Sons of the Forest Review | Bigger, Badder, and Better Than Before!

90
Story
8
Gameplay
10
Visuals
9
Audio
8
Value for Money
10
Price:
$ 29
Clear Time:
12 Hours
Sons of the Forest is what every sequel to a hit game should strive to be. Not only does it improve its predecessor’s formula in every conceivable way, but it also adds enough twists and turns to be its own game. You’ll be spending hundreds of hours toughing it out in the island’s wilderness, building literal castles out of logs, and fighting menacing monsters you can’t even begin to understand. I was a fan of The Forest in its imperfection, now I stand a beholder to its successor’s glory.

Sons of the Forest is a hardcore survival horror game by Endnight Studios and the sequel to 2014’s The Forest. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

Sons of the Forest Review Overview

Sons of the Forest Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Immersive Custom Building
Checkmark Hardcore Survival Done Right
Checkmark Lush and Interactive Environment
Checkmark A Multiplayer Must-Have
Checkmark The Learning Curve is Steep
Checkmark Music Isn’t the Greatest

Sons of the Forest Overall - 90/100

Sons of the Forest is what every sequel to a hit game should strive to be. Not only does it improve its predecessor’s formula in every conceivable way, but it also adds enough twists and turns to be its own game. You’ll be spending hundreds of hours toughing it out in the island’s wilderness, building literal castles out of logs, and fighting menacing monsters you can’t even begin to understand. I was a fan of The Forest in its imperfection; now I stand a beholder to its successor’s glory.

Sons of the Forest Story - 8/10

Sons of the Forest’s story is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and I’m all for it. It picks up on the story first set by The Forest and expands on it in many ways, continuing the narrative in directions that matter. And though the pieces to this game's puzzle of a story aren’t the easiest to put together at times, it strangely works for the survival horror genre. My only nitpick is that the game doesn’t take place on the same island as the first game, and the intro sequences for both games are too similar.

Sons of the Forest Gameplay - 10/10

Now, this is how you make a survival horror game! Sons of the Forest has perhaps the most detailed and satisfying building system of any survival horror game I’ve ever played. Giving the player free rein on what they build and how they could build it was a genius move that I applaud Endnight Games for. The best part about it all is that, despite the ridiculously customizable building system the game offers, it remains a suspense-filled experience that doesn’t veer away from the horror aspect of the genre. While not quite naked, I am very much afraid!

Sons of the Forest Visuals - 9/10

This game looks absolutely stunning in its presentation of this unnamed temperate island and the horrors it hosts. In addition to its stellar graphics, this game has great art direction in the design of its cannibals, mutants, and the environments in which they thrive. The immersion is also rarely ever broken, with vast swathes of undeveloped forest somehow being equal parts entertaining and horrifying at the same time.

Sons of the Forest Audio - 8/10

I appreciate the thought given to Sons of the Forest’s sound design because it’s a robust selection of sound effects and vocals that help with the game’s immersion immensely. Every log, stick, and stone sounds exactly how you think it would, as do the cannibal’s cries and vocalizations. The only thing I would improve is the game’s actual soundtrack and menu music, which both sound like royalty-free music.

Sons of the Forest Value for Money - 10/10

You’ll get your money’s worth with this game, there’s no doubt about it. The game’s Custom building system alone is enough for you to sink hours into, and it’s not even half of the fun that it’s got in store. Exploration, combat, and survival will pad out the rest of the experience nicely. Get yourself a couple of castaway buddies to play this with you on multiplayer and watch that replayability skyrocket!

Sons of the Forest Review: Bigger, Badder, and Better Than Before!

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I remember my first playthrough of The Forest back in 2014. I was much younger then, and it was much easier to scare. I remember buying the game for my friends so we could face the cannibals together and spelunk the game’s insanely intricate cave system with nothing but torches, clubs, and crafted bows to our names. It eventually grew monotonous. The cannibals proved easy to kill and not worth the effort once we got a reliable meat setup going. The mutants, while initially daunting to face, became fodder for our minefield of traps. After we drank our fill from The Forest, it became boring and not worth our time.

Cut to now; Endnight Games just released 1.0 of Sons of the Forest, and I’m here reliving those precious moments I had a hundred feet deep below the surface in a stone cave filled with inhuman creatures. With an axe in hand and a human leg in the other, I am happy to report that Sons of the Forest improved on everything its predecessor had to offer and more.

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Where do I even begin with this game? Sons of the Forest is a horror survival game by Endnight Games that situates you on a cannibal-infested island. Here, you must fend for yourself by using the few resources you have (initially) to build shelter, craft survival tools, and discover the island’s mysteries. I won’t spoil why you’re on the island too much, but rest assured that you’ll be finding out quickly that your initial goal pales in comparison to what’s going on here.

Before anything else—before the story, even—let’s talk about the game’s strongest gameplay feature: Custom Building. I cannot describe the intricacies of this game’s building system in full detail because there are simply too many things you can do. It’s like Minecraft, except all you have are sticks, logs, stones, bones, and nothing else. You’d think that’ll get old soon, but this game lets you build ANY structure you can think of, so long as it can conceivably be built with logs and stones.

Fancy a log cabin? You could build the prefab cabin for a lot of logs, or you can build one to your specifications if you’re willing to work for it. A palisade to protect you from the locals, perhaps? That’s easily done in any height, configuration, or length you can ever need. What about an 11th-century stone castle with a moat, rampart, and keep? Need you even ask?

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It’s amazing what you can build in this game given your limited choice of materials, but that’s not all you can do. For the adventurous types among you, Sons of the Forest features a MASSIVE and fully-explorable map that’s four times as large as its predecessor’s. Countless caves, lakes, and points of interest dot this verdant hellscape, all ripe to be explored for resources and story progress.

All that exploring is bound to starve any intrepid castaway, given enough time, so this is where the game’s survival systems kick in. Hunger, Stamina, Rest, and thirst meters are staples of the genre so expect this game to follow suit. What sets it apart is its Strength meter, which influences how easily you can fell trees and foes alike. This one doesn’t fill itself as readily but can be topped off with certain foods and resources. This game’s survival aspect isn’t the most complex, in my opinion, though it is supplemented by the aforementioned Custom-building system well.

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Next up is another core gameplay mechanic that I think Sons of the Forest executed well: Combat. Unlike the first game, you’re not limited to mere crafted clubs, bows, and axes to fend off the cannibals. Here, you’re given an arsenal of actual guns and weapons to fight with, although you do have to find them first—a requirement that feeds into the game’s exploration aspect rather well. I also want to bring attention to the game’s excellent enemy AI, which is a massive improvement from The Forest’s boring cannibals.

The cannibals on this island duck, dodge, dip, and dive past your swings instead of just taking them. Some of them even scale trees and cliffs to do diving attacks against you. Heck, some of them could even parry you for style points before gutting you like a fish with their deceptively painful attacks. This extends to Sons of the Forest’s new mutants as well, which are all welcome additions to the grotesque family populating the caves.

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Speaking of AIs, single-player isn’t as bad in Sons of the Forest as it is in The Forest because you’re never alone anymore. An NPC named Kelvin will be joining you in your travels. You can order him around to collect and survive alongside you so it’s not such a one-sided battle anymore. This was a much-needed improvement over the last game and one that comes with a very amusing "Big Head Mode"

As for the game’s story, I’ll try to go over it without divulging major spoilers because half the fun is figuring out what atrocities led to these…things roaming the island. Unlike in the previous game, where you crash-landed from a passenger plane and must save your son from the locals, you’re here on a mission to find and retrieve members of the Puffton family, who’ve gone missing. Hilariously enough, you still crashland, though you’re no mere civilian this time around.

The story unfolds into the occult and esoteric as you find clues in caves and clearings, but I’ll leave it at that so you can behold the horror yourself.

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That’s about it for Sons of the Forest. It’s a good sequel and a better standalone game because it accomplishes everything a sequel should: it expands the lore, remasters mechanics, and introduces new ways to enjoy what the first game introduced. I will say that this is a large game to digest and that you’re gonna be here for a while, but that’s strictly a good thing in my eyes. So grab a leg, pull up a stick chair, and rest your weary body by the campfire, because we’re cave diving tomorrow.

Pros of Sons of the Forest

Things Sons of the Forest Got Right
Checkmark Immersive Custom Building
Checkmark Hardcore Survival Done Right
Checkmark Lush and Interactive Environment
Checkmark A Multiplayer Must-Have

Immersive Custom Building

This game’s building mechanics are on a different level, I swear. I came in expecting the same old log creations from the first game and got way more than that. It expanded on The Forest’s previous building system by relying less on blueprints and letting you build absolutely anything, log by log. I remember having to learn all sorts of lifehacks and tricks to make structures in The Forest look the way I wanted them to, but now it’s just a matter of imagining what you want to build next.

This extends to stone and stick crafting as well, letting you build floors, fences, walls, and ramps exactly how you envisioned them with no finagling required. I’ve even seen some creators make period-accurate ships and castles from mere logs and stone. I’ll just go ahead and say it, Sons of the Forest has the best base-building of any survival horror game I’ve ever seen.

Hardcore Survival Done Right

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Balancing a survival game is a difficult ordeal because "Challenging" can quickly become "Frustrating" if you put too much against the player. Overturning the game in the player’s favor, however, will quickly make the game unfun and monotonous. Sons of the Forest tows this line quite well by arming you to the teeth with C4, grenades, shotguns, pistols, tasers, and gliders, under the notion that you must brave the wilderness without them first.

It’s a power fantasy that doesn’t become stale because finding guns isn’t the be-all and end-all of the experience. You could still starve to death or die to more powerful mutants despite the heat you’re packing, but you’ll easily lord over the unarmored riffraff of the early game. And in case you’ve forgotten, the caves serve as a major equalizer between you and the island’s inhabitants. This is how you do hardcore survival. This is how you balance a game to be fun.

Lush and Interactive Environment

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I have nothing to say about this game’s setting and aesthetics except…wow! I’ve already mentioned how stunning this game’s environment is but did you know how interactive it is too? First off, the game’s physics engine is superb. I’d expect nothing less, considering the ratio between log-built structures and explosives on this island. Secondly, the island’s ecosystem is a thriving environment that has its own cycles independent of the player like weather and season cycles.

Turtles come seasonally to lay eggs on the beach; deer are skittish but can be snuck up on; rabbits and squirrels are hard to hunt but easy to trap; raccoons stand up to make themselves large when threatened; all of these work seamlessly together to convey an immersive nature experience to die for — which you probably will, given the number of cannibals present.

A Multiplayer Must-Have

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You have got to try this game in multiplayer mode, I promise it’s a whole other experience than single-player. Apart from the added difficulty of coordinating with other players in the wilderness, it’s just a different kind of fun to build and battle alongside your buddies. I made plenty of core memories with my friends in what is arguably a lesser version of this game, I wonder what you and up to 7 of your buddies can get up to in the far superior sequel.

Cons of Sons of the Forest

Things That Sons of the Forest Can Improve
Checkmark The Learning Curve is Steep
Checkmark Music Isn’t the Greatest

The Learning Curve is Steep

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You will die. I’m sure the more experienced survival horror players among you can survive for longer, but all newcomers will die in Sons of the Forest eventually. This game has a steep learning curve, even for those who’ve played The Forest already. There are so many things that could go wrong at any given moment that all it takes is a poorly-timed raid from a single cannibal to end your hundred-day survival save and that’s just for the game’s "Normal Mode". I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this game to someone who’s just starting with survival horror games.

Music Isn’t the Greatest

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While the game’s immersive audio does well to sell its themes and tone, its music does the exact opposite. I was expecting something unsettling and dark to accompany the occult happenings on the island, but what I get is some stock-sounding military menu music that sounds like it’s from CS: GO. It’s not a horrible track per se, just a little off-focus, in my opinion.

Is Sons of the Forest Worth It?

Definitely, If You Can Handle The Difficulty

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$30 is a small price to pay for all shelter-building, cannibal-smiting, mutant-skinning fun you’re going to get from Sons of the Forest. I have seen survival games ask for more while providing only a fraction of the complexity and replayability that this game can offer. The only thing that should give you pause is the game’s difficulty, which could easily turn a fun experience into a regrettable purchase if you’re unable to adjust. If you’re fine with dying multiple times and having another go at that cave, then you know where to get Sons of the Forest.

Platform Price
xxx Platform IconSteam $29.99

Sons of the Forest Overview & Premise

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Getting marooned on an island isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but it is when the island’s ridden with hulking mutants and cannibal warriors. Dive into the deep cave systems of this island and find out what happened to the Pufftons. Build shelter and forage for supplies to ensure your survival as nature itself tries to claim you. Fight back and reign over the many, many Sons of the Forest.

Sons of the Forest FAQ

How Difficult is Sons of the Forest?

Sons of the Forest is a challenging survival game that demands great attention to detail and good reflexes. Although it isn’t the hardest survival game by far, a lot of the game’s mechanics can easily overwhelm new players even in the game’s lowest difficulty.

Compared to its predecessor, Sons of the Forest features a much more detailed building system, better enemy AI, and changing weather conditions — all mechanics that contribute to its substantial difficulty.

How Do You Enable Console Commands in Sons of the Forest?

You can enable console commands in Sons of the Forest by doing the following steps in order:

 ●  Load up a save, enter the word cheatstick (without the quotation marks)

 ●  Press the F1 key. Simply enter cheatstick in the normal game, unpaused. Your character might move a bit, but it'll still trigger.

 ●  If you do this correctly, pressing F1 will bring up a dev console command menu with a huge list of cheats attached.

 ●  From there, simply enter the cheat that you want to use and press the ENTER key.

Sons of the Forest Product Information

Sons of the Forest Cover
Title SONS OF THE FOREST
Release Date February 22, 2024
Developer Endnight Games Ltd
Publisher Newnight
Supported Platforms PC
Genre Horror, Survival, Open-world
Number of Players 1-8
ESRB Rating M
Official Website Sons of the Forest Website

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