Explore the depths of an underwater research facility in SOMA, a game that balances science fiction, walking simulator and psychological horror into a single adventure from the same creators that brought gamers Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Released in 2015 for computers, PlayStation 4 and with a 2017 Xbox One release the dark depths of SOMA provide a wealth of horrific encounters for players to overcome.
Referred to as PATHOS-II this group of underground stations that you’ll explore is on the verge of collapse after years of insufficient maintenance has landed it in a state of utter disrepair. The original purpose of this facility was to launch objects out into space rather than using conventional rockets to save on costs but the outcome is far from this original intention and has left the machinery with something dark inside of them.
With the station also unexpectedly becoming a safe haven for a small group of survivors after an extinction level asteroid event destroys the entire human race. Leaving the only survivors as those that were inside the underwater station at the time of course has some interesting results particularly given that joining the remaining humans in their isolated bubble are a number of machines in the facility which grow continually conscious of their existence.
Your role in this setting is as Simon Jarrett, a car accident victim with severe brain damage who recently awakens on the station while learning more about the reasons for its creation and assisting Catherine launch the ARK into space, a powerful computer capable of replicating a simulated Earth world. Providing some hope for a new era of artificial living in the shadow of the dramatic human race ending event your primary objective is ensuring the success of this mission before the food and other resources run out.
Similar to Amnesia from the same developer SOMA’s gameplay revolves around story telling, stealth and puzzles that are mixed in various ways to create unique challenges. This time around though you’ll have less inventory management to worry about which helps build greater immersion to the grim underwater world by keeping players focused on the dark hallways in front of them. This ties in closely with the psychological horror elements that rely less on direct scares and instead the overall atmosphere of helplessness with kilometres of ocean above you and only a few surviving humans in the entire world.
Played from a first person perspective the story unfolds through the interactions with the story characters but also various notes and audio tapes scattered throughout the environment. Throughout this exploration stealth is the number one priority as it’s the only tool available to avoid the monster threats that you’ll encounter although an optional safe mode not in the original game release can be activated for a safer experience.
Players who enjoy exploring every square inch of a game will get the most out of SOMA with its storytelling primarily explored through the links of audit tapes, notes and other scattered pieces of clues alongside the interesting environments to uncover.
- A dark psychological thriller under the sea with the human race on the surface extinct.
- Unique setting and storyline to follow that gives you an important mission.
- Solve puzzles and use stealth to advance the story while avoiding monster threats.
- Play as car crash victim Simon Jarrett and uncover your own history while helping birth a new era for the human race.
- From the same team that brought players Amnesia.
Review Platform: PC