Normally, I am not a fan of horror games. I scare far too quickly and can’t handle the suspense well, so I don’t enjoy this type of game. Since, according to horror fanatics, there are a number of titles you must have played, I decided to try a number of horror games in recent years, to see if I could get over my fears. Meanwhile, I have had a lot of fun with Resident Evil Village and The Evil Within 2, among others, which in addition to horror elements also has a strong story that managed to grab my attention. So horror can suit me, but it has to be more than just scares, which is why I decided to dive into Sons of the Forest with friends, a game that managed to create an awful lot of hype leading up to its early access release.
Unfortunately, I had not played the first part of this series, The Forest, so I went into the sequel fairly blind. Sons of the Forest builds on the original in terms of story and gameplay elements, so it is helpful to at least know the story of The Forest. I had this explained to me by one of my fellow players, who made sure everything eventually fell into place.
A mysterious story
For Sons of the Forest is basically one big mystery. The game begins with a helicopter ride that crashes on a desert island. Together with the only other survivor Kelvin, you set out to gather wood and cut down trees, in order to build at least a small base. Next, you go in search of food and drinking water, to ensure that your character can stay alive. In essence, this is the basis of the survival element of Sons of the Forest, and this alone can keep you busy for hundreds of hours. The options for building out your base are endless, and I’ve already seen some fantastic structures on the Internet. You can build your own house with tree trunks very intuitively, or choose to make one from your booklet. In addition, the booklet is full of other useful constructions, for which you then only need to collect the materials, where Kelvin can help you and your friends.
Kelvin is a tremendously clever addition to the game, who not only works as an ideal companion, but can also be hilarious. For example, at the start of the game I had Kelvin collect some wood so we could make a trap for fish and set up a rack where he could place the sticks. I forgot to give Kelvin another assignment for a while, then I came back to our camp and saw that he had found a huge pile of sticks. Kelvin then gives you a thumbs up in a very proud and dry manner, leaving you with nothing to do but laugh at his simple thoughts.
On an adventure
Now I’m not the most avid base builder myself so I decided to quickly explore the world with friends and from the moment you start doing that, the world of The Forest unfolds more and more. You quickly learn that you are not the only person on this island. In fact, there are large groups of cannibals who want nothing more than to serve you for dinner, large beasts like deer and elk, and another woman with several extra limbs, who you later learn is named Virginia.
There are a lot of secrets hidden on the island, which you will learn more about step by step, provided you pay close attention. In fact, the story of Sons of the Forest is told through environmental storytelling, which means you have to pay close attention to understand what is happening. If you find an email in a vault underground that is a lot more futuristic than the rest of the island, make sure you read it. After all, through these short messages, you’re going to solve some puzzles. What do you still need to do to continue with the story, what happened on this island, why are there so many places with modern technology and why are there so many people here? I love the way this story is told, which made me carefully read every email and newspaper clipping to find out exactly what is going on. I won’t give anything else away about the story of Sons of the Forest, but what you should know is that elements from the first game return in this volume.
The real creepiness of Sons of the Forest starts as soon as you explore the game’s caves. Here you will find monsters mysteriously created, hiding in the dark places of the island. You must find important items in these places, using your often homemade weapons and armor, a depleting battery in your flashlight and an ever-shrinking food supply. Storming the caves in this game can be an exciting adventure, especially if you haven’t found any strong items yet. I was very happy to do this with friends, as the silent caves would be even scarier to go through on your own.
Currently, Sons of the Forst is in Early Access and already has a tremendous amount to offer. The story is already very strong, you can spend hundreds of hours perfecting your base and it is incredibly fun to explore the world with friends. During the early access period, the game will grow even more, with story elements, new weapons and new caves to explore. I will definitely be keeping an eye on the game over the next few months to see if I can learn more about this compelling story and have adventures.
Sons of the Forest manages to be immensely convincing even in its Early Access period. The way of storytelling manages to make me try to read every bill because I want to learn everything about this world. Even after completing the mission, I want to know more, which is why I can’t wait to continue when the story has more to offer. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of caves to explore and adventures to have, so we are far from finished.