9 January 2018
👍 Recommended (11.1 hrs on record)
Let's get this out of the way first: if you're here for the story, environment and characters, play in safe mode.
SOMA was one of those games I become aware of thanks to comparisons to old favorites. If you're currently wondering "What would a modern take on System Shock 2 look like?", SOMA definitely fits the bill, but do yourself a favor and drop the comparison. SOMA is great on its own merits.
After the framing prologue, the game starts with a really tight horror sequence with a suffocating atmosphere. The visual and audio effects startled me many times here. Seeing a glimpse of the enemy here and there kept me on my toes, while the characters introduced themselves through excellent voice acting.
Unfortunately for me, I played the game as it was originally released rather than using the newly introduced safe mode. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't -- at one point in the game, I couldn't run from the enemy I faced and... let's just say that the game doesn't survive its own Game Over screen. After that point I was no longer scared of the monsters at all, just annoyed and distracted when they showed up. It's like a spell was broken. Don't let this happen to you. I think it's amazing that Frictional Games went back and introduced the safe mode option officially -- it must take guts to admit that the game might be stronger this way.
Thankfully, at this point I was well invested into the story and really wanted to know how it ends, so I kept pushing, and I'm really glad I did. The latter half of the game gripped me completely and I had to pull an all-nighter to finish it in one sitting.
This game is not afraid to pose complex philosophical and ethical questions. In a very refreshing fashion it also boldly explores answers to these questions right afterwards -- not something you come across often in the medium. Definitively take your time exploring the world and characters.