When we think of Endnight Games’ survival horror The Forest, we think of surviving and horror – because, that’s what The Forest does best. It’s not the largest survival game out there, but what it’s lacking in sheer scale, it makes up for tenfold in downright spooky stuff. Mutants and monsters roam the moon-lit woods in The Forest, and there are even stranger things hidden away in this game’s subterranean cave system. From what we have seen, Sons Of The Forest is continuing on from The Forest in exactly the way we would expect. More woods and caves to explore, more monsters, and (we hope) more fun. However, one thing this sequel has that The Forest doesn’t is AI companions – and we can’t stop thinking about the one’s we’ve seen so far.
In IGN’s exclusive hands-on preview of Sons Of The Forest, we’re offered an insight into two of the AI companions players will be able to take with them on their horrific adventures – while playing solo and in co-op.
First, we have Kelvin – “an elite soldier that survives the helicopter crash that has stranded you on the island” who has also suffered some head trauma (which means he can’t talk).
Kelvin is pretty-much exactly the type of AI companion you’d need if you were in a survival situation like that presented to you in Sons Of The Forest. Not only can Kelvin carry things for you, he can actually actively seek out resources – something that is sure to save players a lot of time. If you really don’t want to sort yourself out with a makeshift base in this mutant-infested woodland, you can actually get this AI companion to build things for you; it also looks like he’s a deft hand with a bow and arrow, when he needs to be.
Kelvin, though, isn’t a walking backpack and he isn’t some sort of log-gathering machine – which makes him all the more interesting. As explained in the IGN hands-on, which you can see below, Kelvin actually looks after himself. If he’s tired, he’ll take a little sit down. If he’s thirsty, he’ll do his best to get some hydration. As written by Dale Driver, Kelvin’s productivity all depends on how well you treat him – noting that he will get upset if you don’t treat him properly.
Now, we know that all sounds like a fantastic addition to the survival horror gameplay of The Forest and its’ upcoming sequel, but Kelvin isn’t even the most interesting AI companion discussed by IGN. We have to talk about Virginia – a mutant with three arms, and three legs.
Unlike Kelvin, who appears to be faultlessly loyal from the off, players are going to have to work on getting Virginia to trust them if they want to roam the woodlands with her as an AI companion. Not only is this adding a new level of depth to the survival horror series we all already love, it’s also something of an unofficial side quest in a game where the main objectives are to survive and find another missing person. It’s turning this survival horror with a largely optional narrative into an open RPG experience. Provided Sons Of The Forest avoids skill points, we’re sold.
Oh, did we mention Virginia can fire two weapons at once? Well, you’ll be able to see her using a shotgun and a handgun simultaneously at around the 03:35 mark in the video above.
We don’t know how different each AI companion will be to one another – whether Kelvin is the only AI companion in the game who can collect logs, or not, for example – but that makes this all the more exciting. Virginia is the perfect representation of what Endnight Games is doing with this sequel; it’s making it better in every possible way. From new enemy types and AI mechanics, to new crafting features and improved visuals, Sons Of The Forest could very-well be one of the best PS5 survival games / best Xbox survival games available when it drops.