SOMA is the latest sci-fi horror game now available to stream on NVIDIA SHIELD via GeForce NOW from Frictional Games, the developer who brought us the highly unsettling game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
What it has in common with that game is the premise that you begin the story with no memory of who you are and why you find yourself in your current location.
Also in common is the fact that you have no weapons or tools with which to solve and survive the various puzzles and hazards in the game so it’s a case of simply trying to survive and using stealth to avoid dangers where possible.
SOMA's compellingly written story, high production values, and taught atmosphere all conspire to make it a uniquely disturbing and completely unforgettable experience on SHIELD.
The game relies on the player’s total ignorance and gradual unravelling of the story in order to maintain the chilling atmosphere and constantly thrill and surprise you.
SOMA begins with you regaining consciousness aboard a large underwater research facility called Pathos-II without any recollection as to why you're there. The place is practically derelict and there seem to be few signs of the former inhabitants.
Through exploration and the collection of documents and tapes you begin to discover more about the terrible events that lead to your current predicaments and that of the Pathos-II facility.
You quickly discover you're not alone, however, and encounter increasingly bizarre entities that, as the mystery is pieced together, explore the game’s themes of consciousness, identity, and what it means to be human.
On your travels you will hook up with the remaining few inhabitants as well as those corrupted by the terrible events that have taken place and, more disturbing, you will also come up against machines that appear to be developing human traits.
The fact that there is no combat, no weapons or gadgets is actually something that works to the game’s advantage as it increases the feeling of helplessness and greatly ratchets up the tension.
It also helps that the Pathos-II is an extremely tactile environment. Everything is viewed in first-person perspective and objects that you come across are manipulated as they would be in real life so you pull the controller toward you to heave open a door, flick switches and move objects. It gives the environments a real sense of solidity and gives a sort of intimate authenticity to your relationship with the surroundings.
As mentioned, much of the psychological horror is generated by the very ordinariness of your character. There are no gun-toting heroes here, just a very vulnerable, confused man who has only his wits and sense of self-preservation to get himself through this harrowing ordeal.
SOMA is now available on NVIDIA SHIELD via GeForce NOW for a special launch price of 20% off its regular full price of $29.99.