Greetings internet! Today I have for you my review of Soma. Now, I’m not going to make you wait till the end to know my verdict. If you like horror, buy it. If you like immersive atmospheres, buy it. If you like intriguing stories, buy it. And I mean at full price if you can afford it. Frictional games have made a wonderful game, and deserve the support of paying full price. hehe
If you prefer a video check this out!
It seems hard to me to tell much about the story, without giving away too much. You play as Simon Jarratt. Recently you were in a severe automobile accident. Leaving you with brain damage, and your passenger dead. In an attempt to fix the damage done to your noggin, you turn to Mr. Munshi. He is going to scan your brain, and run tests. So that they can fail with the wrong things and not affect you, to find the right thing to do. Things do not go as planned. As the bright light of the scan fades to black, you find yourself in a different place. Quickly finding that things are rather different. Are you dreaming? Dead? Or is this all real. The story will draw you in, the atmosphere will make you live there, and the reality of the world you are then inhabiting will test your morality, sanity, and resolve. The balance and flow of the dread, sad moments, joy of success and shear terror to be had is spot on. It;s a wonderful ride.
Now on to the REVIEW portion.
I’m going to start with my negatives. Lucky me there are only a few.
There could be better optimization of loading. It is far too easy to tell things are going to change when it slows down and the loading brain appears.
I did find a few obvious graphic glitches. Nothing horrid, and easily missed if you are not really searching the rooms.
The voice acting is mostly good, there are a few moments it felt too flat for the situation. Maybe I’m just nitpicking at this point. lol
The creatures do not react to sound as they should. Moving around, they hear, activate a console, they hear, throw a can and they seem to ignore it. *laugh*
Really that is all the negative I have to say about the game. hehe
Now to the much larger positive portion.
The writing is well done. There are many “lore items” in the game so you can get to know the things that have gone down. Some of it is reading, some audio, but almost all entertaining and engaging.
The sound is superb. The music works great with the setting, the sounds of npc’s is spot on. Things moving, sparking, or whatever else they are doing feels right. The sound design does a wonderful job of making you feel you are there, and things are real. Sure, the music CAN take you out of it a bit, but mostly it serves to enhance the feeling of the scene. Not so much a negative, as personal preference, I think Simon should really walk quieter! He makes too much noise, even while crouching. Heel toe man, roll your foot, don’t scuff it!
Graphics are great as well. For an indie team, this is some triple A stuff. Aside from a few moments that I saw watching a creature move, it is well executed. They move realistically and smoothly. Though I once saw the walking a tad off from the movement itself, feet sliding a touch, but it was minor and only once. They put a lot of detail into the art of the world. The creatures look great, the environments are wonderful to look at.
While the gameplay is very fun, it could have an improvement or two. As stated in my negatives, the creatures do not react to sound right, and so we can’t trick them by throwing something and going a different direction. Oh how many times I would have loved to be able to do that. hehe I am a cautious guy, so I spent a fair amount of time crouching, and peeking around corners, standing still and listening as things walked down the halls. Interacting with things had weight to them. Running felt natural. Even being wounded felt as it should. Dependant on your style, you might spend a fair deal of time crouching as I did, or maybe running away from everything you alerted to your presence. Either way, it’s intense and fun.
All in all I found this game to be fantastic. I am not usually a horror player, I play with a 7.1 surround sound headset, in a dark room alone, and I get way too into it. hehe But Soma had the right pacing to keep me engaged, on the edge of my seat, but not so terrified I found myself dreading playing. And it was not just jump scares. Though it had a few. The atmosphere they created here kept me wanting to search all the stuff, but fearful enough to be cautious. The building of the dread, and subsequent horror that would follow was expertly done. Not always doing what you would expect, but always keeping you on your toes. Granted, near the end it kicked up a few notches, and I did have to take a break or two. However the game was so much fun and engaging, the story too interesting, I could not stay away for long!
So if you are interested in a game like this, I suggest you pick it up right away. Don’t wait for a sale, it’s very worth getting at full price. And if you are interested but don’t want to play it yourself, there are plenty of “Let’s Plays” you can watch. I myself did those before this review. So, go here to watch them.
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