A game without guns and without huge arrow pointing where to go next – seems promising. Along that Soma has story set in dark science fiction world, which makes the offer even better.
Soma is a story focused game that requires player to think and same time it brings up philosophical questions about existence. There’s just one small flaw in the design. Developers have put in a flat story without even trying to analyze what kind of person is playing the game. It would have being possible to add psychological profiler to game. Even now there’s self tests in game’s terminals, but they’re basically doing nothing but self study for the user. With few tweaks the game could have used data player adds in them. After that it would being breeze to use the data in the game story and how it changes towards nearing the end. Now it’s more like book that proceeds without considering the reader too much. Also questionnaires could being left optional only, and if player would not fill them then game would proceed with it’s normal storyline. Anyway, that’s not the case and we have solid one-track story here anyhow.
Sometimes wondering aimlessly is a good thing. Modern games rely too much guiding players through the game, that’s the pit Soma does not fall into. The classic games come from just right amount of frustration and Frictional Games developers seem to be very close to correct amount. If you always get too much help or don’t need to think, then the reward system in brain chemical tracks won’t activate the pleasure pipes either. Then again... when enemies really loves to hang around you and just don’t away, it gets too frustrating and also nicely makes enemies less scary. That’s the problem Soma does have, but it’s something to get over with.
Visual treats are coming from dark science fiction setting combined with biogenetic mass along watery treatment from bottom of the sea. Soma is very beautiful game and it has appeal that lasts in your mind for good amount of time after playing it through.
Musical treatment in game is somewhat dull, I do not even remember if it had any actual music besides end credits. Atmospheric noises and ambiance again is well done and fits in nicely increasing the immersion.
The horror offering in the game mainly comes from pressuring surroundings, sense of being there and not knowing exactly what is going on – which slowly is being revealed. Some jump-scares and some less jump-scares play along as well adding helpless feeling. Soma is good game, but even so after playing it through, it feels like something was missing. I personally think it’s just the lack of personalized story. Game has one good story and that’s pretty much it and all it needs.