As Dusk Falls review

2022-07-28 by Callum Andrews

  • Reviewed on
    Xbox Series S

  • Platforms

    Xbox One, Xbox Series X och Series S, Microsoft Windows

  • Developer

  • Publisher
    Xbox Game Studios

Interactive comicbook

We have many different mediums out there nowadays to entertain ourselves or just pass the time. Tv-shows, movies, video games, books, and comics are some of the most common. In some cases, these mediums will sometimes mesh into each other making a title a sort of medium hybrid. Such as videogame movies. These sorts of mashups are rare but once they are made, can be quite fun. On the movie and tv-show side, we haven't seen a lot of these types of occurrences but on the videogame side, it has been an occurrence for quite some time starting with the various FMV games that can be traced back to the late 80s. More recent examples that I would consider would be the games coming out from Supermassive Games studio, games such as Until Dawn, The Quarry, or The Dark Pictures Anthology games. Another title to be included in this category of games would also be, As Dusk Falls.

I would even consider As Dusk Falls more of a videogame-comic book mashup than a videogame-movie mashup. The reason for this would be its art style and animation design. For one, there isn't any movement involved in the character animations, it's more of various static pictures changing positions. It's reminiscent of the cutscenes that we saw in the first two Max Payne games. Where the characters are photo-realistically drawn but as stated, they are portrayed through various static pictures as you would see in a comic book. Apart from this, it follows the same tropes as the titles mentioned above. It does not have any real gameplay. Instead, you watch the story unfold in a manner where you make various choices and perform various QTE events which are standard procedure in these sorts of titles. The story unfolds in the way you make your decisions or either complete or fail the various QTE events. I've never been a fan of these but thankfully, here they are quite forgiving and give the player decent time to react or respond to the prompts before disappearing.

Empty words

The story starts with one of our main characters Vince, driving through Arizona on his way with his family to start a new life in St Louis, however not everything goes according to plan, and Vince and his family need to stay the night at a nearby motel until their car gets repaired. From here on the story sets into high gear and more and more characters start getting introduced. The story unfolds in a manner where it jumps between past and present, fleshing out the backstory of our main characters and filling us in on why the various characters find themselves in the situation they are in. One important component of these types of games considering that there is no gameplay to talk about is that they need to have an interesting story and characters to care about. While two of the three main characters you will get to know pretty well, the third comes too late in the game and the player never gets to form any kind of connection with that character. Apart from these three, all the other side characters just feel like throwaways and filler since I never found a reason to care for any of them. Either the time with them was way too short in the sense that you never grew to care for them or the motivations for their actions were pointless. I wish the developers would have developed a bit more of a backstory to some of them making us care for them a bit more. In the end, you just end up not caring at all, which is a shame.

The story, I'm sad to say felt rather generic and it didn't feel like anything I haven't heard or seen before. It is good enough to hold you to the end credits but it is nothing that will suck you in and make you want to find out more about it or even want to play the game for a second time. The only thing that might entice you to play through the game a second or even a third time is if you want to see what kind of endings the various characters have. This might be relevant for some sooner than they think as it was for me. One of my main characters died way too early in the game and I didn't want that ending for them so I replayed that part of the game to get a better outcome. As Dusk Falls is set up in such a way that after you complete each chapter, the player is shown the different paths that were available to them and the path they ended up taking. The game won't show the consequences of the choices the player didn't make, but if the player is unhappy with the outcome of that chapter, they can replay it from a specific point and get an outcome that they would maybe want.

Still worth it

Even though the comic-book art style can seem like a cool gimmick at first, it ends up getting quite tiresome in the long run. Sadly, this was something that put me off and I kept wondering why they just didn't turn it into a film or render the characters in some other way that would allow for them to have movement. Even the controls could be off-putting sometimes, considering that there are dialogs where the player has to make a choice that is time-restricted. When the player needs to make a choice, they need to mark the choice with a pointer which they move with the controller's thumbstick. This is is far from the most intuitive way of doing this as the developers could have easily mapped every choice to a button on the controller. The game allows for a mouse and keyboard for it to be played and even a mobile device but this could have been considered for the people playing on a controller like myself.

As Dusk Falls is still quite enjoyable but not that deep and it serves its purpose. It's enough for a single playthrough, and in case you want a different ending for a specific character then it's enough to play through the game from the point where the choice you made gave the undesirable outcome for your character and onward. If you're like me and enjoy these types of interactive "movie/comic" games and you have Xbox Game Pass, then give it a shot.


A fun adventure with a shallow story that's interesting enough to play through to the end credits.