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As Dusk Falls, come and participate in the game interaction

To be honest, the first time I saw the name “As Dusk Falls”, my first reaction was actually a romantic movie called “Love in As Dusk Falls”. Therefore, my initial impression of “As Dusk Falls” was actually a rather romantic love AVG.

But when I actually experienced the game, this impression was completely overturned.

From a completely personal perspective, “As Dusk Falls” is the game that has surprised me the most so far in 2022. Yes, even surpassing the phenomenal “Elden Ring”.

Seeing such alarmist remarks, you may have a little interest in exploring this somewhat unknown game.

Before actually entering the game, I did not expect such a wonderful experience

The importance of graphics, as the first part of a game presented to players, is self-evident. In this regard, the answer given by “As Dusk Falls” is definitely phenomenal.

Comic-style games are not new, and dynamic CG can be seen everywhere. However, combining the two perfectly in the same game is not something that ordinary works can achieve. In my opinion, “As Dusk Falls” is not just “achieved”.

In the game, all characters are presented in the form of freeze frame comics, while other scene elements appear in the form of dynamic CG. At first glance, it may seem a bit discordant. However, in reality, throughout the game, you will not feel any sense of disharmony generated by the combination of “movement and stillness”. On the contrary, you may be amazed by the silky visual effect of the two, just like me.

As the saying goes, seeing is believing. Compared to my flattering words, the following GIF is more convincing.

In fact, in addition to this perfect combination, there are also some contrasts that need to be discovered on closer inspection in the two core parts of the “As Dusk Falls” picture.

Although both are realistic styles, we can still see quite obvious hand-drawn elements in the portrait part of the game. As for the scene elements, although there are still some comic styles, the overall style leans more towards the standard realistic animation style. In my opinion, this contrast is quite clever. It not only highlights the characters with hand-drawn comic style elements, but also makes the entire game’s graphics more layered.

Upon closer inspection, it can be found that even with the same comic style, there are still certain differences in painting style between portraits and scenes

Admirable visuals are indeed valuable, but for a story-driven interactive game, telling a good story is the foundation of survival. In this regard, “As Dusk Falls” does an equally excellent job.

Unlike many such games, the story of “As Dusk Falls” does not have a “true protagonist” who stands at the center of all events.

In this story, which revolves around the entanglements of more than one family driven by fate, we often switch to the main perspectives of different characters and experience what happens to them.

The origin of everything can be traced back to the motel named “Desert Dream” in Shuangyan Town, Arizona in 1998. When the Walker family, who were on a moving trip, reunited at the motel due to a damaged fuel tank after a car accident and the Holt brothers who were being pursued for stealing money from the local police chief Dante’s house, the positions of both sides had changed from the two parties involved in the previous car accident to hostages and fugitives.

Meeting again, the two parties involved in the previous car accident have become fugitives and hostages

At this time, the three brothers of the Huo family – Taylor, Dell, and Jay, obviously did not realize the seriousness of the situation. They thought that as long as they took shelter in the hotel, they could run away with the stolen money.

However, such thinking is not entirely wrong – if Jay had not taken the booklet called “Arizona Birds” from the bookshelf while stealing money. The booklet itself is not a problem, but coincidentally, it contains a black notebook recording a series of political corruption incidents in which the sheriff was involved.

When Jie took away this seemingly insignificant little book, everything had already developed in an irreversible direction

If such an explosive thing were to be revealed, the blow to the sheriff and the big shots above him would likely be devastating. In such a situation, it is obvious what strategy the sheriff would adopt towards the group of people in the hotel who may have seen the contents of the notebook.

Taking advantage of the final request of the Holt family for a bus to take the hostages away, the sheriff arranged a scene where a “school bus” crashed into the door. In the subsequent gun battle, the second son of the Holt family, Dale, was accidentally shot and killed. The father of the Walker family, Vince, voluntarily chose to take his daughter Zoe, who was taken hostage by the remaining three Holt family members, to protect his daughter’s safety.

For a man like Vince who values his family above all else, such a choice is almost inevitable

In this tense and exciting hotel confrontation scene, “As Dusk Falls” cleverly intersperses the pre-story line related to this plot.

For example, when Vince was locked alone in the hotel office and the power to the entire hotel was cut off by the police outside, the game timely used a “dream” of arguing with a lawyer representing the airline in the office to bring time back to the daily life before the departure of this moving trip.

In this daily life, it not only shows Vince’s dreams and current situation, but also fully demonstrates his careful care for his daughter and some grudges and barriers between him and his wife. This not only answers the questions about “airline accidents” and “marriage problems” that existed in the previous plot, but also paves the way for the subsequent plot development.

Even in the depths of life, Vince still patiently and lovingly lulls his daughter to sleep

Of course, there are more than one such design in the game.

Like in Chapter 4, the youngest son of the Huo family, Jie, drove away from the hotel but encountered a car accident while being chased by the police. His mother and brother chose to escape first without being able to rescue him. They tried their best to escape from the car and fainted while searching for the forest cabin built by their father. Immediately, they inserted a reckless adventure launched by the son of Joyce, the owner of the “Desert Dream” hotel, a few months ago.

After experiencing the crisis of wild boar attack, Ash actually found the legendary ” forest fortress”, which is actually the small cabin that Jay was looking for before.

Encountered a wild boar, but also found a wooden house. Is Ash’s luck good or bad?

It is worth mentioning that at the end of this plot, the choice of whether to tell Sheriff Dante about the cabin will have a significant impact on the story of Jay coming to the cabin after a “wonderful encounter”.

The choice here is quite crucial

Without a doubt, the interlocking and layered plot design brings players a seamless experience throughout the game. Coupled with the well-paced plot of the entire story, I believe it will make friends who love plot-oriented games as thrilled as I am.

It should be noted that as an option-driven game, the key choices made by players in “As Dusk Falls” will often affect the development of the subsequent story. For example, when playing Vince and facing Taylor’s questioning, whether he reveals that he was with his wife and daughter will directly affect the success or failure of the police officer Shan Mu who came to the hotel to buy soda and investigate later, as well as whether he will receive a bento in the subsequent gunfight.

Whether this brother’s life can be saved depends entirely on the player’s choice

However, like many similar games, “As Dusk Falls” also has a situation where even if different choices are made, the final result remains the same, just happening in a different way.

For example, in the key option where Vince is taken hostage by Dell and confronts the police, if he chooses not to remind Dell, he will be shot in the head by a sniper on the spot; but even if he is reminded, he can only survive a little longer, and he will still fail in the subsequent gunfight. Although we should not argue about the outcome, such a plot development will indeed make the choices made by players before seem meaningless.

In contrast, the key decision here is not significant, because Dell will get the bento no matter what, it’s just a matter of time

But on the other hand, such a dilemma is also faced by today’s plot interactive games, and even all choice-driven games. After all, if each important option points to a unique corresponding result while maintaining the number of options, then the scale of this game is probably difficult to stop at 200G.

So, looking at the “lush” story tree of the game, I think it’s not an exaggeration to say “being able to achieve this step is already a victory”.

The story tree of the game is quite lush, and it takes a considerable amount of time to unlock all branches

Therefore, in addition to the rich choices and branches, “As Dusk Falls” unfolds the entire story from a perspective closer to ordinary people, allowing players to better immerse themselves in the story. Therefore, when faced with certain dilemmas, players often get caught up in the torn long exam.

To be honest, I don’t want to help either of these two

Throughout the whole story, the core conveyed by “As Dusk Falls” is actually “reconciliation” and “forgiveness”. Whether it is for ourselves or others, only after experiencing true relief can we truly understand and know ourselves, and life can move towards a better direction.

This is particularly evident in the game’s current year of 2012, when the two people deeply involved in the “Desert Dream Massacre” incident 14 years ago – the youngest son of the Huo family, Jay, and the daughter of Vince, Zoe, meet again after a long time.

Zoe (right) and Jay (left) say goodbye after 14 years

At the end of the game, the foreshadowing from the beginning of the story began to gather on Zoe’s grandfather Jim’s body. With the sound of a gunshot coming from the apartment where he lived alone, and the terrified and sad expression on Zoe’s face after passing by the hooded man who rushed out of the apartment, the game temporarily ended.

It can be foreseen that this story is far from over, and for me, who has already become a fan, this is undoubtedly good news.

The reason why “As Dusk Falls” has choices that are close to life is mainly due to two aspects.

One is that the story of this work itself does not take place in any high-tech or high-magic environment, but in a quite realistic parallel world. Even in the story, the game’s restoration of the differences and changes between the past and present timelines in 1998 and 2012 is quite accurate. As for why I say this, you can understand it by looking at your phone.

Mobile phones from 1998 (Part 1) vs Mobile phones from 2012 (Part 2)

Secondly, there is a time limit on the selection side in most cases of this game. Although it may not be very friendly to some players with decision-making difficulties, there are pros and cons. This design also makes the experience of players making choices more realistic. After all, in real life, we don’t always have time to think carefully about every problem we encounter.

Most of the choices in the game have time limits

And it is precisely because of the strong combination of these two aspects that someone like me, who is used to being “detached” when playing games and finds it difficult to empathize, also experienced the long-lost feeling of being “in the middle” in the game “As Dusk Falls”.

Not only that, I was also able to fully experience the contradiction and torn between self-will and character will.

Thanks to the excellent character design and shaping in the game, every character in “As Dusk Falls” appears quite unique and vivid, except for some marginalized “tools”.

For example, Vince, the “father” of the Walker family, had a dream of flying and indeed joined an airline, but he worked as a plane repairman. The gap between his dream and reality made him, who had always been bullied since childhood, become more tolerant and submissive.

Dreams are always full, but reality is often skinny

Even when facing the so-called “settlement agreement” that the airline company wants to make him a scapegoat in case of an accident and proposes to ruin his career, which is actually taking money to shut up and take the blame, and the money given is quite meager, he will seriously consider whether to sign it.

However, even in such a weak-willed “nice guy”, there are certain untouchable insistences – that is, family.

Because of the pain of being abandoned by his father, Vince values his family very much. This is clearly reflected in his companionship and care for his daughter Zoe, as well as his attitude towards his suspected cheating wife Michelle.

It has to be said that it was actually his father’s abandonment that created the current Vince

Such a character image may not be unfamiliar to many people, and I am no exception. After all, in countless ordinary families, there may be such a “father”.

Therefore, when I face the development and choices of the plot from the perspective of such a kind and vivid character, I often fall into the contradictions and torn mentioned above.

For example, when facing Taylor, a vicious gunman from his perspective at the time, who asked “who else is with you” when he accidentally saw his SUV full of luggage, given Vince’s character, he would probably choose to conceal the existence of his wife and daughter who were not present at the scene out of instinct to protect his family.

But from my own perspective, Taylor has already emphasized before that he hates dishonest people, and the motel they were in at the time was only so small, even if they chose to hide it, the possibility of being exposed later was very small. In this case, what is the need to create potential greater risks with a lie that is almost destined to be exposed?

There were many such conflicting moments throughout my entire journey.

If you have had a similar experience as me while playing this game, I believe you will also have a deep understanding of what I call “choices that are close to life” and “friendly and vivid character designs”.

In addition to the “hard dishes” such as visuals and stories, the performance of “As Dusk Falls” in dessert dishes such as interaction and sound effects is also commendable.

In terms of interaction, this work has differentiated designs for different scenes and actions . By simulating the actions during interaction, it provides players with a more appropriate and realistic interaction experience as much as possible.

The Interaction Design of this work is quite good in terms of richness and fit

As for the sound, it can be regarded as a major highlight of this work. Whether it is the high-quality English dubbing, cleverly arranged sound effects and transitions, or the appearance of more than one very good song in the game, all deserve a big “thumbs up”.

Take the beginning of the game as an example.

When the Walker family’s SUV was speeding on the road, Vince turned on the car radio. The radio was playing a song called “Good” from Better Than Ezra. However, this cheerful Pop Rock song was interrupted by a hollow fading echo after the chorus of “It was good”. I believe you can also see that both the song title and the timing of the song have already foreshadowed the changes that will happen later.

I can say with certainty that the timing of this song is definitely not a coincidence

Later, on the way to the sheriff’s house to steal money, the BGM was a post-rock instrumental music with a somewhat oppressive and dissonant tone. This oppression and dissonance reached its peak when the pickup truck was parked at the door of the house, but Jie was still wearing headphones and lost in thought. This was in sync with the gradually increasing anxiety and confusion of Jie, a boy who was inexperienced and pure in nature, when facing the crime he was about to participate in as the destination approached.

In the next second, as Jie was interrupted by Dell’s fierce patting of the carriage and took off his earphones, the music also abruptly stopped. This made the players and Jie play a “wall-breaking listening” game, which can be called a clever move.

Of course, the content of the sound is actually difficult to describe in words. If you want to have a real feeling, you might as well enter the game and experience it firsthand.

One more thing to add here, besides English dubbing, this work also provides rich support for multilingual dubbing, including both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. There is no doubt that this is a very favorable choice. However, objectively speaking, there is still a considerable gap compared to English dubbing, whether it is Simplified or Traditional Chinese dubbing. This is mainly reflected in the compatibility of the voice actor’s voice and character, as well as emotional presentation.

For the former, you only need to compare the dubbing of Vince in the simplified Chinese version and the English version to understand. As for the latter, I would suggest that you listen carefully to the series of dialogues and developments between the mother of the Huo family, Shalang, the eldest brother Taylor, and the younger brother Jie after being separated during the escape and reunited in a secret cabin. The differences between the dubbing in the simplified Chinese version and the English version exist.

Since we have already talked about some localization content from dubbing, let’s finish it. Apart from dubbing, the most core localization content of this work is undoubtedly text translation.

In this regard, “As Dusk Falls” obviously has some problems. Although most of the translations are relatively accurate, there are more than one problematic part.

For example, at the beginning of the story, after the car accident, the second son of the Huo family, Dale, responded to his eldest brother Taylor in the car, “I hope he didn’t see our license plate number.”

The original sentence “Nah, stupid hecker was too busy yelling in the wind” actually means “No, that fool was too busy yelling in the wind”. Such an error is obviously the result of not carefully understanding the meaning of the original sentence and not connecting it with the context.

The Chinese dubbing throughout the entire process showed me the sincerity of the production team in doing a good job in localization. Therefore, I hope they can truly strive for excellence and continuous improvement in this area, rather than staying in the current awkward situation of being mediocre.

Overall, the gaming experience that “As Dusk Falls” brought me was pleasing. After all, the lackluster promotion and the easily biased translation make it difficult for people to have high expectations before playing.

Perhaps it is precisely because of this that I was able to receive such a huge sense of surprise when it presented a story with both style and technology, almost perfect visuals, and although not shocking, excellent rhythm control and theme selection.

In my opinion, “As Dusk Falls” can definitely be called a new peak of interactive story games, and it can be foreseen that it will also become another classic in the history of such games in the future.

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