Sons of the Forest Review
The Forest in 2018 left a lasting impression on me with its first intense, nerve-wracking meeting with the cannibal. Even though Sons of the Forest cannot recreate that initial shiver I felt upon my encounter, it surely adds to one of the best survival crafting games available by expanding its narrative and game mechanics. Its atmosphere is sensational. Despite its Early Access status, I rarely noticed any unfinished cutscenes or inconsistent performance. In comparison to many other recently released games with the same label, it held itself remarkably well.
Years following The Forest, Sons of the Forest beckons you to explore and survive while revealing new mysteries on an astounding temperate island that evokes a Pacific Northwest hiking experience. Vastly larger than its predecessor's map, it is simply stunning. With abundant vegetation ranging from edibles to pharmaceuticals, this game offers a level of richness rarely witnessed in such ventures - further enhancing your virtual journey! The lighting in this game is simply stunning. When the sunlight peeks through partially obstructed clouds, it totally transforms my journey for the better and adds an air of magic to everything around me. It's something that many games tend to overlook but when one successfully gets it right, I'm sure to take note!
Even though I'm not totally satisfied with the optimization yet, my RTX 3080 generally runs at a smooth 60 frames per second or better when set to 1080p and DLSS on maximum quality. However, occasionally during longer travel over land, I'll experience small drops into the 20s. Consequently, leaves and rocks may pop in a few dozen meters ahead of me; this can be quite distracting from the game experience overall. During wet weather or when multiple sounds were playing simultaneously, I experienced several audio distortions. Though it's usually among the last features to be perfected in a game, I'm sure that by the end of the Early Access period, these issues can be fixed and performance improved significantly.
Enhancing the immersive and hostile atmosphere of Sons of the Forest is its cyclical system of seasons; including bitter winters that deplete most nourishing vegetation, forcing you to stay conscious not only about your food but body temperature as well. This effect was undoubtedly welcome, yet there's still more potential for weather-related difficulties. Being soaked or freezing cold should be a life-threatening danger even on higher difficulty levels rather than just merely an irritating nuisance. Not to mention, it's impossible even with explosives like C4 to break a sheet of ice on a lake or river. Despite that, I found great pleasure in experiencing the variety and change of difficulty between seasons while playing this game.
Cannibal AI has seen an impressive transformation from The Forest, becoming more sophisticated and advanced than ever.
Ah, the cannibals. They certainly defy everything we've learned about video game enemies! Unlike other games where aggression serves as a priority, these bone-clad baddies prioritize self-preservation above all else. Every encounter with them begins in an intense stand-off and many will choose not to fight if they're alone or when you don't display fear towards them. Thanks to significant upgrades since The Forest, their AI has improved significantly too - stealth is more effective; social dynamics are further advanced and group behavior is much more varied!
These creatures are truly a marvel, they can scale trees to escape and surprise you from above. Someone who's experienced being caught outside at night with them nearby will understand the terror it entails. You'll have to find out all their fascinating interactions yourself, but be warned - every time I thought there was nothing else in store for me, they managed to shock me again!
Delve into the island's depths, and you'll uncover something far more menacing than cannibals. Sons of the Forest includes insidious mutants that are much deadlier compared to those in its predecessor. I was thrilled with this greater emphasis on combat as it created a sense of tension rather than providing reckless entertainment or ticking off certain boxes.
Battling a powerful adversary or an army of foes is like solving a strategic resource management puzzle, reminiscent of the most thrilling aspects in Resident Evil and The Last Of Us. While ranged weapons can keep you protected from harm's way, ammo may not be so readily available. When attempting to fight hand-to-hand combat, it is nearly impossible to overcome without taking damage that chips away your breakable armor pieces as well as healing items. And if you're devoid of batteries for your flashlight? You might very well find yourself six feet under! Personally, I would opt for running out of bullets and food nine times before I lose my light source in the depths underground.
Prepare to be amazed as you journey through the later chapters of Sons of the Forest - you'll never guess where they will take you!
As I am deliberating my options, the risks and rewards must be weighed. Is it worth the arrows that could potentially get lost engaged in battle with a cannibal camp? What about using medicinal supplies to heal me if I choose to fight this mutant with an axe rather than firearms? The combat is exceptionally precise and responsive too as animations don't appear clunky or awkward - ultimately preserving resources for more consequential endeavors.
Even if you've experienced The Forest or have an idea of the direction it takes, I guarantee Sons of the Forest will still shock and surprise you. But - buckle up - even more so if this is your first time in this world! This spine-tingling story commences with attempting to discover a wealthy man and his family who vanished into nature; however, instead intensifies its supernatural elements from the previous title – not always pleasingly but certainly never subsiding its captivating allure.
The finale is not only astonishing but unfortunately still a bit unpolished. I won't spoil any of it here, however, that's when the Early Access nature became more evident with some missing dialogue and awkward character interactions. Unless you absolutely must finish the story right away, I'd suggest postponing until it has reached its full potential since there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy in the meantime.
Have you dreamed of creating an impenetrable fortress that even the cannibals couldn’t breach? Now, with our revolutionary modular building system, your dream can become a reality! Allowing you to place individual structure elements like windows and support beams exactly where you want them. I have spent five or six hours on it so far and haven't even scratched the surface yet - imagine what could be constructed if there was an eight-person crew in multiplayer mode! In addition to all this power, server issues are almost non-existent as well making this venture worry-free.
Sons of the Forest is a remarkable follow-up to its predecessor, taking everything that worked before and perfecting it. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed playing the original, I can strongly encourage you to check out this sequel if possible! Traversing an expansive and breathtaking island with different seasons makes for a truly special experience. Additionally, there are new base-building mechanics which could provide hours upon hours of entertainment without ever touching on the main narrative. And to make matters even better, we have smarter and more hostile enemy behavior combined with improved combat. As it stands right now during the Early Access stage, the game is already great! With a few necessary performance optimization tweaks and some polish of an emotionally resonant yet unrefined ending - this could become an incredible title.
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