A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

“Sons of the Forest”: Promising but far from finished

Sons of the Forest is a survival-horror multiplayer game where players must tackle cannibals, mutants and the environment with various types of weapons on an isolated island.
Courtesy Endnight Games Ltd
“Sons of the Forest” is a survival-horror multiplayer game where players must tackle cannibals, mutants and the environment with various types of weapons on an isolated island.

The biggest concern I had for “Sons of the Forest” was whether this sequel would live up to Endnight Games’ previous installation, “The Forest,” a fun, horror-filled survival game with an enjoyable multiplayer option. The answer is yes and no. Yes, being that the game expands on some of the elements from the first game in a substantial way. And no because the game’s story still feels bare bones and some of the mechanics from the first game are missing.

It is important to note that “Sons of the Forest” is in early access, which Endnight Games plans to keep it in for the next 6-8 months. Any issues I bring up in this review may be resolved when the game is completed. Currently, it is only available on PC, for $30, with the developer hinting at a console version later.

“Sons of the Forest” starts off on the right foot when it comes to visuals. The game looks stunning and remains that way as players delve deeper into the island. The caves players can explore are dark and add to the horror element because players only have a small lighter to see with. Throughout the game, seasons constantly change, making for beautiful views throughout the island.

The island itself is massive and full of different locations such as caves, bunkers, enemy camps and snowy mountains. The caves are filled with dangerous enemies, and players can find gear that enable them to access new locations. Bunkers are similar to caves but offer better rewards such as weapons and story items. With the size of the island, players will spend plenty of time searching for the perfect place to build a base. I found myself finding enemy camps, caves and beautiful views at a frequent rate.

The crafting in “Sons of the Forests” is satisfying and looks better than the first game. There are animations that allow players to see how the main character is crafting items such as arrows and armor. Players can also cut logs into specific sizes or split them down the middle to build floors and roofs. This puts the game’s base building on a whole new level. However, I encountered some issues.

For starters, the amount of things that players can craft is limited when compared to “The Forest.” The first game allowed players to build extra bags in order to carry more arrows, sticks and rocks. Players also had the ability to add damaging effects, such as broken glass and poison, to weapons. Both are nowhere to be found in this game.

Another issue is a bug I experienced where my character could neither change weapons nor swim when I took out a stick from my inventory and was prompted to plant it on the floor. In the end I had to restart my game in order to fix it.

“Sons of the Forest” adds new mechanics, such as the companions system, that can help players deal with more tedious tasks such as collecting resources or defending the base. So far, I have encountered only two of them: Kelvin, a soldier who lost his hearing during the initial helicopter crash, and Virginia, a mutated human with three legs and three arms, who roams the island.

Players can issue orders to Kelvin via a notebook. He can be tasked to collect wood, rocks and finish buildings. So far there have been various issues with Kelvin. He constantly gets stuck in places which prevent him from completing chores. He also can cut down players’ bases if they are built on trees.

Virginia takes a couple of in-game days to fully trust players. She can be seen scouting the base and running away when players get too close. Over time she will bring players “gifts” which consist of plants and food. After that players can give her a gun and she will defend the camp when enemies begin attacking.

The companion system has many helpful benefits, however it can be a constant headache when the NPCs regularly get stuck or destroy bases. I am confident that Endnight Games will patch this in upcoming updates.

There are various types of enemies in “Sons of the Forest.” Players will first encounter the cannibals. In the beginning cannibals will be wary of players and simply watch from afar. If left unprovoked they will gradually come closer during the next couple of days. Eventually they will attempt to steal resources or attack players.

Players will then have to deal with armored and big variants of cannibals. As more in-game days pass, the cannibals will begin launching coordinated attacks on the player bases with raiding parties of six or more.

Next, players will find the mutants. They will first be found in caves and come in different forms. Some crawl around, while others run and charge players. Mutants are more difficult to kill than cannibals, but like the cannibals they begin appearing more regularly over time and can eventually be found roaming outside of caves.

The story is mostly unfinished, but it follows the premise of a group of soldiers tasked to find a billionaire and his family. If players look in the right areas they can potentially finish the game within 2 hours. With player feedback, Endnight Games can expand on this similarly to how they did in the first game. The original game had a bare-bones story that, thanks to player feedback, was lengthened and filled with more lore.

For the most part, “Sons of the Forest” has potential to supersede the first game. It expands on the previous features in terms of crafting, exploring and combat. Regardless, there are many missing features and a barely-presentable story. Early access allows for game players to provide the developers with critical feedback. My two cents: In its current iteration, “Sons of the Forest” is limited, but fun to play with friends.

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About the Contributor
Javi Rosas
Javi Rosas, Editor
Javi Rosas is in his third semester with The Oak Leaf and starting his second year as a journalism major. He enjoys covering video games and other entertainment. Javi plans to transfer in Spring 2024.

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    TomMar 22, 2023 at 7:09 am

    You clearly havent played this game, most of your grief with the game was patched 2 weeks ago nearly