Sons of the Forest Review (PC)
As a game developer, you know you’ve made it when thousands of positive reviews flood in shortly after releasing a new game, as gamers are compelled to give the game a try if the reviews are any indication. If you aren’t among the 18,000 “very positive” reviewers on Steam or more than the 2 million copies buyers on the first day, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Better still, you probably want a deep-dive review that offers a little more than “played the game, loved it” sort of prose.
As is tradition here, we’re reviewing every inch of Sons of the Forest for ourselves, giving you a bird’s eye view of the gameplay, story, graphics, and performance, among other things, so that you have a pretty good idea of whether grabbing your own copy of Sons of the Forest is the way to go. Is it worth the hype? Hang tight while we uncover all you need to know in the full-on Sons of the Forest review ahead.
In the Beginning, There Was
Before Sons of the Forest, developer Endnight Games released the survival horror game, The Forest, in 2018. Gamers would endure the horrors of the remote, forested peninsula. A passenger jet crash would lead here, and you’d be the only survivor against a society of cannibalistic mutants.
Now, Endnight Games is at it again with a sequel that takes everything that worked in its predecessor and amplifies each gameplay element to the next level. The map is five times bigger, the mechanics more in-depth and complex, and a new AI companion system makes your life easier.
Fear Me, If You Dare
So, Sons of the Forest is this indie first-person survival game about surviving a terrifying jungle. You’re free to do so by yourself or bring some friends along for the ride. What’s to fear, you ask? Semi-naked cannibals out for blood. You never know where they pounce out from, how many there are, and at first, how grueling they can be. Plus, some screams cut into the air at the oddest times. It sends a chill down your spine as you scamper around, trying to pinpoint where they’re coming from.
All these tense, chilling moments result from tracking down a billionaire and his family, lost somewhere on this mysterious peninsula. It’s a basic story similar to the predecessor that asked you to track down your kidnapped son, only to crash-land and dive down a rabbit hole capped with flesh-hungry cannibals and mutants. However familiar the plot is, I couldn’t care less how everything turned out. Towards the end, the plot ends to a neat conclusion. Still, the meat and potatoes of games like these are their survival aspect and how thrilling the whole escapade turns out to be.
The More, The Merrier
I found it much more fun to bring some friends along and strategize your every move as a team. Whether it’s to jump into action, build a fort first, or rampage through the forest like nobody’s business.
Best Boy, Kelvin
However, single-player is also not completely lost on you, thanks to your best boy, Kelvin. He’s the AI companion who survives the helicopter crash with you and is down to accompanying you on your quest.
Kelvin doesn’t really do much in combat. Even if you hand him a gun, he’ll just stand in your way, which makes little sense given that he’s an elite soldier. Well, he did survive a head trauma injury post-crash that left him unable to speak.
Anyway, what Kelvin lacks in combat, he more than makes up for as an “errand boy.” You’d have to speak to him via a quick select notepad, and, essentially, have the option of giving him, “Kelvin, fetch some logs,” and “Kelvin, chop down some trees,” commands.
In the end, he comes in quite handy. There’s such a loadsome of busy work to do in games like these. So, having a sort of co-op buddy do the fetching for you while you focus on the craftsmanship or combat, really does it for me.
That’s Enough, Kelvin
I have to say, busy bee Kelvin can get too “slave-y.” He’s always obedient, and always adamant about his role. He does rest sometime and gets water to quench his thirst. But, mostly, he’s running errands, even without you telling him.
It could get boring enough to tell him off, which won’t make him too happy, so he gets upset, and becomes less productive. If you’re wondering if he can disable it completely, yes! by shooting him in the head. Though try not to, because ultimately, Kelvin will save you lots of precious time.
Lighten Up, Will You?
Besides Kelvin, you should meet a three-handed, three-legged sort of companion called Virginia in her undies. She seems off, rather chirpy, and independent. Honestly, there isn’t much use to her besides brightening up the mood with her buggy self. Perhaps future updates will draw a clearer picture of Virginia’s actual role in the game.
There’s a neat form of organized chaos on the rival side. Most enemies would only patrol and attack. But, Sons of the Forest cannibals seem to have a mind of their own. They attack when your back is turned, destroy the structures you spent so much time crafting, and even tend to the needs of their fallen.
On the flip side, these cannibals seem too easy for my liking. Even the oversized, bigger ones should definitely pose more of a challenge to defeat. Unless you’re completely taken by surprise or intentionally wheeling yourself into danger, getting by the Sons of the Forest shouldn’t be the hardest thing.
Sights to See
Sons of the Forest elevates graphics to a whole new level. Or, at least, for an indie. Its forest is luscious, with textures adapting to seasons of change. It feels therapeutic to wander through the foliage and chill to tip-toe within the mutant horror caves. Exploring comes naturally, even if you get lost in awe. There are repetitive sequences, for sure. But, it’s all well laid out and inviting. Perhaps the one thing is “immersion,” which feels lacking compared to games like Valheim. That aside, Sons of the Forest is absolutely a sight to see.
Looting and crafting make up a core part of the game. You get an instructional guidebook for varied structures, with the freedom to play around with how you place the logs or construction materials. Just be careful to pay attention to the rattle in the bushes or the gutturals from afar. These signal possible rival spies and attacks that easily creep up on you whilst paying no mind.
Up until this point, I’ve highlighted little about the combat. That’s because it feels clunky and very far from fruition. Still, hacking cannibals to bits and collecting their heads in victory is so much fun, even though they barely put up a fight. In fact, as soon as you injure them, they start to crawl back in fear, begging for mercy. It’ll be a definite nice touch for weapons to have a better crunch and a better, more accurate hit upon impact.
Sons of the Forest is all things terrifying, way more than the predecessor. For a game still in early access on PC via Steam, it’s certainly a joy to play. The setting is a formidable force of nature. The cannibals on the island, though less of a threat than I’d like, have a mind of their own and certainly could make for a chilling Halloween special.
The game isn’t without its myriad of bugs, which we’re choosing not to shine too much light on, given it’s an Early Access release. The mechanics are somewhat clunky, and the NPCs behave far from their intended end-result product. For the most part, though, the gameplay feels snappy, fun, and far from derailed by the game’s many glitches.
Streams of reviews have come in since launch, most in favor of. I have to say I agree. For the price of $30, it feels worth the price and is a definite blast to experience with friends. Grab your copy of Sons of the Forest on PC via Steam now.
Sons of the Forest Review (PC)
A Chilling Venture in the Woods
If you’re into survival horror, Sons of the Forest is a must-try. It’s quite affordable, and more than delivers on its promise. For the most part, you’ll be in the wilderness, looting for every valuable item you can find and crafting as many resources as possible to help you survive. Otherwise, you’ll be indulging in first-person fright fests with flesh-hungry cannibals and mutants roaming about the forest. Each hour comes with its own shape of horrors, the only consolation is the gleefully beautiful surroundings and the wonderfully ambitious indie developer, Endnight Games.