With the huge influx of open-world survival games, finding one that stands out is hard. For many, The Forest is a game worth it, and there are some good reasons. It still has all the tropes of a generic survival game, but how it has all been packaged together really helps elevate the experience.
The Forest is worth it if you are an avid survival genre player. Although there is some jank here and there, the way each aspect of the game is given attention screams finesse and will make you scream as well (in a good way).
Since the story is generally not the main driving force of a survival game, you’ll be surprised by the effort The Forest puts into delivering a decent narrative.
The game will start with you happily on a flight with your oval-faced son Timmy. Of course, this is a survival game, the plane just has to crash. You wake up from the crash and you see this red imposing figure walking towards and picking up Timmy. With all of your remaining strength, you try to save your son but faint.
From the moment you wake up and take control of the father, you will be tasked to find Timmy on this lush unassuming island. This is a rather emotional hook from the very start. However, while on the extremely convoluted and laid-back hunt for your son, you will start uncovering the mysteries of the land.
And oh boy, the island is an insane place and will definitely grab your attention. Not going to spoil anything.
Do not expect a lot of cutscenes or story objectives to get your fill. The story is delivered through the places you start to discover along your journey and the interesting items you pick up and examine. The game will drip-feed the story and you will have to piece it together on your own.
The enjoyment of the story will ultimately come down to your awareness and retention. If you like this kind of storytelling, then you are in for a ride.
For those who prefer larger production quality, you might be disappointed but compared to other survival games, this one tries its best to stay narratively captivating. And there are multiple endings too.
The very next thing you will delve into and be mesmerized by is the island that you crash-landed upon. This place is beautifully crafted. Contrary to the name, it is not just an endless forest. Varying typography mixes things up while you explore.
At first, the island will feel like a run-of-the-mill secluded piece of land with nothing other than nature’s marvel; however, soon, the island will start to show its true face. The different biomes, flora, and fauna will be interesting to behold, but the local inhabitants and unraveling mysteries will give this place its real personality.
This island is a foreboding place that will test every ounce of patience and survivability. From its cannibal population always ready to make a meal out of you, the macabre mutants that wander the bowels of the island, and the massive cave network that hides not only the best loot but the real horror and discovery, all of it just sets this environment apart from other survival games.
The enemies in this game are “chef’s kiss” worthy of amazing. They are not good just because of their visual design, but how these weirdos act is uncanny. They feel way too real to be deemed as simple game enemies.
The Forest’s enemy AI is leagues ahead of its peers in the same genre. You can search the web for the unanimous opinion that AI here is top-notch. The enemies do not just spot you and start the typical bull rush towards. These deadly dudes will stalk you. It will feel like they are examining you and waiting for the most opportune time to strike.
They will gather around your base, one or two at the start, and quite docile. But as time progresses, their number will increase, and their relentless hunger for your flesh will push them to make your life miserable. You can keep them at bay by crafting these horrendous structures called effigies out of their brethren’s body parts.
If you kill one cannibal, the other will fear for their life and run away entirely. Sometimes they will stand at a distance trying to intimidate you or just come in for a single attack and walk away. They will keep you on the edge of your seat.
There are different enemy types here to keep things interesting. You won’t be fighting just a humanoid enemy. But the most terrifying of them all are the mutants you will start running into the caves.
These things are an abomination of human appendages. With multiple legs, weird fleshy growths, and puke-inducing design, these guys will definitely haunt your nightmares.
Crafting And Base Building
Now let’s see how this game fares in the most crucial element of a survival game. We can assure you, The Forest is exceptional in this as well.
The forest has a unique twist to crafting; just look at the picture above. It is not a generic inventory UI. It is quite intuitive and interesting to play around with. When you craft things, you will open up a big inventory bag (that doesn’t pause the game btw) where you can try to put various items together to create something useful.
Once you have crafted something, you will remember it and see what is needed to craft it again by hovering over the cogwheel in the middle of the screen. It is a very nicely done crafting system; the same goes for the building mechanic in the game.
The base building can be complex or simple, whatever you prefer, for example, you could build yourself a little pre-made cabin from the crafting book and deposit the necessary crafting items to the blueprint, or you could make your own custom compound.
You will have to manually collect and carry each item needed, like the logs to build the walls etc. The task is very tedious, but the creation can be terrific.
However, it is probably a good idea to remember that the longer you stay in one area, the more cannibals you are more likely to attract. You must surround your base with traps and obstacles to hinder the onslaught. The enemies can also destroy your base relatively easily, so get ready to cry over a broken house.
This section could very easily be discussed in the island portion, but the caves deserve some special attention. The whole island is dotted with these cave networks, and they house the best and most intriguing facets of the game.
Multiple things make these caves a standout:
- They are terrifyingly dark. The only light source here is your gas station lighter (at least initially), making things even more stress-inducing.
- The mutants have made these caves their home. You will be running into all types of grotesque monstrosities here.
- The caves have the best and most potent loot compared to the mainland. You will find the rebreather, better axes, weapons, and more items to help you survive effectively.
- These crevices hold the answers to all your burning questions. Most items here will help shine the light on the island’s mystery, the whereabouts of your son, and what the hell you have walked or crashed into.
These caves are the perfect blend of horror and intrigue. You dread venturing into them, but your curiosity will poke you to take on this daunting task. And trust us; your bravery will be rewarded.
Yes, you heard that right; the game is playable online with friends. You can make this grueling adventure a breeze and even fun with the right people.
You can share tasks like collecting materials, making whacky stories, undertaking grand building plans, and covering each other’s back from the human-hungry indigenous people.
Despite the fact playing in co-op does take away the gritty immersion of the base game. Having this option makes a ton of difference. The game is very well optimized with co-op in mind. All the key items in the game will be available to each player, so no one gets that only powerful axe; everyone gets one.
There are cool ways of sharing stuff with your buds. The mindless fun you can get into with a couple of like-minded friends is priceless. And when things get creepy, having the assurance that you have a friend in need beside you feels so calming.
We would very much recommend that you play the game once alone and another time with good friends to fall in love with it truly.
Not everything is perfect in The Forest. Some of the things that might put a bad taste in some of your mouths are:
- The combat is straightforward. You only have a block, light, and heavy attack for melee weapons.
- The melee is you flailing your weapon around, hoping it connects with the enemy. There is a minimal strategy to it.
- The ranged weapons are quite frankly awful. The timing is very floaty and doesn’t give you the confidence to make a perfect shot. It does get better as you get used to it, though.
- Although the enemy AI is amazing, it is prone to be buggy. The elaborate coding in the backend sometimes breaks down, and the enemies become some of the most stupid things to witness.
- There is a rampant clipping problem, where objects completely ignore the physics and phase through the geometry.
- And the general bugs in the game can make things very jarring. The devs have ironed out a ton already, and the game is in its finest state, but problems can still show their ugly face.
Despite all these issues, the game is still really good and shouldn’t be ignored. We must make you aware of what you are getting yourselves into.
Sons of the Forest – The Sequel
Many of you must have wandered here owing to the buzz behind the newly launched sequel to The Forest, i.e., Sons of the Forest. The next entry in the series is still in early access and is shaping up to be a worthy successor to the highly acclaimed first part.
Sons of the Forest feels like its predecessor, with a fresh coat of paint and some really nice additions. However, the game is still missing many of the features that made The Forest stand out from the crowd like the ability to make Effigies, and the early access status means you will be running into many bugs till they get rectified by the developers.
If you really want to experience the sequel and are hesitant that it won’t live up to the hype, then by all means, check The Forest out first. It still holds up after all these years and will show what the sequel will eventually become once the developers have worked their magic into it.
Sons of the Forest is turning out to be an impressive game, and you should definitely check that out as well.