Is The Forest Worth It?

With the huge influx of open-world survival games, it’s hard to find one that stands out. I’ll admit that I was on the fence of buying this back when it was in early access, but after buying it I realized how different the game really was.

It keeps a few staples of the survival genre such as needing food, creating shelter, and crafting items. Other than that, it creatively ventures into new and exciting territory that’ll keep many people engaged for a long time.

Who would enjoy this game?

While I loved the game, it definitely isn’t for everyone. I’ll give a brief overview who may love it and who may hate it.

The Forest is for people who…

  • Enjoy dark, gritty, and violent survival games.
  • Enjoy games that don’t hold their hand
  • Love to explore
  • Enjoy getting scared or creeped out
  • Enjoy harder games
  • Enjoy scavenging for items
  • Enjoy playing both solo or co-op

The Forest is NOT for people who…

  • Dislike violent and scary games
  • Hate getting scared
  • Hate collecting food and items
  • Dislike exploring
  • Dislike hard games
  • Hate a constant sense of danger

People could always change their mind about a game, but this is just a general overview of the main audiences of the game.

Solo experience

I first started playing the game in solo, and that made for some CREEPY moments. I recall one experience on my first time playing, where I decided to go hunting after making a tiny base on a beach near some washed-up storage containers…

After a long, somewhat successful hunting trip, I noticed it was starting to get dark. I needed to find safety quickly, so I scrambled to find the way I came from.

It wasn’t long before I was shrouded in darkness, while terrifying screams and laughter echoed through the trees. A cannibal lunged at me from the abyss, causing me to swing my axe blindly into the darkness. I took some damage, but suddenly heard a *crunch* sound, indicating my axe had hit its mark.

The dim light from the moon showed me I had knocked my adversary onto the ground, and I began to swing my axe into him until I was sure he wasn’t getting back up. Maniacal laughter still filled the air, but fortunately, I noticed a clearing near the edge of the forest.

I finally made it back to my tiny cabin, but I didn’t get a chance to sleep. I spent the entire night staring out my shelter window, anxiously watching the cannibals as they sprinted around me.

Recounting one of my first experiences in The Forest

This one experience sounds intense but was only a fraction of what was to come in my playthrough. The Forest is a terrifying game while playing alone, and the co-op experience negates some of that tension.

If you decide to play alone, you’ll be much more anxious, scared, and lonely. Exploring the huge network of caves alone is a daunting task, and building a base is much more difficult with one person.

I didn’t complete the game alone, but I’m sure many players will love that atmosphere. Braving the wilderness alone can be rewarding, but your journey is going to be much more difficult.

Co-op

After telling my friends about my experiences, we all decided to play co-op together. The Forest has produced some of my fondest gaming memories, and I get a sense of nostalgia thinking about it.

We’ve played the game for several playthroughs, and still discuss playing it again. The game works pretty flawlessly with co-op, despite the occasional bugs. The developers seem to have designed the game with co-op in mind, as some of the mechanics work very well with multiple people.

For example, finding a new tool in a cave allows every player to grab one, not just the host or the first player to find it. This allowed us to progress together, work as a team, and it warded off any selfish hoarding of items.

There’s a tray that allows you to share consumables with other players, which is a tremendous help. Teaming up against enemies makes the experience even more fun, but definitely lowers the difficulty.

Getting stuck out in the open at night with friends makes you feel much safer than being alone, but it still a tense experience. Messing around with friends is also really fun as well, whether it be cliff diving with turtle shells or building wacky structures.

If you want to have a fun time with a group of friends, this survival horror game is probably right for you. Both the solo and co-op experiences were great, but I had much more fun with friends.

Environment

The graphics are pretty decent, but this game really isn’t about the graphics. It does an amazing job of creating a harsh environment, whether it be sound design or gameplay.

It seemed like every time my friends and I huddled into our larger cabin at night, the sound of the wind howling through the trees literally gave me shivers. It was almost like I was actually there, actually experiencing the cool breeze.

The environment is super immersive, and it’s easy to get lost in the world, both physically and mentally. Every time my friends and I started playing, we’d play for hours more then we intended to. On the night we finished the game, we looked at the clock and realized it was 3 AM, and we all had to be up early.

This game has the potential to suck up all your time, so be careful to watch the clock when you play. The environment is definitely one of my favorites of all time, even though it doesn’t have the scope and graphics of a large AAA game.

Gameplay

I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and unique the gameplay was. From the tree chopping animation to the building mechanic, the devs have created a game that truly stands out from the rest

As the name implies, you’ll spend a lot of time in a forest. What you can’t see is a massive network of caves that runs along the entire island. We probably ended up spending much more time exploring these caverns than we did on the surface.

A majority of the gear you find will be located in these caves, so we were always on the lookout for new things. Items abound down there as well, so we were able to stock up on meds and other necessary items.

When you are on the surface, you’ll need to make a base to keep the monsters out. The only thing is, they can easily destroy walls and buildings, so you’ll need traps and other fortifications to keep you safe.

I recall one time when we attempted making a huge, interconnected treehouse. As soon as we got attacked, many trees were knocked down, pulling the buildings down with them. I looked out the window to see one of the trees on fire, and then it literally exploded, sending pieces flying through the air. That wasn’t a good day for us.

Base Building

Base building is another unique aspect of this game. One of my friends enjoyed making bases in creative mode, just to see how cool he could make them.

The way base building works in The Forest is you place down a blueprint, and then physically carry the building materials to it. For items that need logs, you’ll need to chop the tree down and then carry the logs 2 at a time on your shoulder.

You’re able to make log sleds that allow you to carry many more at the same time. Better axes make it easier to fell trees, and a chainsaw can even be found in an underground cavern.

Custom building items allow you to make buildings as large as you want. Just know that bigger bases are harder to make, and run more risk of being destroyed. My group created a huge wall and surrounded it with spiked logs, and even then mutants still were jumping over it.

Overall, base building is fun and unique. It’s a shame though that they can be destroyed so easily, as all your hard work can be ruined in an instant.

Story

Unless you’re really paying attention, it’s hard to follow the story. You’ll see cutscenes in the beginning and end, and you’ll come across important story elements to finish the game, but nothing else is really explained to you at all.

My group and I predominately focused on the gameplay aspect, so we didn’t catch a lot of the hidden details. The story is quite interesting if you hear an explanation about it, and if you listen to the hidden tapes you can kind of understand what is happening.

The ending (now there are multiple endings) left us feeling creeped out and confused, but a second playthrough helped us understand what was happening even more.

As someone who loves dark, creepy, and unsettling stories, I really enjoyed listening to explanations and reading about the lore. It’s the kind of story that makes you think about it after you’re done, and I think that makes for an exciting story.

Conclusion

I really loved The Forest, but it’s definitely not for everyone. The dark story and violent gameplay can turn many people away, but people who love that will enjoy polished gameplay and heart-pounding moments.

As someone who has grown tired of the saturated survival genre, this is one title you don’t want to miss out on.

Jay Simmons

I love writing about games and sharing helpful info with others. Whether it be exploring a vast open world or uncovering lore, I always enjoy learning about my favorite games.

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