Currently still among the top played games on Steam, The Forest is quite a unique title that I’ve had the pleasure of playing the last couple weeks. This title was released all the way back in 2014 as an early access game, but has since received many major updates from the devs and got a full release in 2018, which made it to consoles as well. So let’s talk about game play in 2020.
This games look quite stunning on high. I can achieve 144 fps quite easily, so optimization is solid. If you take some time to look around, it is quite immersive. Trees and foliage look fantastic and I have no complaints on the models or textures. I do have one friend who keeps crashing or getting a permanent black screen, but I’m going to just credit that to poor PC building skills (or drivers).
This is an open world survival horror game. What does that mean? It means gather food, build shelter, fend off zombies/mutants/cannibals and explore caves. The game stays pretty ambiguous and you uncover little clues while exploring the game, which makes the experience that much better. There are a ton of little touches that make the game as good as it is. Even your inventory is not an ugly 2D screen with boxes, it opens as an entire interactive 3D spread of all your items where you can drag them around to craft new items. Your menu where you select items to build or view stats, is a little book that you pull out, which I thought was amazing.
Gathering resources is always a tedious task in any game, but The Forest manages to make it a little interesting by allowing you to craft items to help, like sleds to pull many logs, or zip lines and elevator cranes. You can really build out an intricate base and get pretty creative with it. If building bases isn’t really your thing, that’s OK too. There are items that fit the nomad play style just as well, such as temporary tents and small fires. Just hunt for food as you go instead of growing crops.
The main objective here is to explore caves and find more clues to Timmy’s whereabouts (a kid gone missing after an accident). A simple task, but with the whole survival thing in between to make it very interesting. The game excels in creating an immersive and spooky environment. They don’t rely on cheap jump scare tactics to achieve the horror effect, but instead use legitimate ambiance and world behavior to keep you on your toes. The enemies evolve and the AI keeps their behavior adapting to you as well.
A very fun game with a few friends. You can host up to 8 friends in one game, maybe even more with some mods, but I think 3 to 5 is plenty for a good time. The game has a few weird glitches here and there, but it definitely adds to the goofy and fun moments; I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are moments where the game is peaceful and laid back, and also moments of adrenaline when encountering new foes. As you progress you’ll keep discovering new items and mechanics you can use. Although I felt a little weird chopping off limbs and body parts to build effigies, or picking up animal heads, it quickly became second nature, as soon as I got a kill, I was hacking away at limbs – gotta collect them resources.