Endnight Games Ltd
My friend and I had taken our first foray into a cave tunnel, which was located not too far from our starter base. Our torches cast eerie shadows against the damp, lichen-covered cave walls as we edged further on. Both of us agreed that if, at any point, we heard anything menacing up ahead, we would quickly extinguish our torches and go silent.
After climbing down several deep cliffs, we entered into a large subterranean cavern. About three quarters of it was submerged in dark water. Suddenly, some sort of chittering sounds emitted from across the expanse of the chamber. It sounded as if there were multiple beings communicating with one another through the darkness. Snuffing out our torches, we stood still and waited.
After some tense moments, my friend (the more brazen of us) suggested that we ignite one of the flares we’d found and toss it across the cavernous room. Before I could respond, he did just that—lighting one and throwing it out into the darkness. It landed at the feet of something inhuman. Although it possessed what appeared to be multiple pairs of human arms and legs, they were all connected to a large, glistening, unnaturally large pink trunk. As the flare landed at its feet, the creature issued forth a horrible wailing sound.
That was all we needed.
We immediately took off like two bats out of hell in the opposite direction. Apparently, I felt the need to reenact one of those famous scenes out of classic slasher flicks—you know, where the main killer appears and invariably some stupid bimbo trips and falls? In my case, I was so freaked out by the sounds of the thing running at us through the shallow waters that I got caught up behind a large outcropping of rocks. This would not end well…
Indie game developer, Endnight Games Ltd, originally debuted their version of survival horror, title The Forest, back in May of 2014. And yes, it’s still in Early Access. While some might call this a rather “relaxed” development schedule, people should consider that this little gem of a game has been lovingly crafted by a micro production team.
The Forest begins with you becoming stranded upon a mysterious island after your commercial airliner goes down. From there, you have to quickly gather some surrounding resources and pick a relatively safe location for where you want to build your first base. What is so creepy about The Forest from the outset is how you can almost feel eyes watching you as you scurry around. You may even catch glimpses of things moving through the foliage.
If you’re “lucky,” you’ll encounter your first batch of cannibals (the main inhabitants of the island) in broad daylight, somewhere out in the open. That, at least, will dullen the shock of their initial appearance. If you’re not so fortunate, you’ll surely see them when they assail your meager encampment during the nocturnal hours. Gibbering, blood-encrusted beasts with feral eyes and odd, disquieting modes of locomotion.
You see it’s quite simple: They’re hungry, and you’re on the menu.
The Forest is a survival horror game that sets itself apart in several ways. Firstly, the enemy AI is outstanding. My buddy and I have seen so many examples of this in action. Such as when we carefully set a couple of rope traps down on the ground, near our base. We waited for nightfall, as were sure that the cannibalistic mutants would attack our base from a certain direction and fall right into our traps.
They showed up alright. But instead of rushing headlong into the traps, the leader of the pack looked at us as we stood there, and then began looking around by its feet. It spotted the ropes of the trap amid the leaves on the ground and shrieked to its brethren. They all pivoted and flanked us from other directions. Even though we became food for them that night, we marveled at how advanced the game’s AI was.
Another aspect of The Forest that makes it unique is that it is much less of a grind than other survival, and survival horror games. When you build a base in this game, it’s pretty much done. And while you could build an entire town if you wanted to, once you have your main base up you’re free to explore the island’s various environs as you please.
The Forest features some pretty in-depth crafting and building systems. After gathering enough resources, you can craft weapons such as bows and Molotov cocktails, and equipment such as first aid kits and splints for broken legs. Base-wise, the sky’s the limit, literally. You can build your more standard walled-off fort, or opt for constructing a tree house. You can even eventually connect a collection of tree houses that can be traversed by way of swing lines, cables, and rope bridges.
And to further The Forest’s already brilliant sense of immersion, it features some of the most eye-popping graphics you’ll see in a survival horror game. The foliage looks absolutely stunning, with light shafts streaking down through overhead tree canopies. Critters such as bunnies and squirrels will scurry underfoot and sometimes little birds will land on your fingers. The attention to detail that this small team of developers put into this game should be something that other game developers, especially triple A ones, take note of.
In all, The Forest is one of the most outstanding survival horror experiences you’re bound to come across. It mixes a sense of ever-present dread with fun crafting and building systems, and for the icing on the cake, gorgeous visuals which further draw you into the game. Simply put, The Forest is a no-brainer for any fan of survival horror games.
The Forest features outstanding graphics that make its survival horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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