The real me died like a hundred years ago, is there still room for me?
SOMA has been a game in my library for some time and I was talking to myself about the lack of horror games I played last year. So, I had the bright idea to finally play SOMA and experience what I have missed all these years, and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. In some ways this game reminded me of Frictional Games Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Pros and Cons
Impactful story that asks you what it means to be human
Frightening atmospheric gameplay, with monsters lurking around the corner
Creepy graphics that make the bottom of the ocean scary
Some of the monsters are not scary
I wish the ocean segments were utilized more
Simon Jarrett has recently survived a car crash and his friend Ashley Hall passed away; Simon survived the incident but was left with permanent brain damage. Later, he wakes up in his apartment and gets a phone call from David Munshu, who has a plan to help him heal from the incident. As soon he sits down and is about to get his brain scanned when he suddenly sees a flash of light from the machine that’s scanning him.
Simon then wakes up and finds out that the building he is in is abandoned and is at the bottom of the sea. He does not know why he is here or what even has happened to the place around him. He later finds out that there are no humans left, food is running low, a black organic substance is covering the building, and the robots are starting to think they are human.
The story for SOMA is impactful, the only issue is, is that I can’t talk about it as it’s one of those stories that is best left for you, yourself to see it. So, it’s best if you take my word for it and witness it for yourself.
Now in terms of gameplay, SOMA is more of a liner kind of horror game, but it does have some light puzzle solving. Although, you will be going from point A to B, running from monsters, and going through story elements. Monsters you come across have a certain way of moving through the area you are in. While there is more than one in the game, you will only be dealing with one monster at a time. You cannot fight them and must rely on hiding, distracting them, or running.
How the enemies attack is also handled differently as well from other horror games. Instead of you taking damage when getting attacked, the monster will knock you out, and it will go to a different part of the map you are in. However, it will still be near you, so you should be alert when walking around.
All the sounds that you make will attract attention to the monsters you see, so when you are near one or you know one is close by, it’s best to crouch so you can avoid making too much noise or go into another room. Luckily for you, all the doors in the game are the loudest thing you will ever hear, just as loud as the TF2’s Dead Ringer.
The puzzles you encounter are interesting, even though there are only a few in the game as a whole. The puzzles may test your knowledge, so if you are someone who likes that type of thing, then this game does fill that need. The only issue I really had with the puzzles is that once you figure out the patterns on them, solving them does become easy.
That’s really all I have to say in terms of SOMA’s gameplay, it does not really have much to it in terms of the other horror games Frictional Games have made. That’s not to say it was not worth playing, as I had a lot of fun with the game. However, I do have two issues with SOMA that I encountered while I was playing the game.
The primarily issue I had, was the fact that some of the monsters were not scary, this stemmed from the fact that some of them just required you not looking at them. This means that if one were to to be close to you, all you had to do was crouch, stand still, and look the other way, while the monster walked by. This does not apply to all of the monsters in the game though, as some of them do have different variations on how to handle them, some do require you to run and hide.
I am not in danger as much as I was in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, as in that game, the odds felt really stacked against you. You had monsters, the Darkness was after you, and your sanity was also a hindrance, I never felt that in SOMA. That’s not to say the game isn’t scary though, when something does chase you, it can get intense.
The other issue I had is that the underwater ocean segments I thought could have been utilized better. I would have liked there to of been a monster to have chased me while I was roaming in it, while there are a few segments like that. They aren't until near the end of the game or the minor ones you can come across with a some small robot. I think having a monster that was an actual threat to you, chase you in the ocean would be a great thing in SOMA. It would made you feel unsafe wherever you went if there was one in every section.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics in SOMA have this creepy aroma to them that make you want to run and hide when something out of the ordinary is seen. I loved how the areas felt isolated in the environments. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB. AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, 16 GB of RAM, I experienced no issues while I was playing.
If you loved Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then I can guarantee that you will find SOMA to be enjoyable. I would wait for a sale if you were a bit skeptical because the game is linear for the most part. Although I had a genuinely wonderful experience with the game, and I highly recommend it to any horror game fan.