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I want to talk a bit about SOMA (Spoilers discussion)

Forums - Gaming Discussion - I want to talk a bit about SOMA (Spoilers discussion)

So, I've just recently finished SOMA, Frictional Games' latest entry in their horror billboard. All in all, it's a good/great game. Some moody atmosphere, some daring themes underlined throughout the adventure.

 

 

There's a bunch of issues, however, that I wasn't too keen on. Might as well say again that this thread is full of spoilers, so be aware of that.

First of all, the monsters. It really, really feels like a cop-out. They're there because Frictional Games felt like adding some kind of monsters, but they rarely add up to anything at all, and are more of a liability that pads out the game playtime rather than a fresh, dedicated necessity of this game's plot and atmosphere. Not only their AI is far more lousy than other FG's games, they rarely pose any kind of threat (like the monster who basically ignores you if you don't look at it) and don't really add much layer of horror/gameplay to it rather than having to take some small detours to avoid encountering one in specific points of this game.

And second...the whole monster WAU arc. Really, you just finish it all by touching a heart and that's pretty much it. I never kinda understood why Simon had the vaccine or power to destroy the WAU, why Ross was (despite being a monster) so obsessed of taking down it or what was WAU's really purpose other than its twisted preservation of humanity idea. It really felt like an afterthought; an excuse to have monsters in a game that would have beneffited from not having them (though it would have been a much shorter game).

To finish this all, and ignoring the monster's issue, the game's anticlimatic ending. Now, it's not anticlimatic because it basically marks the bitter failure of our protagonist: it's the fact that this ending was extremely predictable yet there's no surprise or anything when it really happens. Everything pointed out to it, yet Simon for some reason was surprised that things didn't happen like he wanted to, despite knowing prior to it that they wouldn't happen that way. I had hoped for some kind of plot twist at the very end, but nope. It just abruptly ends with something we, Catherine and pretty much everyone except Simon knew already. Even if you actively ignore the secondary information this game gives you throughout, you can pretty much work out how things are going to work considering you've already gone through two "mind imprints" already at that point. I dunno, it felt weak. Maybe it's because I expected something a bit more deeper, or the main character acknowledging it, but neither scenario happens.

 

So, what did you think about SOMA? Did you like it? Did you hate it?



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Soma was alright, I like it more than Firewatch. The story in Soma was predictable, but it does have its own charm. The most memorable part of that game is the choices the player makes.

I chose to kill the smaller passive robot for parts
I chose not to kill "myself" body after "switching" bodies
I chose to kill Sarah Lindwall
I chose to kill the WAU

It is a shame that game did not tell the player about the choices other players made. Comparing my choice to other peoples choices in Life is Strange was interesting.



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SR388 said:

I chose to kill the WAU

 

You have the choice not to kill WAU? I thought that one was pretty much forced on the player, as Ross seems to be blocking the exit until you touch its heart.



I loved SOMA. Less "scary" than Amnesia, but a better game overall, imo. Much better.

And the ending. I really liked it. Though I think it would have had slightly more impact if they were reversed. Show the "good ending" first, and then show the shitty one second.



CladInShadows said:
I loved SOMA. Less "scary" than Amnesia, but a better game overall, imo. Much better.

And the ending. I really liked it. Though I think it would have had slightly more impact if they were reversed. Show the "good ending" first, and then show the shitty one second.

 

I've thought of that as well. But I think Frictional Games wanted to show the whole adventure through Simon 3.0, which concludes with the obvious but somewhat not apparent to Simon himself realization that your mind is merely copied; not your consciousness transfered over, hence why the ending is shown first on his perspective.

It would have been cool to have it switched. Like when the ARK is seeing flying on space, a quick zoom on the Earth showing our playable Simon being stuck at that chair, yelling at Catherine.



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Wright said:
CladInShadows said:
I loved SOMA. Less "scary" than Amnesia, but a better game overall, imo. Much better.

And the ending. I really liked it. Though I think it would have had slightly more impact if they were reversed. Show the "good ending" first, and then show the shitty one second.

 

I've thought of that as well. But I think Frictional Games wanted to show the whole adventure through Simon 3.0, which concludes with the obvious but somewhat not apparent to Simon himself realization that your mind is merely copied; not your consciousness transfered over, hence why the ending is shown first on his perspective.

It would have been cool to have it switched. Like when the ARK is seeing flying on space, a quick zoom on the Earth showing our playable Simon being stuck at that chair, yelling at Catherine.

Perhaps, though the game isn't really all Simon 3.0.  It's Simon 1.0 in the intro, 2.0 up until the body switch, and 3.0 for the rest of the game.  Switching immediately to 4.0 at the conclusion wouldn't have interrupted any sort of continuity, in my opinion.



CladInShadows said:

Perhaps, though the game isn't really all Simon 3.0.  It's Simon 1.0 in the intro, 2.0 up until the body switch, and 3.0 for the rest of the game.  Switching immediately to 4.0 at the conclusion wouldn't have interrupted any sort of continuity, in my opinion.

 

That's not how I see it. You're Simon 3.0 throughout the entirety of the game, because the game ends right up when Simon 3.0 is told that he doesn't transfer conscience, but rather copy his memories into the ARK.

Think about it. The game tries to trick the player into thinking that there's some sort of "coin toss" that you can either win or lose, but that's not really the truth. Truth is that you merely copy your memory in each instance with your previous memories in place. All this time you're playing with Simon 3.0 for both narrative and dramatic purposes, and everything you experience up until the third switch is the memories of Simon, who believes he was perfectly transferred into the new suit (which in reality had his mind copied into, and Simon 2.0 is rotting on the previous suit). Hence why the game tries to pull the final trick of "you lost" at the end, and the game really ends with Simon 3.0 having lost everything, rotting down in the sea.

The fact that we keep playing after original Simon and Simon 2.0, but credits roll when Simon 3.0's fate is told is a heavy indicator of this. It's no different than making the discovery of the fate of the original Simon throughout your adventure of SOMA, a fate we never really get to see as our playable memory extents to Simon 3.0 (a memory that never left the laboratory in Toronto and that firmly believes he was successfully transfered into the Power Suit).

I made this quick draft:

 

The Simon 4.0 part is thrown in it as a post-credits sequence, some sort of bonus epilogue where the "surviving" Simon truly believes he was transfered before the ARK went to space. If this sequence had played first before the Simon 3.0 I'd be inclined to believe the game really gave a switch theory, but given that it finishes with Simon 3.0 heavily implies you were him all along.



Wright said:
CladInShadows said:

Perhaps, though the game isn't really all Simon 3.0.  It's Simon 1.0 in the intro, 2.0 up until the body switch, and 3.0 for the rest of the game.  Switching immediately to 4.0 at the conclusion wouldn't have interrupted any sort of continuity, in my opinion.

 

That's not how I see it. You're Simon 3.0 throughout the entirety of the game, because the game ends right up when Simon 3.0 is told that he doesn't transfer conscience, but rather copy his memories into the ARK.

Think about it. The game tries to trick the player into thinking that there's some sort of "coin toss" that you can either win or lose, but that's not really the truth. Truth is that you merely copy your memory in each instance with your previous memories in place. All this time you're playing with Simon 3.0 for both narrative and dramatic purposes, and everything you experience up until the third switch is the memories of Simon, who believes he was perfectly transferred into the new suit (which in reality had his mind copied into, and Simon 2.0 is rotting on the previous suit). Hence why the game tries to pull the final trick of "you lost" at the end, and the game really ends with Simon 3.0 having lost everything, rotting down in the sea.

The fact that we keep playing after original Simon and Simon 2.0, but credits roll when Simon 3.0's fate is told is a heavy indicator of this. It's no different than making the discovery of the fate of the original Simon throughout your adventure of SOMA, a fate we never really get to see as our playable memory extents to Simon 3.0 (a memory that never left the laboratory in Toronto and that firmly believes he was successfully transfered into the Power Suit).

I made this quick draft:

 

The Simon 4.0 part is thrown in it as a post-credits sequence, some sort of bonus epilogue where the "surviving" Simon truly believes he was transfered before the ARK went to space. If this sequence had played first before the Simon 3.0 I'd be inclined to believe the game really gave a switch theory, but given that it finishes with Simon 3.0 heavily implies you were him all along.

Actually, yeah, you make a good point there. Not sure why I never thought of it that way.

I didn't buy into the switch (coin toss) theory anyways.  I know it's like copying a file to a new disk (or USB drive for you young whipper snappers).  The old file and new file are identical and have experienced the same history.  The new file thinks it's the original file.  You'd think that in the future, they'd make more use of cut and paste rather than copy and paste, though.



CladInShadows said:

Actually, yeah, you make a good point there. Not sure why I never thought of it that way.

I didn't buy into the switch (coin toss) theory anyways.  I know it's like copying a file to a new disk (or USB drive for you young whipper snappers).  The old file and new file are identical and have experienced the same history.  The new file thinks it's the original file.  You'd think that in the future, they'd make more use of cut and paste rather than copy and paste, though.

 

Eh, mankind had been pretty much wipe out. Give poor refugees some credit for at least being able to copy/paste.



Wright said:
CladInShadows said:

Actually, yeah, you make a good point there. Not sure why I never thought of it that way.

I didn't buy into the switch (coin toss) theory anyways.  I know it's like copying a file to a new disk (or USB drive for you young whipper snappers).  The old file and new file are identical and have experienced the same history.  The new file thinks it's the original file.  You'd think that in the future, they'd make more use of cut and paste rather than copy and paste, though.

 

Eh, mankind had been pretty much wipe out. Give poor refugees some credit for at least being able to copy/paste.

I bet Simon 3.0 doesn't feel the same way you do. All alone.  With nobody but Robot Girl to keep him company on those lonely nights.