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SOMA [2015 -- Frictional Games]

Started by Starfox, May 18, 2023, 09:04 PM

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Originally published on April 20, 2017

SOMA, by the creators of the acclaimed Penumbra trilogy and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, has an interesting story that takes quite the unexpected turn right near the beginning as the main character, Simon Jarrett, go in for a brain scanner following an accident and... I can't say any more, really. Part of the pleasure in this game is to slowly discover what happened to the main character Simon Jarrett so saying too much would be ruining this pleasure. As far as stories go though it is of an originality that Philip K. Dick wouldn't deny centering around what it means to be human.

The atmosphere of the game -- as the other games previously published by this developer -- belongs to the survival horror genre, the horror in this game being more due to the nature of the story and the environment one finds oneself in rather than the monsters because overall one doesn't run into many of those. I must say however I was more interested in the story itself. I found hard to go for the "thrill" of the surroundings because of something that took me by surprise. The combination of lighting and effects used in this game tends to give me headaches not all the time but some moments were particularly difficult like one late in the game that involves several minutes of distorted vision. It's not having the vision distorted that is the problem (other games do that and I generally don't have a problem with it) it's the peculiar combination of effects used to achieve that goal in this game. As I say that's the game not agreeing with my brain or vice-versa (which considering the nature of the story is kind of ironic).

That explains the drop from a green to a blue smiley because I didn't enjoy the adventure as much as I could have (hard to enjoy something when a part of your brain cries out loud to stop it).

But my own woes aside, the game is worth playing, not so much for the gameplay which is all in all a light one, but for the rich atmosphere and story. It's more of an experience rather than pure gaming, but a good experience, definitively.

Guess what it means!