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SOMA (PC) artwork

SOMA (PC) review

"It's a masterpiece, absolutely brilliant!"

I was one of those people that couldn’t stand the pressure and anxiety while playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which resulted in me giving up on the game a couple of hours into it. All this to say that when Frictional Games announced they were making a new game I didn’t even bothered following it or looking at reviews and reading about it when it was released about an year ago. Fast forward until a week or so ago and I eventually gave in and decided to grab this one as part of the Humble Monthly program. I must say I’m so glad I did, otherwise I’d have missed this masterpiece.

Contrary to the first Amnesia, SOMA isn’t as scary but I find that the overall ambiance is much more interesting and immersive. The sound design is really top notch and there is nothing else that makes you skip a heartbeat other than hearing a sudden scratching sound, something banging, very slow but heavy footsteps from far away or the power suddenly going out. Not only the graphics but the visual design of every piece of the environment combined with the superb sound design make this easily one of the most immersive and atmospheric games I’ve ever played.

If you were wondering about voice acting, all I can say is that it is outstanding. Not even once I thought the voice actors were forcing themselves too hard and all the characters you meet react exactly in the way you’d expect them to react in that scenario and in a genuine way.

The gameplay is what you’d expect from a game like this, there are sections in which you need to activate something or get an item while trying to avoid an enemy and no, you can’t kill them. These sections tend to be really intense when you’re dealing with a type of enemy for the first time because you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know if it’s slow, if it reacts to sound or if it can see you. These parts were really thrilling, since I was always on edge, especially when I completed an objective and then I’d start running like a lunatic towards the exit with an enemy running frantically after me, it was scary and hilarious at the same time.

Despite all that, the real meat of the game for me is when you’re free to explore without having to constantly look over your shoulder, when you go through the various terminals spread throughout the levels and read and listen to the logs left by other people, when you just admire this strange world around you and wonder “What if?”...

What if this will eventually happen… Chances are you have no idea what I’m talking about unless you’ve played the game. That is to say, SOMA's plot is more than just horror and terror, it questions our own very existence, what it truly means to be human, to be alive and until what extent should we go as a species in order to ensure our continuity.

This is among my top games that I’ve ever played and I tend to be very picky as to what goes on my top list so that should tell you something. If you’re into games with amazing atmospheres that excel at immersing you into the game world in a way that you feel that you’re actually in the body of someone else or if you enjoy stories that make you question our existence, I sincerely think you should play this.

Zorder's avatar
Community review by Zorder (January 17, 2017)

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts."


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