Soma:  So a guy walks into the doctor’s office for an experimental brain scan…

In the world of survival horror gaming, Frictional Games reigns as king. With the Penumbra trilogy under their belts, the company set out to make Amnesia: The Dark Descent which stands as one of the scariest games ever made. Yes, it is really fucking scary if horror gaming is your thing. Now, Frictional Games has just released Soma, their sci-fi horror follow up. While it manages to be a rare case of two extremely well made parts not overlapping well, Soma manages to be a terrifyingly atmospheric game with a great story.


Believe it or not, outside is much safer.

Soma puts you in the shoes (subjectively speaking) of Simon who is going through a bad time in his life. He is dying. He sets up a meeting for an experimental treatment with a brain scan. His next memories are of awakening on an underwater facility, PATHOS-2, that is in various states of disarray. Machines are taking on human characteristics and personalities. Monsters roam the halls attacking on sight. Trying to make sense of everything, you set out to not only question how you got there, but to validate your own perception of reality.

It's like Giger was in to cyberpunk cancer instead of weird ass alien porn.

Soma’s greatest strength is in building a world around a great story. Most plots can be pieced together after finding a couple of clues and plot points. Soma essentially takes those pieces, breaks them up even further, and scatters them in different ways across the level. Audio logs, personal photos, and even the horrific scenes that litter the broken landscape of PATHOS-2 are out there to make sense of this pretty intriguing story. I’m going to be honest, this is one of the best stories that I have seen in a while. The problem is that Frictional Games are masters of scaring the living shit out of you. While this game isn’t as terrifying as Amnesia, it’s pretty high on the list with the tension and ambience of the murder machines and gore. Wanting to go through the logs of a dead crewman for a little more insight while some bloated cancer monster is hobbling in the area is a little jarring. Stack that against the game as a whole and it becomes a minor gripe of a game that is too good. Soma is fucking great.


Finding mutilated bodies incorporated into machinery is fucked up and the cat and mouse game between you and the monsters roaming the halls in pretty goddamn scary. However, the further you go in Soma, you find out that the real horror comes from the themes of identity and what it means to be human. Think you are human? The answer isn’t so cut and dry. In Soma, it doesn’t just slap it on the game and let you poke at it with a stick. It is the game, and the answers you ask yourself long after you play are more unsettling than any monster that chases you through those dark halls.