Video Games

Sons of the Forest Exclusive Hands-On Preview

Unlike some of its peers, The Forest, a survival horror from Canadian-based studio Endnight Games, not only features the popular gather-and-craft survival game format, but also cannibals and mutants. With the long-awaited sequel, Sons of the Forest, just around the corner, the pressure to not only surpass the beloved original’s experience, but also add new and wilder surprises also occurs. And based on my five hours of play so far, I’m not only excited about the potential for a sequel, but I’m confident that Endnight can revolutionize the survival genre.

Mori started with a simple premise. You crash-land on a mysterious peninsula and begin your quest to survive at all costs. There was also the optional objective of finding a kidnapped son. It’s a task that takes you down a rabbit hole of wild and disturbing stories populated by meat-hungry mutants. , which share almost the same settings. It’s a basic idea, but one that lets you jump right into the action, Rescue, so that a player who doesn’t intend to advance his mission can quickly focus on building his very own lakeside resort with his friends. It’s something to do.

Just like its predecessor, you can play, build, and mayhem with up to seven friends in co-op. But you can see everything Sons of the Forest has to offer in single player. But the big difference this time is that you’re not alone when you play solo. Enter Calvin.

Kalvin not only provides solo players with some companionship, but also has a big impact on the busy work of survival games.


At the beginning of Sons of the Forest, you are introduced to Calvin, an elite soldier who not only survived a helicopter crash that left him stranded on an island, but is also very advanced towards his survival ride as an AI companion. Calvin suffered a major head injury that left him unable to speak, but surprisingly his injury did not prevent him from being extremely useful. As an apparent effort, Kalvin follows you around and responds to commands issued via Notepad’s convenient quick-select option. He is ordered to watch over your unwanted busy work, such as chopping down trees or collecting logs.

During our hands-on, we quickly saw the value of having an AI companion. Sending Calvin in to find resources while my collaboration partner and I focused on designing the structure was of great benefit. I’ve been looking back regularly and looking for new piles of logs to put at my disposal, and Kalvin not only provides some companionship for solo players, but also a useful, time-saving resource if you’re in a group. provide and make a big impact in the busy work of survival games. This gives you more time to sculpt your masterpiece or progress your cannibal quest.

However, Calvin has his own thoughts, at least to some extent. When we are tired, we sit down to rest, and when we are thirsty, we ask for water. Also, if you treat him poorly, he will become upset, less productive, and less valuable as a companion. You have the option to disable Calvin in the most realistic way possible. Shoot him in the head and permanently remove him from the session.

You’re limited to one Kalvin per multiplayer session, so you won’t be able to fulfill your dreams of a large number of Kalvins, but the developers have noted that there are other companions you can find as you progress, each with their own AI. As we were playing, we caught a glimpse of Virginia, a mutant with three arms and three legs. She ran away as soon as I approached her, and arguably had more sly sensibilities than Calvin. This cat contrasts with Calvin’s adorable, obedient dog.

I saw the enemy comforting his fallen friend, changing his clothes according to the weather conditions, and trying to destroy his newly built house when he turned his back.


AI improvements aren’t just limited to companions, though. During our expedition, we encountered several groups of enemies, ranging from hordes of cannibals to hordes of monsters, each demonstrating their own impressive decision-making abilities. , I felt like I was thinking and making proactive decisions based not only on my actions, but also on their situation and environment. have a mode But in Sons of the Forest, some enemies are very cautious and interested in seeing what I do, while others charge aggressively and only retreat if things go wrong. I have seen enemies comfort their fallen friends, change their clothes according to the weather conditions, and try to destroy their newly built houses when they turn their backs. It was clear that the enemy’s “brain” not only followed coded rules, but adapted its thinking based on external influences. Developers have noted that certain enemies with leadership qualities can influence the decisions of others, even promote ideas in their ranks, much like religion, and each individual has their own preferences. , desires, and tendencies.

My little taste of Sons of the Forest didn’t give me a good idea of ​​just how deep this system is and how much it affects the experience of the game. But the bullying I saw filled my mind with dozens of possibilities. We’ve seen enemies adapting to changing ecosystems and weather conditions (they now cycle through changing seasons as they progress). I even accidentally caused a war after absurdly opening a portal to the game’s intricate underground cavern network and releasing a faction of mutants into another tribe’s domain. It encouraged me to change my living space and adjust my concentration. After a bit of chaos, I’m excited to see how flexible this system will become.

As you might have guessed, the famous forest is back and looking better than ever. in), the graphical power displayed here rivals most of the triple-A releases. Without the slightest hint of repetition in its design, it was a joy to explore. In a world where there are many, I can easily find myself lost and sidetracked for hours in the wilderness.

Each point on the structure is not only a decision, but an opportunity for expression.


But at its core, Sons of the Forest is a survival game. So when you’re not exploring, you’re likely building. The building tools have undergone a major overhaul for the sequel. Gone are the floating blue ghost building blocks, replaced by a user-friendly, realistic presentation of wilderness carpentry. In addition to loading resources into the final Ghost version of him, you can now manually place the logs and sticks in any direction you want (using magnetic snap aids), allowing you to fully complete the structure instead of following the previous steps. Customizable.・Determined design. My partner girlfriend Kalvin and I immediately got to work building our own home on the lake. What started as a traditional design quickly blossomed when we realized that the only limit was our imagination. Because all placement is done by hand, each structural point is not only a decision, but an opportunity for expression. Purists said there were still options for more traditional blueprint construction, but his DIY construction proved far more appealing than IKEA’s approach. .

And, of course, there are optional stories to follow. It’s implied from the teaser in the trailer that this is bigger and possibly crazier than the original, and hopefully follows directly from Forrest’s cliffhanger. I really had no idea how the story would go beyond its initial premise in the time it took. I think it makes sense in that sense, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned that it could potentially be regenerating old ground. My hope is that this will act as a starting point to go in some really crazy directions, and develop a through-line of the story that still feels cohesive from the first game. Not to wean yourself from destroying the lives of locals.

Sons of the Forest appears to evolve and build on every aspect of its predecessor with a focused goal of realism and developing a flexible ecosystem. It feels like the building blocks are there to create something truly special. But its killer feature is the addition of impressively sophisticated and smarter AI enemies and allies that could be a huge leap forward not just for the series, but for the survival game genre as a whole.

Dale Driver is IGN’s UK Video Lead, spending an uncomfortably long time building a rustic arbor and eating his enemies in The Forest.follow Dale’s twitter.

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