The Forest Game Review

The Forest logo

THIS IS ALPHA RELEASE – NOT FULL GAME REVIEW as of v0.0.1

 

The Forest, a new horror survival game,  was released for early access on Steam May 30th 2014. The games story is that you are cruising on a airplane with what I am guessing is your son. The plane has a catastrophic emergency and you end up being the lone survivor of the crash. You find yourself on what I am guessing is an island but since you do not have full access to the entire map, I am not 100% sure. As you scavenge around going through found luggage to try and survive, you encounter a colony of cannibals. To survive, you must build a home, hunt for food, and explore the strange new lands, all while trying to stay away from the cannibals. How long can you survive. I lasted 4 days on my first try. I am now on my 5th (I think) day on my second try. Lets get down to the fine points.

 

Gameplay

 

The game starts out with a great cinematic movie, without going into details as I will let you watch it yourself, it really sets the mood.  From there, you are pretty much leftvlcsnap-2014-06-01-21h13m20s79 on your own to figure things out. Personally I think there needs to be a little bit more of a tutorial on what icons in the game do what, even though they are pretty self explanatory, some guidance is needed for some folks I believe.  A counter argument to that point is that this game is absolutely about surviving. So not giving you the hints on what to do, just makes it that much more real. It may deter some people, but it will attract others. The one thing is does tell you is to look at your survival guide. That is where all your recipes to build things are in. But be aware, not everything is in there. Certain recipes that you craft inside your inventory, are not listed in the survival guide book. While you are out chopping wood, hunting for animals (don’t forget to wash your hands…hint hint), collecting bottles and so on, they all go into your inventory. You can hover over an item in your inventory to see if it does something. You can also put things into the middle of your inventory on the white square, and see if they combine to create new items. I found that the inventory screen needs some improvement. It’s laid out nice, but when you are in a hurry from being attacked by a cannibal, trying to find your meds to heal you is quite hard. Trying to hit a keyboard key then left clicking on a small pill bottle isn’t very easy. Your inventory button is the ‘I’ key, since keybinds are not explained other than a select few. You do get some on screen hints of what key does what, but all in all, there is no help other than build menus in your survivor guide book (which is bound to ‘B’).  Which brings us to the next category;

 

 

Controls

As said there isn’t a lot of direction in what key does what. And don’t bother going ivlcsnap-2014-06-01-21h21m19s210nto the options to look either. It isn’t there. There is no key mapping options available and so there is no way of knowing what key does what, other than doing the good old keyboard smash test to see what it does. I found that there isn’t a lot of keys that do anything. Hopefully this changes in the future and you will be able to bind things to more keys. As it stands right now, you can only have 1 weapon in your hand. and there is no switching other than going into your inventory and selecting a new one. And while you are on the run in combat, it is hard to do, but that may be part of their realism. There are just so many of us old time gamer’s who are used to having the option in every first person game to quick switch our weapons.

 

 

Combat

Speaking of combat, and being on the run, the AI in the game are veryThe Forest smart. Remember those banshees in Mario that come towards you when you aren’t looking and stop when you are? Well let me say thing, don’t have your back turned for to long or else you will have a cannibal about to eat you. Maybe I am just paranoid, but I constantly checked my shoulder, especially when I heard a noise. That’s how much this game makes you feel apart of it. To fight back against these cannibals, I found the best weapon is the flare gun. It is the only “gun” in the game and other than it, you are stuck with melee weapons such as severed legs, hatchets, and rocks. There is 1 other ranged weapon and that is a tennis ball. I will say this about the tennis ball, its good for seagulls. The balance of the weapons seem a little off at the moment with the flare gun only needing 1 shot to kill things, where an axe takes around 10 hits. There is also a slight bug as of this release in which if you keep switching weapons from the flare gun to another weapon and back, the ammo for the flare gun increases by 5 (the normal magazine size). The second best way to fight the AI is to run. Running is always an option and in a lot of cases, is the best option. Fighting 1 cannibal is fairly easy, but the problem is, they are rarely solo. I found most groups are around 3-4 AI. If you see or hear (you will most likely hear them first) you can slowly try and back away, or just run. If you line of sight the AI, they tend to stop chasing you. Also if you go for a swim, they don’t know what to do yet. They AI are quite smart like I said, but they could still use some work. I am sure in the future they will be fine. If you are lucky, and if you are a guy, you get a naked cannibalistic woman chasing you down across the map.

 

 

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Map

And while she is chasing you around this HUGE map, you will soon find that you will be running forever. The map is that big and it’s not even fully developed yet. There are still areas that are locked out but you can see in the distance. So far on my 2 different lives, they were in completely different areas that I never seen before. Which lead me to the conclusion (and then further researched) that each time you start a new life, the plane crash is in a different location. I don’t know if it’s completely random or there are a certain number of set points, but it is a nice feature either way. You could spend days without leaving your little camp area. I spent 4 days on the coast, didn’t really see a huge forest, but I have read other reviews that have said they have never seen water. It’s that big and boy does it look pretty.

 

 

 

vlcsnap-2014-06-01-21h15m22s16Graphics

The trees, the water, are all major publisher quality but are made by an indie company. There are glitches in the coding on placements, but it still looks amazing. The detail in the grass, the bark on the trees, the flame in the fire, and the skulls on the cannibals, they all look amazing. The animations are sometimes a little off in their placement. Like if you look at your shadow on the ground, you will notice it is missing something. Also, I was building a log cabin and the template was placed on the ground, but when I started to build, the cabin was 10 feet off the ground. No idea why. But it is alpha, and is to be expected. Loot only seems to spawn in within 20 feet of you and you can see it fall from the air sometimes, which is strange. Finally, another thing I noticed is that a lot of rocks you can run right through, same with trees.

 

Audio

While you are running through the trees, you will hear the crunching of your feet on the ground, the leaves blowing in the wind, and the eery screeching of cannibals in the distance. When the game time is night, it is thatvlcsnap-2014-06-01-21h14m47s180 much more scary because of the sounds. And then, when you think you are safe, just doing your own thing, the sound just stops. Which is even more horrifying. Then randomly, you may hear some footsteps, even though you are standing still, you may here some weird cackling, even though you are by yourself, or you may hear a loud scream, and just pee yourself a little (graphic I know, but it’s that good).

 

 

System Requirements

The game is very detailed but the options menu is quite customizable. There is even a “laptop” setting. Here are the listed system requirements.

 

Minimum:

    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Dual-Core 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX®-compatible

Recommended:

    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Quad Core Processor
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX®-compatible

 

Overall

Overall, even being in alpha, the game is phenomenal. You can expect bugs, you can expect things not to work, but the overall gameplay and concept is amazing. I haven’t felt this scared while playing a game since I was a bit younger playing Left 4 Dead. But that wasn’t even a scary game, that was more heart pounding. The Forest is definitely more scary. It just makes you feel a part of it. For only $14.99 on Steam, I definitely think this game is worth the pick up, that is, if you are into alphas. Did you get the game? What did you think of it? Leave your comments below!

 

-Kassquatch

 

 






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