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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sons of the Forest’s latest patch notes are more disturbing than I expected

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Sons of the Forest continues its evolution from uncompromising horror survival game to playable meme generator with its latest patch, the headline addition of which is an electric unicycle. Named the Knight V (pronounced “Knight Five”), this discoverable vehicle lets players scoot around the game’s vast cannibal island at high speed, like a greyhound with worms. Quite why there’d be an electric unicycle on an uncharted island filled with cannibals is another question, but videogames have never allowed logic to get in the way of fun.

Highly impractical transportation isn’t the only new feature added by Patch 03. Players can also find a pair of night vision goggles in the wilderness, helping you navigate at night without attracting attention from the local people-eaters.  Meanwhile, the crafting system has been expanded to include solar panels, light-bulbs and electrical wiring, for those players who want to attract even more attention to their location.

Alongside these added extras, Patch 03 includes a much broader array of balance tweaks, system changes, and smaller additions. Indeed, the changelog is quite the read. Adjustments range from the mundane, such as “improved some enemy base attack logic” to the disconcerting, like “dismembering dead characters with melee is now easier” to the outright disturbed, most notable of which is “dead babies now have buoyancy in water”.

Now, I have to say, a game that includes both an electric unicycle and floating dead babies gives me pause for thought, and I start to query what exactly Sons of the Forest is trying to achieve as an experience. The original game was fairly consistent in its horror themes, taking its world and its denizens mostly seriously. As a result, it more twisted horror moments were effective, because you’d already bought into the world.

Sons of the Forest, by comparison, is increasingly shifting toward a daft, meme-baity sandbox that only moonlights in horror. Which is fine, but I question whether such a game also needs to include things like “puffy dead bodies” and realistically buoyant baby corpses. Whether fictional or otherwise, people tend to take the idea of infant death quite seriously, and perhaps including such ideas alongside the ability to zoom around on a vehicle normally reserved for clowns isn’t the wisest creative choice.

Right, I’ll put away my soapbox now. You can read the full list of additions and adjustments made by Sons of the Forest’s latest patch here. The game’s currently in (fairly rapid) Early Access development, with rough plans for a full launch in 6-8 months’ time. If you’re already playing Sons of the Forest and need a little help finding equipment, check out our extensive array of guides for the game.

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