Levels of Horror: SOMA
Hey-o to my readers! Welcome to a game that will make you think a lot about humanity and life. This game is called SOMA; a psychological horror, sci-fi, and first person computer game. It was made by Frictional Games, the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. SOMA was released September 22nd, 2015 and since then it has received huge amounts of positive feedback and reviews. A good majority of the game focuses on different views on what it is to be human, or whether we truly are human and not just a simulation. This gives the game a more realistic feeling, which makes the player think about a lot of things that we as humans rarely consider. It is even darker in a variety of ways; for example, the game uses a similarly dark color scheme to that of most horror games, which gives the game more of a creepy look and feel. There are also a variety of loud noises and random static-like screens when encountering a monster, which helps to really get players into the horror mood.
This game follows a man who wakes up in a very unfamiliar place right after receiving a brain scan. The world he awakens to is filled with chaos; it is now 100 years later and a comet has hit the earth, killing everything on the surface. The story takes place in a lab built under the sea, which spent a lot of effort to save a little bit of humanity. This underwater lab, however, was actually the downfall of humanity. They had created an AI that was supposed to work all the machines, life support, and preserve the last bits of humanity. But instead, the AI forces all of the humans to die and become part of a nearby machine, or else they are simply left on the last thread of their lives for a very long time. In order to keep humanity from dying, the player must launch a device called the Ark into space. The Ark is filled with the brain scans of all the people who had lived in the labs. The player gets to meet a variety of people through the logs, getting in touch with their dead bodies (literally). The player must make tough decisions throughout the game, such as killing certain things, hiding from monsters, and making choices that have a butterfly effect on the story.
Your character, Simon Jarrett, was the victim of a car crash that occurred in Toronto, Canada back in 2015. In this story, he is accompanied by a woman named Catherine, whose mind is inside a door-opening device. She helps the character make his away around the various stations and do certain things that pertain to the main story plot. The player gets to drag her around everywhere they go, constantly talking to her when waiting for certain things to happen. A lot of the other characters in the game consist of Catherine’s coworkers, whether it be a scientist, a programmer, or even an engineer. A lot of these characters play a big part in the game, especially when giving the player more information about the situation and how to deal with the AI that is ruining everything and killing everyone. This AI has converted deformed and mutated versions of the crew members, and even the wildlife that surrounds the underwater labs, to its own purpose. There is a lot of gore, usually shown either in the deformities of the humans or just in the bodies of those who have already died.
In this game, there are a wide variety of monsters that the player can encounter. Some of them where once human, but have been taken over by the AI in an effort to protect itself and to guard what is left of the humans. But unlike a lot of other horror games, you cannot fight the monsters. The player’s only option is to avoid them completely or to run like your life depends on it. Some of these monsters will react to different stimuli; for example, noise, light, movement, or even just by having the player look at them. I’m not going to say which one is which though – you, a potential player of this game, have to figure it out for yourself. There are specific names for these monsters: Robot Girl, Terry Akers, Proxy, Jin Yoshida, and the Flesher. Not only has the AI taken over humans, it has also taken over a good majority of the wildlife in the surrounding areas. The main fish to look out for would be the Construct, Leviathan, Anglerfish, Crawler, and the Viper Fish. The AI causes some of the wild life to become more violent, larger in size, and have weird blue things growing on them. A lot of this plays into the safety of the character when the player has to travel from one station to the other. This usually forces the player to run through dangerous areas where you can be dragged around by huge monsters that keep putting you really far behind. A lot of these monsters add to the fear factor of the game, making the players heart race when encountering a new monster. These monsters also have small strategies that can be used to get past them. One of the main tactics that helps a lot would be to stay in the light when wandering around in the ocean.
Overall I think that this is an amazing way to look at horror games, giving the player a lot of things to think about even if they aren’t playing the game. It always keeps you on the edge of your seat as you play, whether because of the variety of monsters or just the story itself. This would be a very cool horror game for those who are interested in more of a psychological view of the story. SOMA is available on Steam for $29.99 for a small variety of platforms, including both Windows and Mac computers. Even though there are other ways to enjoy the game without actually playing, I would recommend that you experience it first-hand. There is a huge difference between the feeling of watching someone else play a game like this and actually playing it yourself. I hope that you enjoyed this article! Please visit the site again for more articles and videos by other members. Thank you!