something, but also completely missing resulting in a death. I’m still able to do fine with the Dual Shock 4, but Move controllers do make the VR experience feel more natural.
The story consists of seven levels taking about a hour or two to play through all of them. There’s some cheap sections however to be expected for a light gun game. These can be frustrating to play on harder difficulties where two or three hits from enemies is a death. Four difficulties, collectibles to shoot down and high score leaderboards do extend the game’s replay value. Good luck trying to beat this on Psychotic (single life) difficulty especially dealing with those pesky bosses.
I enjoyed my time with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Like other light gun games however, I don’t find myself playing it through a few more times. Sure there’s some replay value and trophies to get, but replaying certain cheap sections again on harder difficulties wasn’t fun. Supermassive Games nailed the game’s atmosphere for VR and I hope to see more light gun franchises get the same treatment. Playing this game with a Move is a must over the Dual Shock 4 due to having more control with both your hands. For $19.99 Rush of Blood is still worth getting to get use out of your PlayStation VR. Just like any roller coaster, it’s nice to ride them every now and then.