Preview Game Review: The Forest

You’ll never hear the sound of a lighter the same again. The Forest is a game so beautifully crafted, so magnificently precise, that its in-development gameplay is worth writing a review for. Grotesquely absorbing and brutally addicting, The Forest is a PC game that will keep you up at night, both while you’re in front of the screen and while your eyes are closed. Eating lizards, hacking cannibal limbs, and drinking dirty water are all in your future when you turn on this unabashed game. Brace yourself. You’re about to enter The Forest.

 

The Plotline

You are a middle-aged father who survives a plane crash on what seems to be a deserted island. When you wake up from the crash, you watch a tribal man carry your son off into the distance.  There are no other people remaining on the plane with you. And that? That’s all you’re given. There’s only enough of a plot to land you in The Forest itself and to allow an undercurrent of desperation and time-consciousness to seep through your gameplay. The rest of the time? You’re free to roam and do as you please, plot-willing or not.

 

The Gameplay

The tribal man you watched take your son is no ordinary tribal man. He is one of many who live on the island, and these “many,” you’ll happily discover, are blood-thirsty cannibals. So, the first task of the game is to physically fight off these vicious nutcases. You’ll initially wield a weapon found in the plane, but you can later craft things like bows and spears. You’ll also need to provide for yourself in the way of eating, drinking, and sleeping. Next? Build a fort to defend yourself. Meshing design with horror, slasher with explorer, The Forest has a little bit of fun for every style of player, even those who merely want to craft at home and largely ignore the enemies.

 

The Genre-Mashing

Perhaps what makes The Forest so special is its masterful blending of genres. Calling itself an open world survival horror game, The Forest is all that and more. You can make medicines from plants, burn body parts from victims, design a mansion of a fort, and even play the actual plotline and try to find your son. Not a fan of horror? Don’t worry. Once you get over the initial panic of being chased by mangled cannibals, the game becomes more about your cleverness and less about how scared it can make you. You’ll quickly have to figure out how to feed yourself without getting struck down from behind and how to make yourself safe at night when the baddies come out to find you.


The Graphics

For a game that’s only in its in-development phase, The Forest is truly a visual pleasure. Every rock and tree feels believable, and the landscape changes at such a natural pace that every vista and ocean shore is a realistic joy to stumble upon. From sandy beaches to snow-covered mountains, trekking through The Forest allows for plenty of appreciation for the time and work spent on each minute detail. There will never be a point where you wish that you didn’t have to keep dragging your feet through the grass to get to where you want to go- even the grass is wonderfully designed. Day-and-night cycles and weather patterns also add to the environmentally rich ambiance, as well as the multitude of animals that rove through The Forest’s topography.

 

Get It Now

There’s literally no better time to scoop up The Forest than now. It’s currently being offered as an “early access game” on Steam for only $14.99, which means that for a minimal price you can have the game early, watch its progress, and eventually have it as a full game in all its glory after only having paid the first, and slashed, price tag. Sure, there may be some game-breaking glitches along the way, but even if you were to buy it now and not play it at all, you’d still have access to the full game later. And, trust me- once you start it, you’ll find you can’t put it down. Bloodthirsty cannibals or no, The Forest offers a unique experience that even the horror genre-hater will find amusing and, perhaps, even morbidly enchanting.