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Soma Quick Review


Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Format: Playstation 4
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
Soma is an atmospheric Sci-fi horror game played in the first person perspective with a focus on stealth. Players take on the role of Simon Jarrett, a man that is dying from a brain injury, as you'll learn within the first few minutes of the game, sustained in a car accident. The game begins in Simons apartment with him waking up to his phone ringing from a call confirming an appointment for a brain scan and reminding you to drink a tracer so the scan results in a clear picture.

Once you do this, you'll head off to the appointment, receive a little backstory on the way, and end up in an empty waiting room that's being remodeled. This immediately gives off the sense that shits about to go down and begins to set up the atmosphere of the game. From here, you'll meet up with the man giving you the brain scan, go through a conversation with him and then have this big helmet thing lowered onto you. The scan only takes a few seconds and when it's done and the helmet's raised, you'll quickly notice you're not in the same room you were anymore, you're in what looks like some kind of space ship, or warehouse or something.

If you want to know what happens next you'll have to play the game. If you've read any of my other reviews, you know I don't do spoilers and this game is story heavy. But I will say that for the first quarter of the game, you'll end up just as confused as the main character but the game starts piecing together the story little by little pretty early on and the twist is something completely unexpected. Also, with a little exploration, you can learn a lot about the games backstory.


There is no combat in Soma, it's either run, hide or die. The only thing Simon carries around is an omnitool which is used to open doors and a few other things. There aren't very many monsters in the game and you'll never run into more than one at a time, or at least I didn't. Most of the monsters can be easily avoided if you're sneaky enough. All you really need to do is find a safe place to watch them from and learn their routes to get past them. If you're not the stealthy type, then you'll have one on your ass in an instant because any little noise attracts their attention. Even opening a door causes them to come investigate.

Some of these monsters are really hard to shake once they're on to you and can make for some intense moments. At one point, I kicked a glass on the ground while trying to sneak past one and alerted it to my presence. It immediately came after me and chased me around the area for a good 4 minutes until I turned around to see how much distance I had on it but when I turned around, it was right in my face. Ducking and dodging through hallways and rooms didn't get it off of me so stealth is definitely the best approach. With that being said, there are a few spots in the game when I knew where I was going and just ran past the monster into the next area. The monster wasn't able to follow either so if all else fails, just run!


As for the health system, Simon can take a few hits before he is killed. The first hit will knock you out and you'll wake up right where that happened and the monster will have just gone back to doing it's walking around thing. There is no health bar but when you wake up you will notice a difference in the way Simon moves. Most of the time it was a limp for me. To regain lost health you need to find these node things around the levels. You will know them by they way you interact with them which sticking your finger in it. They're also part of the story so I won't say what they are but you will see one very early in the game.

The atmosphere of Soma is where the game shines. Frictional Games did a great job at keeping the game creepy from start to finish. This especially goes for the monsters. I didn't get used to them at all and it's because the way they were spread out in the game. With most horror games, you run into tons of monsters and you eventually become desensitized to their presence. Soma has just enough monsters to keep you on your toes to the point that even when your in an area without them, you're still watching your back and the environments and sound design amplify the creepiness. I recommend playing this game in surround sound if possible.


Conclussion

Soma looks good, sounds good, plays good and has a good story. The only complaint I have is the games length, it only took about 6 hours to complete but I never consider a game leaving me wanting more because it's good a bad thing.

Summary:
+ Story
+ Sound Design
+ Graphics
+ Overall Creepiness
- N/A

Score: 9/10 "Amazing"

What I played: 6 hours completing the game once and unlocking all 10 trophies
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