Test – As Dusk Falls, the narrative game at its highest

Immediately, When dusk falls hits hard with an artistic direction worthy of a great interactive graphic novel. Equipped with a background as believable as it is awful, which under the microscope gives an America of lost people, the adventure continues unabated for the twelve hours required to complete it for the first time. With a diabolical epilogue to decipher, its many branches and other great choices, life is multiplied to discover all the secrets and unspoken aboutWhen dusk falls. This high-flying production obsolete the others of its kind both in substance and form. With its user-friendly application to play up to eight players and its full VF quality, it is ultimately very difficult to blame it for anything. Oh yes, we want more!

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The desert as the only horizon

The late 90s, in Two Rocks, Arizona, is it Germinal American style for Holts. To say that they are in an eternal mess is an understatement. No doubt financial misery as they are on the verge of losing everything. But also social and intellectual misery, against the background of violence as the only educational value, of alcoholism and debt … The picture is bleak for this loser’s America, this America lost in the dust of the desert. The latter as if to remind us that there is no possible salvation for this family. An emotionally charged desert. A wilderness of possibilities. In short, the desert everywhere as far as the eye can see. The motif is dark, okay and also ultra believable with this breathtakingly realistic artistic direction. The expressiveness of the faces gives the characters the necessary and sufficient incarnation to take us into the plot. The impression of playing / reading an interactive graphic novel is such that I sometimes let go of the controller to follow the story … Before I quickly pick it up again and succeed with a QTE.

The Holt brothers are mediocre, pushed to the limit. When they live off petty jobs or petty theft, they are not even cursed to be at the top of the local criminal basket. To the point of recalling at times Langmores in the series ozark, we know it’s going to go wrong for them. We are impatient to discover more and it does not fail. Following yet another false plan to rob the sheriff’s home, Holts is at large. But not long ago, they sought refuge in a motel and took the residents hostage. Yes, they link ingenious ideas together.

At the Desert Dream Motel, yes again and again, the “desert” will be set up behind closed doors, which will see Holts confront another family. The latter, which simply passes through the region, is otherwise more classic and not very striking. Only apparently … before they realized that for the members of this family, too, the desert, metaphorically speaking in their case, is no stranger to them.

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Just as addictive as a good TV series

In the first moments, we incarnate the father of the family, Vince, this ordinary guy in kindness and roundness. It perfectly meets the archetype of the teddy bear, overwhelmed by events. Thanks to well-balanced flashbacks in the middle of the scenario, all these beautiful people, Holts and their hostages, will get in depth and arouse interest in the reader / player. How hard is it to stop! The editing, a bit like in the TV series episode as well as this stylized “As Dusk Falls” screen to put the sentence and rhythm of the adventure, all help to devour this American tragedy without moderation.

Aside from Vince, the other character embodied is Holt’s youngest brother. Jay is completely out, both victim and executioner. Also he we think already, we know all about him with his appearance as a little guy who is marginalized in his family. And often pitifully out of time in this motionless and sandy headlong rush to the Desert Dream Motel. One of the great strengths ofSom Dusk Fall is the science of flashback. The latter will actually give us crucial elements about the main characters, their experiences and traumas, and inevitably push us to feel empathy towards them. Unstoppable.

Moreover, the other great interest ofWhen dusk falls is to put ourselves either in front of impossible choices or in front of others, which are seemingly simpler but whose consequences can have an unexpected magnitude. Not every time, making big turns so much the more dizzying. To the point of pushing me to shout a “But no !?” in front of my screen. From there to make this experience much more than a Tell Tales adventure as realism keeps us going and involves us emotionally.

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It lost America

Structured in two “books” it will take twelve hours to see the end ofWhen dusk falls. At least for the first run. Because there are so many branches that at the end of this first adventure it is imperative to dive back and discover all the secrets behind Two Rocks, Arizona. Especially since after the camera to begin with, the second part of this tragedy retains all the attention and effectively tells us about a meaningless race. While invoking new equally rich characters, the change of atmosphere between the two parties happens naturally to refocus the subject on how to try to deal with the loss of one’s identity, the loss of meaning in one’s universe. This second chapter of the game is more open geographically, but still remains a psychic camera, with “heroes” trapped in their trauma and trying to get out of it … or get lost in it. An atmosphere even darker and heavier than ever. It all remains believable enough to take us to the epilogue.

The latter is diabolical! Of course, I will say nothing but to those who watched the first season of Twin Peaks, it’s the same level of amazement. Remember, Inspector Dale Cooper is shot in his hotel room and the killer is only filmed in a very tight shot on his gun. Impossible to know who the assassin is unless you repeat the previous sections and look for more or less hidden clues. There I come out with the same impression, having missed so many tracks! It was not even necessary to push me back to redo a part!

To finish, When dusk falls has a full high-end VF, with the only downside being the voice of the sheriff that seems overplayed or out of the mark. Finally, the application, which allows up to eight people to participate, works perfectly and allows you to simply connect and play.

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Accessibility criteria

Visual impairment Impaired hearing
High contrast (aiming sight) Subtitles with mood indications
font color size Identification of the person speaking
Marking of enemies Custom font
Customizable interface Custom font color
Customizable mini card color Alternative alarm options (vibration, flash …)
Possibility of color blindness Reported ambient noises (presence notifying)
Text-to-speech option
Braking the game (possibility to extend the QTEs)

Test conditions

TV details 4K Games provided by the publisher Yes
Console Xbox Series X Time spent in the game 12 hours
Difficulty REACH The game is over yes, but there is still so much to discover!

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