Sons of the Forest; not the new kid on the block anymore


Courtesy of Steam

The survival genre became revolutionized on May 30th, 2014. Gone were the days of palette friendly cube games, gone were the days of the countless ripoffs of palette friendly cube games. The Forest had checked in its bags, and its plane just crash landed on the Survival genre’s island.
The original game brought a litany of genre-defining features, which changed the expectations that people had for future survival games, and now, the sequel has arrived. Sons of the Forest launched February 23rd, 2023.
There is typically at least one aspect that everyone can either criticize or appreciate when it comes to video games: the quality. In Sons of the Forest, coming from the previous game, the improvement can be described with just one word: unreal.
The game looks like a good looking trailer which is meant to hype players up for a bad looking game. The difference with this came though is that the ‘good looking trailer’ part never goes away. The game looks utterly insane all the way through. Each part includes amazing models, nothing looks jank, and the most incredible part is that the game doesn’t use ray tracing at all.
Every tree looks unique and extremely realistic. Dense bushes and tall grass fulfills every square inch of the map, making it look like the player is actually running through a forest untouched by city planning or 20-lane highways. It all reacts to the players movements and inputs.
However, no survival game would be complete without something creepy monitoring the players every move, attempting to stop them from achieving their goal. This remote island is inhabited by animalistic cannibals and contorted mutants.
These creatures spy on players, occasionally visiting their humble abode, letting them know that they are, in fact, not a welcome guest in their home.
At first they scream and gobble gibberish, but they don’t take kindly to anyone overstaying their already chilly welcome. They’ll sneak into houses at night and steal from resource stockpiles, as well as sending brutes to knock down doors. Players must always stay on guard.
Fighting the cannibals isn’t terribly easy either. They hang from treetops and pop out of bushes like it’s the cold war. As players sit by their campfire cooking what little food they could scrounge up, the creatures silently run at the players from behind and get the jump on them
Early on, the only choice is to swing a multi-purpose survival ax at them until they keel over, but players can defeat them by other means later on.
The power scaling is pretty inconvenient, not even a full week in and the players already have a dude taller than them in their house knocking on the puny, human-sized door. They better get cracking on better weapons before they get knocked unconscious by Sloth from “The Goonies” with Kelvin cowering in the corner.
In the age of the AI takeover, Endnight Games thought they’d take a bite of the pie. The result is Kelvin, he is like t, but half as fast, half as strong, and half as smart. Deaf too. Kelvin lost his hearing during the players, trademarked ‘The Forest beginning of game aircraft crash’.
Players communicate commands to him through a notebook that gets written on to show to him. Like tell him to “Get > rocks > and fill containers”, he will get rocks and fill any rock storages the players have made. Ask him to “Get > logs > and give to me” and he will chop down treehouse, pick up one of the logs they used to build it, and drop it on your head, nearly killing you in the process.
But if the players are smart with the commands you give him and don’t build any treehouses, he becomes a valuable asset for gathering resources while fending off the endless stream of enemies that comes to the base by day 3.
The story is conceptually the same as the first game. Missing person, find them. But in true sequel fashion, it has more lore to accompany it. The player becomes the son of the guy from the first game, that’s obvious.
New mutants, new island, none of that is important. The player really should be building gazebos, if the game still had them. Yes, the biggest buyer beware is not the early access mark, not the unfair power scaling, but rather the lack of a gazebos that takes way too much time to build. A feature that will be dearly missed, along with boats.
Boats, an integral feature of the last game that allowed players to keep themselves safe from enemies by hiding far off shore, seems to be missing from the sequel It makes sense, players would only run ashore to get meat from turtles, hang it all up to dry, then just sit offshore until their supply of jerky ran out. Rinse and repeat until the flying flesh chain comes along. Then they were done.
All in all, Sons of the Forest is a great game for anyone looking to experience quaint log cabin living while being viciously hunted by cannibals at every waking moment. The graphics look amazing, the combat is great, the survival system is nice, the building system is still great, and Kelvin is pretty silly.
Whether it holds up to the standard set by the first game, though? Yes, it’s so much better. The map is at least 4 times as big, and just about every aspect from the previous game is improved upon in a way that genuinely enhances the player’s experience. The game is only 13 gigabytes, and the 30 dollar price tag puts it at half the price of most modern triple-A titles. Sons of the Forest is quite the worthwhile purchase.