For a long time, I was afraid of picking up Soma, since it came from the developers who did Amnesia. Amnesia was the first game that scared me so thoroughly that I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up again after the first session. I admired it for its amazing world design, interactivity, and story, but it was too scary for me. I don't enjoy being scared.
I was thus of two minds when I heard about Soma: Soma was supposed to be less scary, and SciFi. But still, let me get this out of the way; This game scared me whitless. I had to use an online game guide to warn me of monsters and tell me how to evade them. I was too scared to figure this stuff out by myself, all alone in this creepy, nasty, underwater space station.
But at the same time, this game delivered one of the best stories I have ever seen in a video game. The story left me shaken and thoughtful for days, and the story was what dragged me back into the game even though I was really struggling with the monster sections. Even the delivery through conversations, environmental clues, and audio logs, was truly outstanding. I just love grimy Alien-style SciFi, and this is one of the very few video game stories that could fill more than a paragraph or two in a well-written book. I love it.
Apparently, if you like horror games, this is a very mild one. Boring even, if you can believe my favorite online critics. But believe me, it was right on the edge of what I was able to take. I still can't quite decide whether I would have preferred this game without the monsters, or whether the monsters were a necessary tool for evoking this intense sense of dread on the lonely SciFi ocean floor. Maybe the monsters lent some much-needed life and interactivity to the walk-em-up formula.
At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and can't wait for what this developer will create next. I wholeheartedly recommend this, as one of the best SciFi stories of this year, in any medium. ★★★★★