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    SOMA


    TG AceoHearts

      I have been playing video games for about 30 years now, and every once in a while a game makes me say “What the hell is going on?”  SOMA from Frictional Games is one of those titles.  And this is not a bad thing.

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      You play as Simon Jarrett, a young man who was recently in a car accident.  As a result of the accident, your girlfriend passed away and you sustained a bad head injury.  You have been trying to figure out the extent of your injuries when you are contacted by a doctor that believes he might be able to help.  You agree to be a part of his study, and have a complete brain scan.  This is when things go sideways.

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      After your scan you wake up and realize that something is very wrong.  The bright lights of the doctors are gone.  The room is dark, the door is locked and you are surrounded by equipment that wasn’t there before.  You must now explore your new surroundings and figure out how you got there, as well as where THERE is.

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      I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but I can safely say that it is a sci-fi, horror, survival which will require stealth over brute force.  You will have to unravel the mysteries of your past and try to solve the puzzles of your present so you can move forward.  Of course, you have to do this all while not drawing the attention of those that are out to get you.

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      The XB1 version of the game differs slightly from the original PC and Playstation 4 game that was released a few years ago.  The XB1 version features SAFE mode, which allows all the horror of the original title, but with no chance of getting injured by any monsters.  This makes for a slightly less stressful playthrough, while still being able to experience the entire story.

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      The graphics are dark and gritty.  You are pulled into this world almost immediately and held there with a death grip.  The environments are varied and extremely well done.  Game sound is used to envelop you into this creepy world.  Strange mechanical sounds, water dripping in the background, metallic creaks and strange echoes abound.  Using headphones really immerses you into the experience, but the sound design is such that you will still get lost in the environments using your TV speakers.  Music is sparse throughout the game, and mostly used to emphasize mood.

     

      SOMA is out now for XB1 and can be slipped into your collection for $29.99.  While the game has you questioning what is going on, the answers are well worth the play time.

                                10/10


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