Image from SethNemo of deviantart.com
Soma is a survival horror video game from Frictional Games who you might know as the creators of the Amnesia series.
Let me first start by saying that I am a giant, bearded, scaredy cat who can't play a survival horror game to save his life. This isn't just a weak attempt at self deprecating humour, it's important that you know this so that when I tell you how much I loved this game, you realize how much a handicap it started with for me. I'll attempt to give this game the kind of review it deserves while remaining as spoiler free as possible.
Soma isn't your typical survival horror game. Where most games rely on cheap jumpscares and horrifying visuals to get your heart racing, Soma is more of a cerebral game that sets a creepy atmosphere and 90% of the scares you get are all in your head.
The game tells the story of Simon who, after a car crash in which his friend dies and he sustains a serious brain injury, signs up for an experimental brain scan to try to find out what can be done to help. After a the bright flash of the scan Simon opens his eyes to a dilapidated yet somewhat futuristic facility. After some searching he finds out he has been brought several years into the future and this facility's occupants are semi-mechanical monsters who attack him on site.
This game is an odd one to review because the game doesn't follow the typical idea of working towards a goal then being given a huge reveal that sets the tone for an epic finale. Instead, the twist is revealed pretty early on and the rest of the game is spent thinking about the implications of everything you find out. You are also given the occasional ethical decision where the choices are never black and white causing you to agonize for hours afterwards wondering if you made the right decision.
My first experience with the game was through a let's play by the YouTuber Markiplier. His playthough was not only entertaining but he also gave his input on several of the ethical debates brought up in the game. If after reading this you're still not sure if the game is for you, or you can't afford the $29.99 price tag then check his videos.
Soma takes the best parts of several games to make an amazing thought provoking, psychological thrill ride. From the Bioshock reminiscent level design to the Amnesia-like fleeing in terror, Soma is a beautiful game that gets my seal of approval.