Game On: ‘Soma’ is terrifyingly entertaining game perfect for the Halloween season
It’s almost Halloween and that’s a great time to play some scary games.
“Soma” is a first person horror game set in an underwater scientific research facility. The gameplay is straight forward and not complicated, there isn’t really any frills and not a ton of action. What you will find is an intriguing story and a really intense atmospheric environment filled with scary moments.
The mysteries start right from the beginning of the game. You are a normal guy who wakes up in an underwater research lab hundreds of years in the future with no explanation of what has happened. Even though it is the future all of the things in the lab look like they are from the ’70s. It’s hard not to draw a comparison to the first “Bioshock” game because of the setting and first person perspective. The difference is the action, “Soma” is not a shooter game it’s more of a game of cat and mouse because fighting isn’t an option you have to run or stay out of sight completely. “Soma” is much more based in the sci-fi world than “Bioshock” it takes inspiration from movies like the “Abyss.”
The research lab is full of malfunctioning robots that will kill you if you aren’t careful. Since the corridors are so confined it is a really claustrophobic experience, which really ratchets up the tension. I had to take a few breaks because some jump scares really got to me. Most of the time you are hiding in the dark but when an enemy is near, the screen gets all distorted and it can be a terrifying moment. Luckily a lot of these robots have bad vision so if you are good at running and hiding you should be fine.
The story of “Soma” is full of many plot twists and turns but at its core it’s about moral choices, the question is: do robot lives matter?
There are some points where you have the option to turn off the power to some robots effectively ending its life, but should you? Even though there is no killing or action there is a ton of story to find and puzzles to unlock by finding working computers and doing things like hacking and rerouting electricity. None of the puzzles were terribly hard but some require some backtracking which can be a little tedious especially when there a lot of robots that you have to avoid.
Overall I enjoyed “Soma” the atmosphere is intense and scary, and the story was intriguing the entire way through. There isn’t much action but the quiet goes a long way toward building tension. Since the beginning of games, we have been taught to kill robots but maybe their lives should be valued as much as a human. Now it’s your turn to make the moral choice and stay alive.
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at email@example.com.
System: PS4, PC
Rated: M for Mature: Violence, Blood, Nudity, Strong Language