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Sons of the Forest – Should You Play It?

Endnight’s long-awaited follow up to The Forest is finally here, and it’s just as good as we hoped.

Sons of the Forest is finally here and it kicks a significant amount of ass. The long-awaited follow-up to 2018’s The Forest just hit early access, and you may be wondering if you should start playing now or wait until the full-release. Let’s answer that question in the most spoiler-free way possible.

Sons of the Forest is a co-op survival horror game that tasks you with finding and rescuing a high-profile family trapped on a mysterious island. Your helicopter crash lands at a random spot, and it’s up to you to survive. I’ve started three different saves and each time I’ve crashed landed in very different areas, each with a unique setup. In the first save, the helicopter got stuck in a few trees, the second time I landed in the water just off the coast, and the third time I landed in the snow-capped mountain in the dead center of the island. Each crash had a unique landing scene that fit the region. In the water landing I had to kick open the chopper door, in the tree landing I fell out of the suspended copter, and in the snow crash the helicopter tumbled toward me.

From there you need to gather any supplies you can find, and set up a temporary or permanent shelter. So far, compared to the original, building and crafting has changed the most. While some structures can still be crafted with the translucent AR style blueprints, Sons of the Forest takes a more free-formed approach to building. Once you’ve found a suitable plot of land, you can just start splitting and placing logs to build a floor. Then you can put down support pillars and build walls. Building a roof requires you to throw down beams and struts before you start laying down panels. It’s more complex this time around, but far more rewarding because you are individually splitting and placing each log until you’ve built yourself a little home away from home. This makes your base feel handcrafted and unique to you, or your group’s specific needs and tastes.

It can be a bit finicky at times, and I imagine building massive, multi-story complexes could get a little tedious, but it’s impressive how intuitive the whole system is once you get the hang of it. With your axe equipped, logs can be split in half and chopped into smaller pieces depending on the angle you’re looking at it from. To make a spiked wall, put a log into the ground and look at the top of the log to fashion a spike. To build a campfire, hold a stick and look down. With the press of a button, your character will snap the stick in two and start a fire. Like I said, it can be a little janky, particularly on uneven ground, but most of the time, it works pretty well.

Some structures can be built the old way by placing a translucent blueprint, and feeding it the required materials. Even with this building style, though, you still need to invest resources in a logical order. This means that if a treehouse requires 40 logs for the roof and 20 planks for the floor, you can’t dump the roof logs into the structure until you’ve invested all 20 planks. The UI doesn’t always do a great job of conveying that information early on, but once you know, you know.

The key ingredient to all of this, though, is Kelvin. Kelvin is your resourceful AI companion that can do all sorts of helpful things for you and your party. He can gather fish, collect sticks, and follow you around. Basically, whatever you tell him to do, he will do that until you tell him to stop. I think he does need to rest from time-to-time, but he will gladly catch you fish until the sun explodes and the world ends.

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