The Forest by Endnight Games is a trip I didn’t think I would ever take. You know right away after your plane crashes and you immediately start going through the other passenger’s luggage for items that this isn’t going to be easy. Your character watches as his son Timmy is dragged off the plane and from that moment on it becomes a fight for survival. I have known about this game since it has been out on PC for some time now but I wanted to experience it with friends with its recent release on the PlayStation 4. Could we possibly survive on this remote island together? What dangers would we encounter? Who would snap first?
The Forest on the surface is like many other survival games with crafting and building being a major part of the game. Just like in those games you must gather resources in order to craft weapons, tools, armor, building pieces etc. Of course it wouldn’t be a survival game if you didn’t have to worry about thirst and hunger, right? Don’t worry you will suffer from both a lot in this game. It’s simple though, build close to a water source or use a turtle shell to collect water. Is it really that simple though? No it is not. While you might think staying alive and searching for your son would pose problems, the bigger problem is what lurks on the island. Out in the darkness watching you with those curious eyes and a vicious appetite are some wicked foes. What foes you ask? How about cannibals? Crazed and hungry cannibals.
I let myself fall into a false sense of security early in the game. Gather resources, make tools, craft a bow so I could hunt animals for food. All of this seemed more important at the time but I was wrong. I first heard it in the distance. A faint cackle came from the darkness. It was so dark I could barely see the tree in front of me. It got closer and closer. Then all of a sudden I heard it rushing towards me as it leapt through the air and attacked. I screamed, oh man did I scream. Then I died. It happened that fast and it left me terrified. I had to start all over again with a new character but at the time I didn’t really care. I was frightened and certainly fearful of the dark. That is where this game gets you. It is creepy. It is gory. It is downright terrifying at times. This game is NOT for those with a weak stomach. You will see things and you will do things that you never thought you could do. It is bad. It is really bad and that makes it so great. Well that is if you are a horror fan like me. The one thing there is no shortage of is cannibals and weird creatures in this game. You WILL see some horrific things. You will be stalked. You will be hunted. You will be attacked without mercy and you WILL die. Even working together in Co-Op there will be times when the cannibals will overwhelm you and as my friend T.J said, “It is fight or flight in this game.” That is sometimes easier said than done. What do you do when you are down in the depths of a cave with limited light and nowhere to run? There will be times when you are forced to run and there will be times when you are forced to fight. The combat doesn’t always work that great and can be a little frustrating at times but once you get it down you can take down a single cannibal with ease. Remember I said single cannibal. I didn’t mention any of the other surprises waiting for you.
While exploring and fighting is always fun the crafting/building side is also a must in this game. Crafting is made simple for you by opening up your menu/tarp and placing an item in the middle. When you place an item that can be crafted into something a gear symbol will show up and let you know what all items can be crafted with it and what you will need. Want a spear? Grab a couple of sticks and some cloth and bingo you have yourself a poky thingy. Can we upgrade? Sure you can! Just place the tool or weapon in the middle and it will tell you what you need to upgrade things like damage or speed or even a more advanced poky thingy. As you can see my tarp in this picture is quite full. I stock pile what can I say.
Building on the other hand isn’t as simple. Now knowing what to build, what materials you need isn’t all that difficult. Gathering the stuff will be time consuming but with a couple of friends you will pick up those sticks in no time. The big issue here is the placement of said objects. We found the controls odd and the placement angles you have to work with difficult. For example. I wanted to make a lift so we could access one of our bases from the cliff side. However, placing the lift was a chore because it wouldn’t let me place from the top, no I had to place it from ground level. How could you tell where it was ending up? Good question, I couldn’t. My friend had to stand up top and wait as I guessed the placement and would tell me if it was good or not. This took some time. That is the problem. It just doesn’t work as easy as it should. Some placement wouldn’t work at all. Floor and stair placements wouldn’t line up together and you couldn’t walk up them without having to jump at the top. It was annoying at first but after a while you just deal with it and consider it an aspect of the game that makes it a challenge.
Working together in this game is incredibly fun though. The screams, the laughter is all worth playing this with friends. Those moments where you are gathering logs with your buddy and he starts screaming, “Run!” as he comes over a hill followed by a patrol party. Or when you accidentally destroy a building and it crashes down on your friend resulting in his death. I can honestly say playing this with friends is the way to go if only to have those type of moments. Forget about the frenzy of fighting a group of cannibals. That will always be fun and it does set itself apart from most survival games. I have to say though exploring caves, boating across water, gathering resources for buildings and so much more is crazy fun with friends. As my friend Brandon stated, “It’s a frightfully good time from the constant building, rush and fear that will have you on the edge of your seat. In the end you will be left with an itch to play more.”
Such a true statement, but hey, don’t get discouraged. You have this nifty survival guide that will help you along the way. All the basics of survival in one little book.
The Forest is a survival game fright fest. Horror fans should love this game. The tension rarely lets up even when you are out gathering resources as a group. I don’t think I’ve ever had a game make the hair on the back of my neck stand up so much. Go out alone in the dark woods and listen to the wind and the trees swaying back and forth. The eerie tone is incredible and discovering items such as pictures or symbols that fit the story of this game will leave you intrigued. It isn’t without faults though. The building seriously needs an overhaul and the combat will easily frustrate you at times. Things like chasing a deer only to watch it disappear right in front of you will infuriate you as well. These are minor hiccups in the game if you ask me though. Saving and sleeping in the game work great. The hunger and thirst stays consistent throughout and watching the different type of behavioral patterns with the cannibals is really awesome. One major drawback however would be, I don’t think I could enjoy this game as much without friends. If you love survival, crafting and horror for only $20 dollars I think you will highly enjoy this game.
Rating: 8.5 out 10