As Dusk Falls review: Xbox’s atypical narrative adventure leaves a powerful mark

As Dusk Falls

MSRP $29.99

“As Dusk Falls is an atypical narrative adventure game with a compelling story about family.”


  • Strong script
  • Relatable characters
  • Decisions really matter
  • Beautiful art


  • Clunky controls
  • Dull quick-time events

In the course of the last two gaming generations, developers like Telltale and Quantic Dream redefined the narrative adventure genre, putting less emphasis on point-and-click puzzle-solving. As an alternative, they focused on making the sport like an interactive movie with many player decisions which have a direct impact on the sport’s narrative. The genre has undergone its trials and tribulations during the last decade, and even Netflix has adapted elements of it for interactive TV shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Xbox Game Studios and Interior Night’s As Dusks Falls finds itself somewhere between Telltale and Quantic Dream’s formula and an interactive movie.

As Dusk Falls isn’t like several other game within the Xbox exclusive lineup due to its motion comic-like presentation, however it’s still interactive with frequent dialogue decisions and quick time events. As a result of its unique presentation and grounded story, As Dusk Falls stands out as a worthwhile and atypical narrative game, even when it doesn’t feel great to play on a controller.

An evening to recollect

As Dusk Falls is a grounded, gritty crime drama about two struggling families. It’s split into two three-chapter books: Collision and Expansion. In Collision, you’ll mainly take control of Vince, a father on a road trip together with his family, and Jay, the youngest of the Holt brothers. After the Holts run Vince’s family off the road, they have to stay in a motel. But when the Holts steal from the town of Two Rock’s police chief, they find yourself at the identical motel and hold Vince, his family, and others inside as hostages. Vince is written as a down-on-his-luck everyman, so it’s easy to empathize with him as he tries to maintain his family secure, and negotiate with the Holts and Two Rock’s crooked sheriff to take them down.

Those that enjoy grounded crime dramas will undoubtedly be enthralled.

Meanwhile, Jay is the youngest of the struggling (and now criminal) Holt family, and he’s not as onboard with their violent and dangerous approach, even when he’s just as culpable for his or her actions. Jay and Vince’s narratives reflect one another well as people trapped resulting from aspects outside their control. In consequence, Collision is the strongest a part of As Dusk Falls, as many decisions have palpable and, in some cases, life-or-death results. That’s only half the sport, though, as (without spoiling much) Expansion focuses on what happens to the Holts, namely Jay, after the hostage situation and likewise flashes forward to point out the PTSD Vince’s daughter Zoe has been left with following this whole debacle.

Expansion isn’t as consistent as Collision because its on-the-run criminal and PTSD storylines are a bit less intimate than the tensely written hostage situation. Nevertheless, Collision’s strong groundwork kept me excited to see these characters’ journeys throughout. Thankfully, the writing is consistently compelling and entertaining. Quantic Dream’s narrative adventure games, particularly, often suffered resulting from some problematic characters and awkward dialogue. I didn’t run into moments like in As Dusk Falls, as even the villainous Holts are painted sympathetically.

The developer has explained how this game had a TV show-like author’s room, which shows in the standard of the narrative. Even when it peaks early, those that enjoy grounded crime dramas will undoubtedly be enthralled by the extreme story of As Dusk Falls as they make decisions that deliver its consequence.

Emotion comic

As Dusk Falls succeeds at telling a compelling choice-based narrative, but what makes it stick out is its unique presentation. Inside moments of starting, you’ll notice that it isn’t traditionally animated like most games.

As Dusk Falls feels sluggish to play on a controller.

As an alternative, it’s presented like a motion comic, with the sport playing out through a series of still images with only occasional small movements. That puts a number of pressure on writing and art and thankfully that faith is well-placed. As Dusk Falls’ painterly images look excellent in 4K on Xbox Series X and surprisingly profit its storytelling capabilities. I used to be continuously engaged as my mind subtly filled within the blanks of what’s not shown between each frame; this approach also circumvents the awkward pauses the genre is thought for because each alternative is made on a static image, not in a real-time cutscene.

In fact, in case you don’t like motion comics and need more detailed animation, As Dusk Falls won’t be for you. Still, this atypical look never got in the best way of my adventure; the cursor controls and quick time events are what did that. Typically, the one interaction in As Dusk Falls is you moving a cursor across the screen to choose a dialogue option or interact with an object within the environment. When using a controller, moving the cursor never feels quite right because it lags a bit behind where you would like it to be. Quick time events, which mainly consist of mashing the A button or moving the control stick in specific ways, also delay them.

As Dusk Falls feels sluggish to play on a controller. Thankfully, this never caused me to fail a QTE and branch the narrative in a way I didn’t wish to, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel awkward once they popped up. Considering that’s the one actual gameplay interaction, it’s a noticeable flaw. It’s price noting that the sport may feel higher to regulate with friends via the As Dusk Falls mobile app, but I didn’t have the chance to check that app or its multiplayer out for this review.

With As Dusk Falls, Interior Night and Xbox Game Studios are testing the boundaries of what an interactive narrative adventure game will be. It’s actually odd for this to be one in every of the largest Xbox exclusives of 2022, however it keenly demonstrates that there’s still so much that developers can do to innovate inside a genre that seems limited at first glance.

Our take

Even when As Dusk Falls doesn’t feel great to play on a controller, it’s a compelling crime drama narrative that is still exciting at the same time as the scenario ramps up and becomes increasingly outlandish. Should you like crime dramas or narrative-driven games, it’s price checking this out on Xbox Game Pass on the very least.

Is there a greater alternative?

Should you like choice-driven narrative games like As Dusk Falls, I like to recommend testing Life is Strange: True Colours, which has an equally compelling story and gameplay that’s more involved.

How long will it last?

Completing As Dusk Falls once should take about six hours, comparable to the length of a limited series that the sport is so clearly inspired by. You may replay the entire game or specific chapters and scenarios in case you so select, increasing your playtime.

Do you have to buy it?

Yes. Should you enjoy narrative adventure games, As Dusk Falls is shaping as much as be one of the vital entertaining ones this 12 months.

As Dusk Falls was reviewed on Xbox Series X.

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