Sent to find a missing billionaire on a remote island, you find yourself in a cannibal-infested hellscape. Craft, build, and struggle to survive, alone or with friends, in this terrifying new open-world survival horror simulator.
Developer: Endnight Games Ltd
Modes: Singleplayer, Player hosted multiplayer
Release Date: Feb 23, 2023
Status: Early Access
- Co-op gameplay
- Dynamic seasons- entire map wide- that impact both the type and quantity of available food
- Build & craft
- Fight mutated creatures (and demons?) with pistols, axes, stun batons and more
- Complete gameplay freedom- no reliance on NPCs
In the original game, you had basic survival needs- food & water - and each stat was easy to maintain because they could be satisfied with minimal effort. It was easy to find water to boil, and food was abundant as fuck- fish & animals both easily attained. You didn't need to break a sweat by chopping trees for a fire because you fed it with...handfuls of leaves. So you were golden with a pocketful of leaves and a couple of pounds of dried fish.
When Endnight talked about changes to the game and the addition of seasons to promote scarcity and foraging, I was hopeful that things had turned in a more bushcraft direction. Take the following with a grain of salt for now because I've only purposefully dicked around in the game for six in-game days and 4 real-time hours. But so far, little has changed. My character still needs to clue into the merits of sticks or logs for fuel. Water can be slurped up from any water source- and if you don't have the skills to craft a container to carry liquid, you can 3D print one. You don't need multiple legs like Virginia to catch up with deer; you trip over dozens of the things in some spots. And if red meat isn't your fancy, you can set your companion AI to fishing. I had fish piled up on a good portion of the streambed.
I'll update this section once I play through a session of the seasons and see if it makes any difference.
So far, my sister and I have sunk roughly sixteen hours into the game, though I've been bummed since hour two. Some of this disappointment deals with survival mechanics; you can read that in the Survival Aspects tab. I'm also disappointed with Endnight over the shape of the game's release.
After two delays, Endnight posted a few weeks before launch that they were "going to release into Early Access to avoid another delay." That seems like it saved their ass in many ways because I would have been mad had this game launched as a 'full release' in this state. Folks want to highlight how Endnight turned The Forest into a hit after a rocky early access release by leveraging community input. I wasn't one of those folks that picked up The Forest on launch; I purchased it years after it apparently clawed its way into the fun & horror-filled experience I loved.
That being said. We're talking about the sequel and not the original game.
The game is bland. Graphically the map is an enhancement negated by the fact that every single point of interest is indicated on your GPS, which turns the game into less of an explorative adventure and more of a 'run place to place' recovery quest. Ignoring the map, I feel disconnected from the environment and can't quite understand why. Maybe it's the buggy locomotion- I wonder why folks want a vehicle or transport when you can sprint for considerable distances, including straight up and down the mountains.
The caves we have cleared thus far could be more varied in presentation and content. With the light sources tuned down to the point of complete uselessness -I get the lighter not lighting up an area, but the torch is equally crappy- it's only your desire to not rush headlong into combat and get slaughtered that makes cave searching take any time at all. With a better field of view, I almost feel like they would be treated more like caves in World of Warcraft, kinda sprint in to get the shit and get out. The caves in the original title I found atmospheric and immersive. The caves in the sequel are just...loud. Seriously. What's with the noise level of the fucking water and wind in this game? Are you herding me towards lowering SFX volume to shoehorn in some tension?
I'll cut this short, so I can write a proper review. There are many bugs: my sister and I have dropped through the map multiple times, been UI locked and forced to relog, lost count of the floating items, and observed broken AI pathing and twitching corpses. If you've got nothing on your plate game-wise, love building in games or the original game, or don't mind that not all of the content & balance is present in the game presently- pick it up. If not, I recommend waiting. You won't miss out on much; you'll save the aggravation of possibly experiencing bugs and enter into a more cohesive experience- not just with gameplay but with the story aspects.
I'll update this post once I write the standalone review. Keep an eye on the Notes tab for the changelog.
- Endnight shifted the game to Early Access versus a Full Release to have more time to work on the game.
- While initially planned for May 2022, the game was pushed back to October 2022 and then again to the end of February 2023. Pretty sure we all knew this was coming, given that- when the announcement game- progress was largely radio silent, there was an ominous lack of a Steam page, and the images we had access to were all from the end 2021. Speculation ranges from issues with development stemming from the complexity of the planned features & mechanics to perhaps them deciding to shift to Unreal Engine 5 and needing that extra time to port over & bug-fix.
- Despite the success of The Forest, Endnight seemingly remains a developer that would rather folks play & discover the game versus spilling everything out ahead of time. And honestly, with the disconnect between “promised” features and those delivered, staying mum may be a smart defense.
- The plan seems to be to keep the same storytelling style as the first game, with limited dialogue, allowing the player to unfold it as they go. (Escapist Magazine Interview, Jan 2021)
- The Sons of the Forest map is based on the Site 2 map, briefly glimpsed on a wall at the end of the first game. (Escapist Magazine Interview, Jan 2021)
- A.I. is the main focus of the new game, so they created an entirely new tool to develop the new AI features. AI characters can become afraid, tired, angry, hungry, thirsty, bored, etc., and these feelings influence their decisions. (Escapist Magazine Interview, Jan 2021)
- You can use a 3D printer to expand your crafting and create more complex things. (Farket & Endnight Q&A, Jan 2021)
- 3/14/23- Changelog added.