My Game of the Month – October: SOMA

Technically this game came out in September. Technically this is my blog, so my rules. Technically I was still playing this game in October so there you have it!

I’m going to apologise in advance by saying that a few chunks of this blog post will be ripped from my review of the game that will feature in November’s issue of Quench (Cardiff University magazine). Still, all my original writing so don’t worry about that, I’m not a plagiarist!

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I love a good horror game, and you know what, SOMA has got to be at the top of the charts for horror this Halloween. Albeit a relatively slow start the game really escalates and intensifies the more you play, spiraling into some crazy fast-pased game of cat and mouse with horrific undead scientists and giant fish (not kidding). The atmosphere is perfectly created, it really makes you feel lonely in the eerie quietness of the ocean or the long, cold metallic corridors only accompanied by the odd flicker of a broken door switch or the lovely howl of an abomination. A pretty to-the-point summary that I wrote for the review feels right to put here:

“From the creators of the infamous Amnesia series and Penumbra games, Frictional Games have created yet again another quality first-person horror game. The same people who made you terrified of water monsters have placed you in the middle of the ocean, kind of funny that isn’t it? Instead of crawling through castle dungeons and stinky morgues, in SOMA you have an entirely different world to survive. This one consists of flickering light, Alien-esque corridors and the pitch black abyss of the ocean.  It feels surprisingly fresh; although many people are likely to compare SOMA to the Bioshock series, these are very different games. We can all agree that Bioshock was more action than horror, SOMA is all horror with a hint of puzzle solving.”

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 Yeah I quoted myself. I went there. Again, I won’t spoil the story on this post simply because that’s what makes this bitter adventure so sweet. Reaching the finale is a breathtakingly fresh dystopian vision of a future humanity. The whole game makes you step back for a moment to think about the value of life. In this underwater world where robots think they’re humans and man-eating piranha-like fish devour anything not protected by lights, is it worth it still fighting to survive?

For an epic adventure containing chilling atmospheric set-pieces, intense cat and mouse chases (where you cower for your life) and a brilliant thought-provoking story line give SOMA a go. You won’t be disappointed trust me.

If you want to read my full review for the game pick up a copy of Quench if you’re in and around Cardiff, otherwise head over to: http://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/quench/ where it’ll be posted for next months issue.

Alexander Jones