Early Access Review: The Forest

The Forest, a work-in-progress by Endnight Games!

The Forest is a survival horror sandbox game being developed by Endnight Games. One can buy into the early access alpha version on Steam currently, which means that it is very much incomplete and in the rough. Despite that, The Forest is shaping up to be one hell of a game, limited only by your wit and your resolve. The Forest starts with you riding in a passenger jet, with what appears to be your child sitting next to you. It doesn’t take long for the plane to hit some sort of turbulence, and start to plunge towards the ground. You black out on impact, and briefly wake to see some sort of tribesman enter the plane wreckage and take your child. You fade to black once more, and then wake to survey the wreckage for supplies. Welcome to The Forest.

Dibs on the kid!

Dibs on the kid!

The first thing you do is scavenge the plane for supplies, and most importantly, the plane axe. The axe (from the plane, a rusty axe, or a crafted axe) is your most important tool in the game; with it you will be harvesting sticks and lumber, hunting animals, and defending yourself from cannibals and mutants. Yep, cannibals and mutants. When I first started, I spent much of my first day scavenging and scouting. As the sun was beginning to set, I decided it was past time to set up some sort of refuge for the night. Hastily looking through the Survival Guide that you start with, I decided to set up a hunting shelter (a small lean-to) and a basic campfire. I quickly built my shelter, and then proceeded to build my fire as it had just gotten too dark to see well. As soon as I lit my fire, I heard the most horrifying guttural scream from right behind, and I turned to see a topless cannibal woman who had been stalking me tuck tail and run. Had I waited any longer, I may have ended up as a canniburger.

Night time is the most dangerous time in The Forest.

Night time is the most dangerous time in The Forest.

Which leads me to the AI – it’s very hit and miss thus far. Animal AI is very rudimentary, to the point that you can just waltz up to most animals and bludgeon them to death with rocks. The AI for cannibals and mutants, on the other hand, oscillates between genius and utter shit. While out and about, I’ve seen distant groups stalk me, appearing to try to coordinate some sort of attack plan. But then again, as I was sleeping in my freshly built log cabin, I was awoken by a dramatic reverb and the sounds and lights of cannibals investigating my campsite. After waiting some time hoping they would move along, I decided to try their wits. I lit my fire and stood at the window facing their group, to which some responded by engaging me in melee combat through my window. I lazily smashed all their skulls in while using the cabin to my advantage. At no point did they try and enter my completely unlocked door; the group easily could have overwhelmed me having done so. But they were content to be beaten to death as I collected their knocked out teeth right in front of them. This is something I hope is addressed in future iterations of the game; I would love it if a hunting party of cannibals would be smart enough to set my cabin ablaze to smoke me out. Alas, this is not the current state of the game.

The game is fairly difficult, as you will have to juggle eating, drinking, resting, and building with not getting raped to death by horrifying cave mutants and cannibals. Much time will be spent chopping down trees and gathering logs for structures, an act that is both consuming in energy and time. Luckily it’s not too difficult to get some basic things set up; a fire pit, a meat drying rack, a water collector, animal traps, and a basic shelter. Most of these things can be made with sticks and rocks, which are very abundant. The game even goes so far as to give you an extra life of sorts; in my testing I let myself get mauled by a group of cannibals to observe their methods of attack. Upon “dying”, however, I instead woke up in a cave that looked as if other survivors were kept their some time, but had long since been moved or eaten. I made my way out, and let myself get mauled a second time – this time I truly died. I played with this some more, and the caves you wake up in are similar to some extent, but have key difference. The main difference being, sometimes there are cannibals and horrifying multi-limbed mutants waiting to rip your face off. The mutants are as tough as they are horrifying, to the point that I recommend avoiding them completely unless you have an excellent plan of attack.

“WTF!?”

Being a game that is in alpha testing, I am going to refrain from giving this any sort of score. However, for such an early build of the game, the graphics look damn good, with great sound and (limited) music to boot. It’s rife with bugs, but that’s to be expect in an alpha. Recently, the game has had multiplayer added to it, but I have not had a chance to test it. Overall, I’d say this game is worth keeping an eye on at a minimum. If you’re big into this type of game, and just reading about it gets you excited, then it may well be worth paying the $15 early access price. There is always risk with early access games, as they may not ever get finished, or may become a sub-par product that you don’t enjoy. If you buy into it, buy into it knowing this and don’t expect to have a complete game for your money for quite some time.

 

Brandon

About Brandon

Brandon (AKA Maphreal) belongs to the dynamic duo of podcasters here at Good Ole Gamers and is a proud member of the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race.

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