As a new PlayStation VR owner, I was keen to pick up something to ease myself into using the virtual reality headset, ideally something to play in shortish sessions. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is that game and an essential purchase for PlayStation VR owners.
If you’re coming in fresh, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is an on-rails shooter experience spin-off of 2015’s excellent Until Dawn. While the original game played like an interactive movie, a Heavy Rain-esque slasher movie if you will, Rush of Blood, sits you in a ghost train cart and converts the original game’s locations into a grisly theme park.
A theme park where you’ll shoot targets, murderous clowns and other monstrosities charging from the shadows. For the best experience, you’ll need a pair of PlayStation Move controllers as you have a gun in each hand – yes your weaker hand is going to have to up its game. You can play with a DualShock instead, but the Move controllers are more than worth the price of admission for this ride.
Comparisons with the original game can feel fleeting, but Until Dawn: Rush of Blood stands on its own as a new game while also throwing in some references. I have to admit, I was sold by the time I entered the first level through a creepy clown’s gaping mouth of a gateway. It was such a nostalgic blast to the past and riding ghost trains as a kid.
Another key highlight is when the ghost train has a few speedier rollercoaster moments as you dive down a steep slope. The first time my cart rushed down I genuinely felt a small flutter in my stomach, similar to the way a real coaster’s momentum does as you begin the drastic descent. Of course, this was all in my head, but the fact that my mind was tricked into making my body feel the same way was a standout moment for PlayStation VR. Hell, I found I could enhance this sensation by leaning towards the front of the cart (head-tracking will actually move you closer this way) and really trying to follow the swoop of the descent. Playing in virtual reality has made that happen. Playing on a regular TV just can’t trigger these physical and emotional reactions in the same way.
While you remain seated in your on-rails kart throughout, you’re free to look all around 360 degrees. Don’t worry though; you don’t need to spin all the way round. You’ll never be attacked from behind, so you can play from a relatively relaxed position on the sofa. No swivel chair required here. I often looked around behind me, just because I could and occasionally to shoot a bonus target I’d missed the first time I rolled past.
You do need to remain vigilant and fend off attackers from both sides though, frantically turning to your head to avoid getting blindsided. Brilliantly, you can opt to blind fire on one side a little with your other hand (if playing with Move controllers), which feels very cool when you pull off a blasé no-look takedown. It’s not all about the shooting though, as you will have to physically lean from side to side or duck to avoid obstacles like low beams or huge spinning buzz saws.
As with most PlayStation VR games I’ve played so far, I needed to reset the tracking occasionally as a shooting arm wouldn’t be lining up properly with my on-screen aim, or the head tracking got distracted. It was never a game-breaker though as a simple hold of the Start button resets it instantly, with no need to go into menus – a feature that saves the day in other PSVR titles too.
As I’m sure any gamers that have enjoyed older lightgun games like Time Crisis or Virtua Cop can attest, constant play can be hard work on the arms. But Rush of Blood’s campaign is broken up into decent-sized levels that mean you’ll enjoy pushing through two or three before feeling the strain. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a game I kept dipping into for a few stages rather than blasting through all at once, and I think that’s the best way to enjoy it. That and playing with headphones on can be more than a little unnerving at times. Enjoy the mineshaft scene folks!
At roughly four hours long, longer for collectible fans, this is one of the longer ‘lightgun’ games I’ve played and very good value for money, especially as nowadays as you can pick up a copy from as little as £10/$15.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a keeper once you’ve wrapped up the story too as the quickfire nature makes it a fun game to replay even if just for a quick stage. Many stages have alternative routes to explore too. It’s a solid pick for an entertaining introduction to VR for family and friends too. Although do consider the well-earned 18 rating (it’s so not for kids) or the jump scares for much older players. It’s a bit more lethal than Wii Sports for heart-shredding jump scares.
- VR experience is so immersive
- Jump scares are brilliantly worked
- Move controllers are excellent for shootouts
- Tracking occasionally needs a quick reset
- You may need to fork out for some Move controllers
- Coulrophobics, this is not a game for you
The Short Version: Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is up there with the best PlayStation VR has to offer. With plenty of jump scares and well-timed shootouts the horror and action is finely balanced with a campaign that’ll have you playing again and again. Combining ghost trains and on-rails shooters is a perfect match for virtual reality, with the immersive feel complimented by that nostalgic theme park spin to elevate this beyond the familiarity of regular games.
Platform: PS4 (PlayStation VR required)
Developer: Supermassive Games