SOMA video shows 12 minutes of sci-fi terror from Amensia devs, release date announced

A creepy monster in a darkened hall.

Frictional Games, the sadists behind horror masterpiece Amnesia, have just released a lengthy gameplay video from their upcoming SOMA. It’s a sci-fi horror game set in your typical “remote research facility” where things have gone horribly wrong, as they always must in a distant research facility.

It’s a typical premise, but it doesn’t take long for things to take a truly atypical and curious turn in this trailer, which also reveals the game will be released September 22.

I’ll admit, I got a little concerned at the start of this gameplay trailer. I think I’ve seen just about every version of creepy, derelict research stations under the sun and at first, there didn’t seem to be much new here. Flickering lights, broken electronics, deep pools of shadow, a general air of rust and decay... been there, done that. WIth Alien: Isolation being so recent, it’s going to take a lot of make those motifs feel new and vibrant.

But I kept watching and then I started to feel like this game is breaking from the standard script a little bit. Whatever’s going on this game seems pretty damned weird. Take a look.

The concept of all the machines having somehow been imbued with the identities of dead scientists and workers is pretty intriguing and, in true Frictional fashion, disquieting. I also liked the degree to which this looks like a proper immersive sim, with the ability to examine and move different models around, as well as use the machines you find.

But then the gameplay demo ends with a berserk robot stalking the main character and attacking and I’m back to thinking... hmmm.

Frictional made a game so scary and upsetting that I eventually couldn’t continue playing it. I am sure they know they’re doing. But man did they set themselves a challenge here, stepping into an arena filled with legends of sci-fi horror going back all the way to System Shock.

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Dog Pants Avatar
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Dog Pants(4 hours played)
2 Years ago

While watching this I was wondering why it is I love weird horror movies like Hellraiser and Cabin in the Woods, but while I love the concept of similarly weird horror games I never really get on with the execution. I think it's because the monsters actually break the tension. You get drawn into the story, immersed into the creepiness, but then something comes along to kill you and you know that you're playing a game. Find a place to hide, as per the game rules, or die, reload, and play that bit again.

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It makes sense - I stopped playing Amnesia when I met the monster. I stopped playing Alien Isolation when people started shooting at me. I stopped playing Outlast when I had to avoid a crazy guy with a metal pipe. I stopped playing Penumbra when the monster appeared.

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I've actually found that being able to kill the monsters is less immersion breaking for me - System Shock was less creepy in the quiet parts, and the monsters were tough, but I enjoyed it more. Dead Space hit the mark really well, but the controls killed it for me in the end.

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On the other hand, little-known HL2 mod Alchemilla was all the better for them never getting round to putting monsters in it. Among The Sleep struck a nice balance - the 'monster' very rarely posed a threat, even when it was hunting you, but it lent menace to the general weirdness just by existing.

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So I suppose for horror games in general my sticking point is the fear of having to replay bits of it.

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EDIT: Woah, block of text. Broken that up a bit.

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Tovias Avatar
1025
2 Years ago

Great ambient, not so sure about the VA

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