A known affiliate of the Dark Lord, Stephen takes only a passing interest in the affairs of mortals. A life of extreme slothfulness has fostered in him an obsession with gaming - one which he will spread to the world in a dark tide of game reviews and news blurbs.
I’ve spent some time in the forest. Though I survived the plane crash that led me to this place, my son is nowhere to be found. In the course of my stay, I’ve learned several things. First – chopping down trees is loud. Very loud. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, and isn’t something that most think about when felling mighty timber. It does, however, matter when combined with lesson number two – there are things lurking in the woods. And they can hear it. I gathered sticks and rocks to build myself a small lean-to. I slept through the night without incident. This is just the beginning of my experience with The Forest, Vancouver-based indie studio Endnight Games‘ early access title.
I’m not sure I can accurately convey in words what this game has done to my psyche. I’ve always enjoyed scary movies and horror games, the spine chill you get when it’s done right. However, I’m not sure I’ve encountered any media that’s evoked primal fear in me the way The Forest has. I didn’t understand the feeling of frantically trying to chop enough wood to put up a forward base before the sun sets, and suddenly hearing a horrible shriek of a nature that couldn’t possibly have originated from man or beast. A hunting cry. I took a break from the game after that… but they came for me on the second day.
In The Forest, you must always keep low and quiet; things like sprinting, destroying brush or trees, and lighting fires will draw them in, while living more consciously and quietly will allow you to escape notice for quite some time. However, I needed a larger shelter, and some walls to put my mind at ease while I slept. To that end, I deforested a small grove. As I mentioned earlier, the sound of an ax chopping through logs in a place like that, carries. The racket I made could have been heard for miles.
Obviously, you’ve got to make some noise if you’re going to make a lasting presence in the great outdoors. This will in turn attract the filthy forest-dwellers. When the barbarians creep in, The Forest offers myriad methods of staying undetected. It was after I’d set up my wall and shack, built a campfire to warm up for the night and sat by the warm blaze that I heard the noises. Human voices. Not in a sense that I was accustomed to – language and communication. Just… chuckling. Low laughter that was almost animal in nature. It chattered from place to place outside my little settlement, growing slowly louder in volume and punctuated on occasion by inhuman shrieks. Whoever they were, they weren’t friendly.
Fire seems to inspire in them an ancient fury, as do loud noises and quick movement. As they pounded at my walls, I carefully put out my campfire, crouched low and crept into my shack to sleep uneasily until morning. Sleeping quarters are invaluable – passing the night in sweet ignorance of the horrors of the outside has extended my life greatly.
I knew I needed to defend myself. Before I readied for war, I attempted to better know my enemy; I made several scouting forays into their lands, each ranging further from camp than the last. During this time I mostly avoided confrontation, gathered resources, and observed from afar. My fears were confirmed – they were indeed cannibalistic. This was tied into some kind of religion, as I would from time to time encounter groups of them praying to their bloodthirsty deity together at grotesque altars.
I began to lose hope that my son would possibly be found alive, as had I discovered several other passengers from the plane, each of them strung up and disemboweled.
They didn’t seem to entertain the idea of keeping us alive. Interestingly, the maneaters seemed to have a particular hatred for the game of tennis. I found a shocking number of bodies with tennis rackets forced down their throats, or with stomachs cut open and stuffed with tennis balls. Clearly, there would be no reasoning with them. It was kill or be killed.
Fast forward a week or so. I’ve become more… acquainted with the natives. That is to say, I have slaughtered many. It didn’t take me long to realize that there’s not much food in these woods (at least not the kind that’s easy to acquire). After encountering grisly effigies of human body parts and witnessing camps made to process people long-dead and lost in the forest before me, I came to the conclusion that the easiest way to acquire a dependable supply of food is to do the unspeakable. I had to become my enemy: the cannibal tribes. Of all the creatures that called these woods their home, there was only one that would willingly come to me. The humans.
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