SOMA is a psychological horror game created by the same studio that gave us the brilliant Amnesia and Penumbra series. This time, it takes place underneath the ocean with heavy emphasis on zero-fighting and story telling. Its narrative follows the same formula but is upgraded a notch to make us question about human minds and its existence. Without further ado, let’s get in the review to see if their latest offering is able to give us a chilling and unforgettable experience below!
(this review is written with excessive care to avoid revealing spoilers, but some minor spoilers may still appear in order to review this game fully)
The basic premise is the protagonist being transported into an underwater facility suddenly that seems to be breaking down as time passes. Something is controlling or affecting the robots and living beings in the sea and you have to find out about the backstories through multiple notes, audio tracks and other hidden clues throughout the game.
The narrative is just brilliant in the sense that it pulls us into the story right at the beginning. With its very hands-on centric gameplay inherited from the Amnesia series where you use the mouse to do real movements to affect the in-game world, it really makes you feel like you are interacting directly with the game world. Everything is smoothly done and spotless, though it can be a bit tedious in some parts of the game when you have other threats to think of. Still, the gameplay just works and fit the game very well.
Story wise, it’s a great offering that perhaps truly makes me think during and after I finished the game. Its game world is just filled with details and lots of back stories can be found around you if you look for them. Often, you can piece the information together to understand the prior events that cause the destruction of the facilities. It’s main anchor of using human brains and artificial existence fully explored without feeling forced, and does make you question your own existence after you completed the game.
The graphics are pretty good with a definite step up from the Amnesia series with better special effects and details. You can see much more stuff in your screen and would bring you into the game world much more easily with all these effects replicating a real view of the underwater world. One thing though, as its a horror game, most of the places are pretty dark and can be Quite blurry, which I believe is used for maximising impact and impressions but its just a bit too much that my eyes hurt a bit after playing it for a while. I would say the graphic is between a AAA title and indie game standard.
Well, the characters themselves are pretty interesting and are diverse in their ethnicity and backgrounds. All of them are found in either robotic or human form, but both retain the thoughts and consciousness of the person. The main character himself is a Canadian who is just feeling lost as he is transported so suddenly to this strange underwater facility. Other characters are filled with personalities, and even those mentioned in the backstories audio logs help to give us more information regarding their personalities and reasons to do do what they did. None of the characters feel fake or like an extra and all of them contribute to the story and the game world in more ways than one.
Music soundtracks are overall pretty great and they create the perfect atmosphere ranging from creepiness to other emotions like happiness and sadness. Much of the game depends on atmospheric sounds or sound effects to heighten the tension throughout the game. It is also used to detect enemies as most of them will produce specific sounds when they are nearby. The atmospheric sounds really draw you into the game world right from the start till the end.
Categories: Games Review