Tuesday, December 5

SOMA Review


Frictional Games has made a name for itself in the video game industry. And is not for less. After three episodes of Penumbra (PC), the Swedish studio managed to redefine the horror genre with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a game that, with a budget just enough managed to inspire authentic Triple A years later. Since 2010, Frictional Games has been working on SOMA, and finally this project awaits us, after several years in PC, to our xbox one, a game that totally changes the setting but not mechanics.

Duration


SOMA is a survival-horror, for which the duration of the game, will depend on the player and his way of playing, does not have collectibles, so everything is history and can be finished in around 5 to 6 hours.

Gameplay


I have always commented. The "Amnesia formula" is practically a constant in the genre today, and is based on two main pillars. Exploration in the first person and indestructible enemies that you can only hide. Nowadays, I find it strange to see a horror game in the third person, precisely because the Frictional Games formula is "better" in many aspects.

It's supposed that this perspective makes the experience more immersive, but also the developers save themselves to animate the protagonist or introduce combat mechanics. Everyone wins. Of course, if a study can't be reproached that they adhere to this is a Frictional, the parents of the concept. In SOMA, the Swedes have not wanted to take risks, and remain true to the known bases.

Thus, SOMA is a horror game based on exploration, where you will have to go through a series of environments looking for the objects that will allow you to progress, usually with some other creature complicating your existence. All this in a very interesting universe, a kind of mixture between Alien and BioShock that takes you to a sub-futuristic court complex where a series of experiments have been carried out that do not seem to have gone very well.

I will not go into the plot details, but i have to say that the story has seemed very interesting to me, and not only because of the plot itself, but because of the themes it proposes. One of the most recurrent is how far an artificial intelligence can be "intelligent", can have feelings, and to what extent you can feel something -compassion, joy ...- for them. Apart, the game has it's protagonists, it's secondary, it's good and it's bad, although all wrapped in a fairly dark halo.

The design of the game in general, i liked a lot, and of course it gets to be very, very oppressive. Darkness is a constant, both in the interior and exterior areas. And, something you may not know is that there are also sections in which you have to move on the ocean floor. These are usually sections a bit of transition, but as you progress, they become more complex, introducing even the odd little puzzle. On these, there are puzzles practically of transition, and others something more elaborated, but none is going to get to be a headache.

SOMA's biggest problem is a somewhat irregular rhythm, with moments that can be made somewhat tedious by the lack of indications. But, I love that the game doesn't take me by the hand, that i let myself think, explore and find the solutions, but sometimes it leaves you loose on a stage without knowing what you have to do -even with enemies swarming around- and this, you can despair of less patient users.

Graphics & Design


SOMA is a correct technical title, which looks more for its artistic work than for anything else. In fact, I was even surprised that in the xbox one, go to 30 frames per second, although this does not affect its gameplay. This does not mean that Frictional Games, has reserved some moments to remember, very good games of light, and even beautiful sequences.

It emphasizes much more the sound section, with some very accurate melodies and above all, some effects that have you in constant tension. You never know if that can that has moved, you have moved it; if those steps are yours. In the worst case, I assure you that you know that guttural sound is not yours, much less that crying.

Conclusion



Many expected that Frictional Games, regarded as the fathers of modern terror, would once again define terror with SOMA, but this has not been the case. The Swedish studio has preferred to stay true to the formula that gave them fame, and has created a new universe perfect to set an adventure of terror.

In short, we are facing a very good adventure of terror, to which we could only ask for a better pace and a point of innovation, but that continues to grow on the basis of "defenseless terror in the first person", relying on a good story that manages to catch and in varied and demanding situations.

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