The Forest is described by developer Endnight as a “terrifying first-person survival horror simulator,” and it is all of those stuff. The Forest has been in progress for four years, and it began when open world survival was the next big thing. All of these survival games are now seeing version 1.0 now that everyone has moved on to the battle royale genre. Many with patience and a passion for the genre may find this to be an exciting time, as games like The Forest and Subnautica are successfully combining an open world survival game with a compelling storey to explore, as well as the challenge of day-to-day survival. The Forest embraces its horror roots and, like Subnautica, can be very frightening.
I recall my first encounter with The Forest vividly: I thought it was visually stunning at the time, and the idea was intriguing. You and your son are riding in a commercial jet when it crashes into a forest. You wake up as a survivor to find your son being taken away by a creepy, primitive-looking human. Not only did I have to stay alive, but I also had to find answers and locate my son. There’s also the imminent threat of another visit from the creepy tribal man. Later, I discovered that the creepy tribal guy belonged to a gang of cannibal mutants straight out of the 2005 film The Descent, and I find myself hanging and bound in their cave. I battled my way out of the cave, killing cannibal creatures with my axe indiscriminately before I emerged soaked in blood, thinking I had something extraordinary on my hands. I set it aside to await its arrival. “ The Forest, like the recently released survival game Subnautica, has a beginning and an end, as well as narrative bread crumbs that help drive the plot forward. Unfortunately, The Forest is not as fast-paced as Subnautica, and its breadcrumbs are more difficult to locate due to the game’s nature. Since there are no waypoints on your HUD in The Forest to guide you to the next big plot point, you may find yourself looking for the path to take several times. The answers you find in The Forest are really very convincing, and I believe they are worth the long searches through dark caves—though don’t feel bad if you use a guide for the sake of time and sanity.
At its heart, The Forest is an open-world survival game. That means being concerned about hunger and thirst, as well as constructing shelter to save your progress and ensure your safety. Having a safe place to rest is both a luxury and a source of entertainment in survival games. Don’t get me wrong: building in The Forest can be enjoyable, but most of the time I built out of necessity rather than pleasure. Hunting parties, monstrosities, and other horrific creatures prowl the daytime almost as much as they do at night. Since you’ll be attacked at all hours of the day and night, the only defence is a strong wall, but you have a variety of options. You can construct large and small shelters (which also act as saving points), as well as custom buildings and tree houses fit for a Wookiee. You can also make rafts to swim around the peninsula where you’ve been stuck, as well as a house boat—a floating home away from home—which is amusing.
Surviving in The Forest is highly reliant on shameless video game logic, with impossibly quick building and an impossibly large inventory. Although constructing a structure involves only the placement of a plan and the addition of materials, collecting those materials can take a long time. Building in The Forest can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. It takes some time to chop down trees with most of the in-game axes. You will discover that crafted products are often more effective than their commercially produced counterparts. I’m not sure how a skull on a stick is a better weapon than forged steel, but skulls on sticks are pretty fuckin’ metal, so I’ll overlook it.
Hunting is a straightforward method. Often, tracking down deer and stomping on their heads is enough. Some animals (and creatures) can be skinned for crafting materials or, in some cases, you can simply wear their skin for a bit of armour. Crafting tools and other things isn’t always simple, and it can be a little unwieldy at first. However, once I became familiar with the device, I was able to use it with ease.