After what seems like an age, the popular indie game The Forest is finally getting a sequel. You will be able to play Sons of the Forest on PC from February 23, 2023.
When The Forest was released in 2014, it got its cannibal-filled teeth into me thanks to its take on the survival genre and its great collaborative storytelling. You and your friends crash-landed on a seemingly deserted peninsula only to leave the plane and find a forest full of cannibals, dangerous animals, and monstrous mutants waiting to hunt you down. You would be racing against the clock to set up a secure base with food and water sources to help you fight off the hordes of deadly residents.
Developer Endnight Games has massively expanded the survival experience in the sequel, introducing more customizable building techniques and polishing up the enemy AIs. The antagonistic cannibals you’ll encounter throughout the harsh island peninsula now possess more individualistic behavior, with some being timid and others calculating and aggressive in battle.
While The Forest did have a story to complete – somewhere on this dangerous island, your missing son was waiting to be saved – the game was more fun when you ignored your parental responsibilities. My friends and I chose to expand our base, conquer the tribes of cannibals, or go exploring in the deepest caves of this peninsula instead of searching for the little boy. As long as we didn’t progress the story too far, The Forest’s island remained an open survival sandbox for us to play in.
Never alone again
Sons of the Forest seems to be peddling much of the same story from the first game. You’ve crash-landed on a strange peninsula while looking for a lost billionaire, and you have to survive the creepy creatures that are looking for devour you. Many of these enemies are looking to put your head on a spike, so it’s important to prepare properly.
Exploring damp subterranean caves and building lavish log bases may sound fun, but that’s only if you have some help. In reality, completing these tasks can be almost impossible by yourself. This made The Forest hard to complete if you were a solo player. Thankfully Endnight Games thought up a solution for its sequel.
Sons of the Forest will introduce Kelvin, an elite soldier and expert stick collector. Unfortunately, after your helicopters crashed, Kelvin hit his head pretty badly. As a result, he can no longer speak, but he can understand instructions that are written down on your quick-select notepad. Through this, you’ll be able to tell Kelvin what you need him to collect and where he needs to take it.
This is a massive upgrade to the disappointing workforce of you and your mates in The Forest. Kelvin seeks to make a solo player’s life a hell of a lot easier. Instead of having to chop down an entire forest single-handedly, you can now focus on exploring while your trusty companion does the grunt work. But be warned, mistreat Calvin, and he will go on strike. Despite being an AI, this artificial worker has his own intentions, as he will rest, eat, and explore when he sees fit.
Kalvin isn’t just good for collecting logs and sticks, though. When traversing this forested hellscape’s secret tunnels and passageways, having an extra companion by your side makes all the difference. Kalvin can spot enemies hiding in the undergrowth or jump in for the kill to protect you from incoming attacks. He really is the whole package.
There’s no friend like AI
Having a reliable companion in The Forest is more important than you might think. Stranded on an isolated peninsula, crawling with cannibals, depth-defying caverns, and mutant monsters with one too many limbs can be hard enough as it is without having to deal with a disgruntled teammate.
I’ve been playing The Forest on the same server with the same group of friends for years now and there have been a few… incidents of the community upset over the years. Like the time I was pushed down a mine shaft because I said my teammate’s new hat looked wack. Kelvin wouldn’t have done me like that.