[PlayStation 4] Dawn of Fear Review
Dawn of Fear by Brok3nsite is a throwback to classic survival horror games from back on the first PlayStation. Find out how they did in our Dawn of Fear review!
The story of Dawn of Fear is a pretty tragic one. Alex never knew his mother since she died giving birth to him. His father John remarried a few years later and had another son, Max. One day the three of them suffered a car accident where only Alex survived. Later on, Alex moved out of the house to live his life, and the actual game context starts after all this when Alex receives a phone call to learn that his stepmother ended up committing suicide since she couldn’t get over John and Max’s deaths.
On the call, Ethan asks Alex to go back to the house so that they could settle things and bury her, as he is the only family member left alive. As you start playing the game inside the house, you have some time to explore it, waiting on the lawyer to finish some paperwork. You’ll eventually enter a room where a zombie will stand and try to attack you and hear a gunshot coming from the entrance. Going back there, you’ll find the lawyer crucified on the door, and your adventure to unravel the mysteries of the house will begin from there.
You’ll be exploring the house in 3D but with fixed camera angles, meaning that each room – or part of the room – that you are in will be displayed from a fixed perspective, and moving out of this will result in the camera changing to show you things from another point of view. If you played the classic Resident Evil game from back in 1996, then you’ll feel right at home with the controls, although Dawn of Fear can be played with the analog joystick, skipping the tanks controls.
During your exploration, you’ll encounter various notes that will help you understand the story and what’s going on, but also different objects that will either help you solve puzzles or open doors since some of them require keys to be opened. Another thing that will be familiar to the classic Resident Evil fans is the way to save the game, which is done in certain areas where there are lit candles. The number of lit candles represent the number of times you’ll be able to save at that spot, so you’ll have to take great care in choosing the right moment to save.
You’ll obviously encounter a few monsters along the way, and being a survival horror title, the survival part fully applies as the ammo you find is quite scarce, and you can easily find yourself with no ammo and only your trusty knife (when you find it) to try and defeat what’s trying to kill you. With no easy mode available, you’ll have to be really careful when you’re damaged because a few hits will bring up the game over screen. Since you can see your state by looking at your notes, which start to be covered in blood as you are hit, you’ll know when it’s time to use a First Aid kit.
Visually, the game honors classic titles with some slightly pixelated graphics that make you feel as if the game was developed decades ago for another console. With the game being highly reminiscent of Resident Evil, as it takes place in a big old mansion, it pays a great homage to it in that way, and then some.
I’m a big fan of survival horror titles, so I was all in starting the game, expecting another classic title because of the similarities with that other classic title. Maybe my hopes were a bit too high, as I ended up mostly with a disappointing experience. The first thing that bugged me was the fixed cameras. Most of the time, I found that the camera was switching at weird moments and places just for the sake of having more fixed camera angles to play from, and it ended up creating a confusing experience where you lost focus of where you were going.
I also didn’t like the way you grab items and collectibles, combined with the sensitivity of how your character moves. Alex moves way too fast for the small window of opportunity you have for collecting an item, so most of the time, I ended up hugging a wall or a piece of furniture mashing the X button just to make sure I grabbed that object.
From a trophies point of view, the game will require at least two playthroughs for you to be able to get the Platinum since there is a trophy for using at least eight first aid kits while another is for using a maximum of four of them during your entire run. Fortunately, the game isn’t a long one, so it shouldn’t take you a lot of time to do this.
If you put the cameras and controls aside, Dawn of Fear has a great atmosphere and does a great job of honoring the roots of the survival horror genre. Unfortunately, for me, it wasn’t enough to make it an exceptional experience. If you’re really into survival horror titles, this one might scratch that itch, but it’s far from an ideal option.
Price: $19.99 USD
PSN Game Size: 4.2GB
This Dawn of Fear review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Brok3nsite.