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Early Access Impressions - The Forest

Illustration for article titled Early Access Impressions - The Forest

I try not to dabble in Early Access games too much. They’re unfinished and at worst unoptimized. A lot of games never even make it out of early access and the developers abandon it before its fully complete, leaving you, the buyer, with an incomplete game. But The Forest has had my attention for some time now and the developers have constantly updated the game adding new features, items, and enemies. Though as far as I can tell it’s far from completion.


I’ve started at least six different campaigns in this open world suvival game and only once have I advanced far enough to be able to hold my own against increasing waves of enemies who grow bolder from day to day. The reason I managed to make it so far is because my starting location had everything I could possibly need. Tree’s, Plants, Sticks, Rocks, a Campsite, and a Pond. The only thing I had to worry about was food. And let me tell you, nights can get intense when the resident cannibals come poking around your base, screeching and howling while they run in every direction, rarely actually attacking you unless you step outside.

One of the biggest problems I ran into was that a lot of structures rely heavily on sticks and logs. Logs are easily obtained by chopping down trees, which give you either 4 or 5 logs. However, you can only carry two at a time. This is where a Log Sled comes in handy as it allows you to stack give or take 10 - 12 logs and pull them to wherever you need them. However, you’ll eventually start needing larger amounts of logs, upwards of 80 to 100 if not more if you’re building a custom structure. This can take multiple in-game days if you’re playing alone which can get tiring and repetitive. The only thing that kept me chopping away was the ever present fear that a special mutant would show up and kill me before I could completely wall myself off.


The kicker? That’s pretty much all there is to the game right now. Yes there is a goal, but there really isn’t anything pushing you to pursue it, not to mention you typically have zero idea where to go half the time and its easy to get lost if you wander too far from your camp. More or less the goal you end up striving for is to build a fort with strong defenses and keep the cannibals at bay forever. And once you’ve accomplished that? You might as well stop playing because even if you decided to pursue the thin story, it isn’t finished so you’ll eventually hit a brick wall somewhere.

And that’s only if you actually manage to build a sustainable base. Half the time the game dropped me in a location that was far from any source of water(And you need a turtle shell to make a water collector, meaning you need to find water before you can even make the one thing that makes surviving in other places possible.) or there were no sticks for miles. And at the rate it’ll take you to build a safe campsite, you almost need all the time in the day to do it, which isn’t going to happen when essential resources are nowhere to be found.


After playing singleplayer for at least four hours I began to get bored with the repetitive nature of the game and I came to the conclusion that its a game that is somewhat built for multiplayer. It has co-op, but sadly for me none of my friends have it or even want it. Having more than player would make gathering a lot easier and faster allowing for more elaborate bases made in half the time it would take a single person. Not to mention you can share the night time feeling of dread as you hear enemies in the distance or hovering right outside your wall.

Overall, The Forest is not a bad game. It can be fun at times and rarely in other games have I ever felt as terrified terrified after night fall, huddling inside my little hut for protection and waiting out the night(You can sleep through the night, but if an enemy comes knocking it interrupts your sleep and you can’t go back to sleep even after fighting them off.) as I do in this game. But The Forest definitely feels like it needs more time in the oven(Which, thankfully, is exactly why it’s still in early access on Steam.). If you really enjoy survival games or games that build off of the Minecraft formula, then The Forest is definitely something you should look into. But if you get bored really easily with repetitive games, then this game might not be the best fit for you. Luckily, it was only $15 and it’s definitely great for short stretches of time.

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