Monday, December 14, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #63: Peeking!

                I’ve begun my journey through the last game of this year that should be relevant to my article presenting the best games (and the most disappointing) of 2015. That game is SOMA.
I know SOMA got released more than two months ago, but September was such a busy month and the months that followed weren’t different so I’ve never got the time to dive into it.
                For a title from Frictional Games SOMA isn’t all that scary. It has its moments when being chased by weird monsters producing terrifying sounds gets the adrenaline going, but most of the focus goes into the narrative and oh what a narrative.
                The game sucked me in its immersive world from the first hour when I was pondering on the huge amount of questions with no answers in sight. I’ve been playing it for more than four hours and while some of the mystery went away the narrative still stays strong. It’s a great testimony of how good the writing is in a game with few gameplay mechanics and little action to keep the player hooked like that with the story. I’ve been forcing myself to stay away from spoilers as much as possible. I did get a few minor ones because I’m weird that way, but there is a lot of room left for shocking surprises.
                I’m talking so much about the story that I feel unfair towards the horror aspect of the game. The atmosphere is pretty creepy and irritating in a good way, it is a scary game after all. The sound design contributes greatly to make the monsters come to life making up for the fact that the game’s visuals aren’t the great (OpenGL…). It also helps that no monster looks like the other so the disturbing creativity of the Frictional Games designers is put to good use here. But despite all these good things I felt fear to higher degrees this year than I did in SOMA (so far), yet few stories were so intriguing.
For a guy with a scientific curiosity SOMA’s theme got me thinking on things that I used to reflect a lot about in the past, but this time from a slightly different perspective. The game raises questions for those interested in the subject matter and while there are clearly no answers to be found as science didn’t get that far, it’s “fun” to creep yourself out thinking about what life really is.
                Aside of the philosophical ideas that SOMA burdened my mind with, it also got me thinking about this year of gaming. Playing it game made me realize once again what a good year 2015 was for the adventure genre with so many good titles like: Kholat, Stasis, Anna’s Quest, the Telltale games and many others. I don’t remember ever seeing an adventure game getting a GotY award, mostly because this is mostly a niche genre, but also because nobody takes any risks and the genre keeps getting cramped in together with action games. But as someone who’s seeing all the creative genres as equals, I wouldn’t mind if adventure games receive justice someday.
Man, that's ugly!

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