As Dusk Falls — a choice-based narrative experience, out Tuesday on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X — comes from newly-formed developer Interior Night. Even though fresh on the block, the team behind Interior Night has been responsible for gems like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls in the past. Expectations were high for this game, and I'm here to tell you it does not disappoint. The excellent narrative of As Dusk Falls quickly sucks you into a crime drama akin to Breaking Bad and Fargo. Plus, its branching storyline will make you keep coming back in search of the best possible outcome for the characters that will grow on you, even if they don't give good first impressions.
Before we delve further, I would like to confess that I am not particularly a fan of choice-based narrative games. I also had reservations about the artistic choice of the developer, which has gone for a graphic novel art style instead of fully-animated scenes. It did take me a while to get used to this style, but I am glad that I stuck with As Dusk Falls.
The champion of As Dusk Falls is, unsurprisingly, its story that finds the Walker family and the Holt family crossing paths and getting entangled in a decade-spanning ordeal. The voice acting is top-notch as well, with the background score and sound design elevating the nerve-wracking situations these characters stumble into — at times due to your bad choices.
As Dusk Falls review: the story
The story of As Dusk Falls is primarily explored from the perspectives of Vince Walker and Jay Holt. Vince is an ex-aircraft mechanic who has been let go from his last job under dubious circumstances. He is forced to embark on a cross-country road trip with his wife Michelle, daughter Zoe, and estranged father Jim to move to St. Louis, Missouri in search of a fresh start. A minor accident on the way forces them to make a pit stop at a roadside motel in Arizona. It is at this unsuspecting motel where the Holt brothers, including Jay, take the Walker family and a couple of other civilians hostage following a failed robbery attempt.
From here on, every decision you make will impact the fate of these characters — relationships may come to an end, new alliances may be formed, or a character may lose their life. I would advise you not to be hasty with your choices, as characters may not reveal their true selves initially. The As Dusk Falls narrative is not linear and will provide depth to characters — revealing their motivations and dire circumstances — through flashbacks.
For instance, in my first playthrough, I let a character die very early in As Dusk Falls, only to regret it later when more was revealed later on. It is these morally-ambiguous choices that will make you go back for a new playthrough to make amends, and experience a completely different storyline.
As Dusk Falls review: gameplay
As Dusk Falls prompts you to make most choices quickly before a timer runs out. You can increase the timer limit if you want to ponder for a bit longer while you make these fateful decisions. The game also notifies you when a choice puts you at a “Crossroad” — a branching point in the narrative with unalterable consequences. There are also quick-time events sprinkled throughout to keep you engaged throughout the playthrough. However, a lot of the time, these events are wasted on tedious tasks like fixing an AC or sawing a piece of wood.
The game is divided into six chapters, each taking over an hour to complete. At the end of each As Dusk Falls chapter, you will get a story map revealing your path along with empty boxes for other possible outcomes. This is a great way to map out your next playthrough — whether you pick it up from the beginning, or just replay a chapter.
The inclusion of a co-op mode further adds to the replayability of As Dusk Falls. It allows up to eight players to join your game locally, online, or a mix of both. People can also install the companion app on their smartphones to join the game. It might be a great way to bring in together your gamer and non-gamer friends for a fun session, as you argue and vote over the choices.
As Dusk Falls review: graphics, sound design
Interior Night has gone for a water-brushed style for the As Dusk Falls world and the characters that complement the graphic novel style. It took me a while to get used to it, and you may too. Stick through it, however, and you will be rewarded with a memorable experience, which is elevated by the excellent sound design and captivating background score.
The voice-acting on As Dusk Falls is top-notch as well and conversations flow smoothly despite the pauses in-between as you make your decision. The only blemish, in my opinion, was that the voice actor for kid Zoe just did not match the character, which somewhat ruined the immersion at times.
As Dusk Falls review: final verdict
That said, this is a great first outing for developer Interior Night, which has delivered a captivating narrative with a branching storyline and pause-worthy choices. The moral tug of war keeps your mind racing, as the fate of these characters is governed by your choices. The water-brush artwork paired with the fantastic voice acting and sound design give life to the world of As Dusk Falls and its inhabitants.
The addition of a co-op mode and the “Explore Story” feature greatly increase its replayability as well. Despite the original six to seven-hour playtime, As Dusk Falls would be a great addition to your gaming library, as you can always come back to uncover a new story path that you didn't take before.
- Excellent voice acting, sound design
- Intriguing storyline, characters
- Pause-worthy choices
- Local and online co-op
- Captivating storytelling
- Great replayability
- Tedious quick-time events
- Art style not for everyone
Rating (out of 10): 8
We played As Dusk Falls on a PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7GHz, AMD RX570 8GB, and 8GB RAM.
On PC, As Dusk Falls can be purchased on Steam for Rs. 1,999. It is also available via Microsoft Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X at Rs. 1,999.
As Dusk Falls is also part of Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. The regular subscription starts at Rs. 349 per month on consoles and PC, whereas the Ultimate subscription — that includes online multiplayer and more — costs Rs. 499 per month.
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