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Poll: Which of these answers describes best how you felt about SOMA's monsters?
You do not have permission to vote in this poll.
Not scary at all and very easy to get past.
0 0%
Just an annoyance.
12 3.93%
A bit scary, but mostly annoying.
59 19.34%
A bit scary and interesting to encounter
73 23.93%
Very scary, but also a bit annoying
99 32.46%
Very scary and interesting to encounter.
62 20.33%
Total 305 vote(s) 100%
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Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters
Jim Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

I opted for "Very scary and interesting to encounter". I went to great lengths to immerse myself in the experience; I played the whole game in pitch black while wearing my Sennheiser 558 headphones, and focused solely on staying alive. I never deliberately "played" with the monsters for fear of getting killed.

Overall, I was very pleased with the ways the monsters were used. I'm going to write up a full review for the game once I've had time to process everything I saw tonight, but in the meantime I can confidently say that I think the monsters did exactly what they needed to do.

(This post was last modified: 10-06-2015, 09:35 AM by Jim.)
10-06-2015, 09:30 AM
Mina Darsh Offline

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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

Jim/James Perry in the video he linked Wrote:What the Hell is wrong with the people who made this game?

I imagine Frictional employees would smirk at that phrase, I know I do. :3
10-06-2015, 04:12 PM
GrAVit Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

Went with "Very scary, but also a bit annoying". Note, contains monster spoilers.

I was scared as hell of them and took me sometimes even an hour or so for a section that normally would take maybe like 15 minutes because of them, a lot of time was spent moving slowly and observing the monster patrol routes and whatnot (especially with the Lambda proxies, those were the scariest by far). Panic struck many times and being chased by them was absolutely horrifying! Especially the elevator part, when trying to fix it and wondering what was wrong with it, while the monster closed in on me right behind my back...

However, there were a few parts where I got a bit frustrated with the monsters, primarily with the disco ball head monster / jiangshi, where I just couldn't find the valve to lower the ladder down and I didn't have much time to look for it in the first place because the monster kept coming to the hallway, so I felt like I was stuck for a good 15-30 minutes at least.
It wasn't clear to me that not looking at it was its *weakness*. I knew I wasn't supposed to look at it, but I didn't know it couldn't do much to me if I looked elsewhere. I think this could've been presented better at Lambda, as for me, the moment I heard that monster appear, I just ran behind a corner and sat there till it was over, so I didn't get to really experience the mechanics of it so that I could take advantage of its weakness.

The second time I got frustrated with a monster was with the proxy at Omicron. It took me a good while to figure out how it worked. At first I tried throwing an item to get it to move, but it didn't, so I kept throwing stuff and it kept staying still. I thought the monster's waypoints were glitched or something, since that kind of stuff happened to me in Amnesia occasionally. Tongue I even tried to repeatedly smack a metal pipe against the wall right next to the monster but it still didn't care, so then I start to get frustrated and just throw an object at it and what do you know, it starts shrieking and chasing me while I scream my ass off. lol
Eventually I just managed to juke it by throwing something at it and quickly looping around the structures next to it, grabbed the battery pack and jumped past its shoulder. That sure felt good afterwards!

So after figuring out how the monsters work, they stopped being frustrating for the most part. Their special features could've been presented a bit better perhaps, they were confusing at first to say the least, but hey, I really liked their features, and they sure as hell scared me, so it's really not a big deal for me in the end!

10-06-2015, 04:19 PM
Bridge Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

(10-06-2015, 05:15 AM)PathOS Wrote: A similar issue happened to me with Akers actually. I locked myself in Strohmeier's Security Office and just waited in there while Akers patrolled outside. After a while of watching him go back and forth I began to lose some fear of him and I realized he was just a programmable object on a designated patrolling path. That's how tricky these things can be.

But I would argue that it has little to do with the fact that he is a script with a finite number of functions. Clever, responsive AI is certainly not detrimental to the horror aspect, as Alien: Isolation has amply proved; but the horror is still largely self-induced. Why isn't Splinter Cell for example considered a scary game but Thief is (ignoring the monster levels which have an obvious horror focus)? In my opinion it is because Thief teaches you to love darkness while also having probably the most disturbing lighting design in existence, the game teaches you to be deathly afraid of noise and makes sure that the sparse ambient music and various sound effects are as eerie as possible and all of the levels are designed in such a way that the enemies always appear in an unsettling context. However, sneaking past enemies in Thief is no more difficult than it is in Splinter Cell, and there are many Thief fan maps (and some original missions) that prove that it isn't only the "engine" that gives it that extra creepiness.

Both of these games have better patrol route design than SOMA, which admittedly was not excellent. Still, I don't think that means it magically loses its effectiveness because everything else is so extraordinarily well done. The lighting is great - even if you dare to look at Akers for more than a second or two it is unlikely you will ever be able to make out much more than the general contours of his character model. The sound is also of course among the best in any game ever, but in my opinion the real horror comes from the level and task design, which gives the monsters context. Akers was easy enough to avoid on a mechanical level, but the fact that he teleported around and you didn't really trust any location apart from the security station to feel safe and just the dread of knowing you have to go to certain places and do certain things with him stalking around made the sequence particularly effective.

I don't know - in SOMA it never reached the point where I felt that the monsters were disconnected from the game world in an inorganic way, and even when I understood their patrol routes it didn't necessarily make them less scary. In fact, it probably made certain sections more tense because it became about timing your movements. Just my two cents.
10-07-2015, 12:04 AM
PathOS Offline

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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

Agreed. A large portion of the "Horror" experience is subjective based on the personal mental faculties of the individual. This is why it is so hard to get a consensus across a large consumer base as everyone has their own tolerances and ideas of "what is scary to me".

Believe me I was terrified of Akers for most of the time I was in that section, and it was that fear that kept me locked in that office for quite a while. It was just that I suffered a loss of immersion after a certain amount of time had passed and having seen him close up. For some reason viewing him from within the security office didn't affect my vision.

I definitely like the "Dont look at it" mechanic, because personally Horror is more effective when it is nebulous and not given a discernible form. So I do think that should be used more often.
10-07-2015, 12:16 AM
Chrisrluch Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

I liked the variety of the monsters as well as the fact that they weren't repeated from area to area. I thought the "buildup" to each monster was the scariest part. Once the monster made its appearance and began wandering around, it became more annoying than scary. The annoyance stemmed, in my opinion, from a certain amount of predictability in the monster's actions. Additionally, there were situations where it seemed that the game would just teleport a monster to my location if I got far enough away from it.
10-07-2015, 12:42 AM
Sarchiapon Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

Well, as a lot of other users already said, Akers running after you as soon as you broke the window to Brandon's body was incredibly brilliant and scary. It's really a pity that the level ends up with him spawning over and over after every two steps, forcing you to backtrack, hiding, waiting, and then repeat. Also it was really unfair to allow the player to trap him into the medical lab...and then let him return as soon as you walk one or two rooms away from it. All in all, Aker is a very good encounter that become REALLY annoying the more time you have to wait to get past him. Same thing with the other proxies in the following section. They add near to nothing to the game, and it's puzzling to see that they are so dumb when compared to Akers.

The metal brain girl was cool, but after one or two fruitless tries to get her attention and "catch" her AI, i just get bored, took the battery and immediatly run for the exit. I can't even remember if something happened or not at all. Same for the final chase. I was totally expecting it so that, as soon as i was heading back to Catherine, i just start running without even wait for the music to warn him about the danger. Again, i don't even saw what was after me.

The Disco Guy is incredibly scary and cool when you suddenly meet him during the ocean swin, but when you land on the ship and you find those rooms filled with them, things begin to get confusing. I get into a room, i saw one, and i immediatly glance elsewhere while backtracking a little. Then i try again, but the monster is still there. What to do? I try not step backwards but only to glance aside, but i'm knocked out almost immediatly. I ends up dying once or twice before just sprinting the hell away from them through those rooms, looking at them or not, which was a little letdown.

The most brilliant encounter is the guy in the space suit, mostly because it's the only enemy that you have to approach in a very fast and active way, because hiding or running is utterly useless against him (and it's terrify to run, hide, and just hear him charging straight for your spot). Again, however, the scene is somehow ruined by the fact that, the moment you realize that you just have to climb a ladder to escape, you can get past him once and then just open the red door and wait. Even if he comes again and knock you out, by that time the door is open and you can just get up and walk away. That was a pity. I would have liked more time for that sucker Big Grin.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2015, 01:46 AM by Sarchiapon.)
10-07-2015, 01:33 AM
Omnitool Offline

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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

Very scary, but also a bit annoying.

SOMA is brilliant, definately a 9.9/10 and GOTY 2015! It is great and innovative in every single way and a complete, extraordinary gaming experience.
The monsters design is awesome, they are genuinely scary in their appearance and the sounds they make, each one has a backstory and a distinctive appearance and behaviour. It's just the AI implementation that spoils them, the only problem is that at some point in the game they become annoying by not allowing you to properly explore an area abundant in lore items.
I am just trying to point out how the game can be made even better from an objective (gameplay / beta tester) point of view.

I've wrote my thoughts on that matter here: https://www.frictionalgames.com/forum/th...age-2.html
Quote:I also found the inability to trap / temporary incapacitate monsters super annoying at some given times. The proxy when fixing the elevator and the Tau monster were such examples.
The other monsters were super OK, you either had to avoid them while there were no important plot items (text / audio logs / computer terminals) around or they spawned after you got to properly investigate the area (the bulky ostrich like Smile walking robot, the crazed helper robots in the ocean, the disco - ball, the proxy in the server room).

But the proxy in the elevator level and the Tau monster were actually more annoying then scary, they just kept getting in my way as I wanted to carefully investigate the beautifully crafted levels, to find each and every hidden plot item there was to find.
This itself would have not been such a nuisance if their AI would have reacted normally, but they were actually cheating! They could hear you from a distance of 2 kilometres away, they could see through walls and in complete darkness, and worst of all they would always seem to teleport within a 5 meter radius of the player, as if Simon had a GPS implant and they had the detector! It would have been a thousand times more immersive and scary if they actually hunted you all over the level (like in Penumbra Black Plague) instead of just teleporting behind you over and over. Is is like the enemy is playing the game with a trainer or cheat console, using noclip, wall, aim, 5x running speed, nightvision goggles, an eavesdropping station and a Simon radar! That is cheesy / hilarious, not scary.

The problem could be fixed easily with a patch that aplies just one the following solutions:
1. Fix the AI, make it act in a normal manner, not by cheating (the AI from Penumbra Black Plague could be ported if possible).
2. Allow the player to trap a monster into a room, by luring it inside (only in the areas where the monsters do not allow you to properly investigate the area). Simon could trap the proxy at the elevator repair level into the med room, and close the big pressurised door behind him at Tau to trap Yoshida into that part of the base.
3. Allow the player to keep the stun gun, but only find power cells for it two or three times in the entire game, in the areas where the monsters do not allow you to properly investigate the area for plot items. This could work in one of these two ways:
A. Zapping an enemy disables it for about 1 minute or less.
B. An enemy must be zapped three times in order to permanently disable it. However, the player must stalk it (the hunter becomes the hunted), then zap it, and it will become angry and chase the player, who must run and hide away from it, then come out of hiding and stalk it and zap it again two more times. The monster could also be a bit weakened after being zapped each time.
This would be very interesting and would only occur two times in the entire game (at the elevator level and at Tau).

Think of the adrenaline rush you would get when attempting to lock a monster in a room...what if it gets out before you lock it from the security terminal! Or when you disable it temporary...what if he comes back to life when you expect it least...alternating the moments of tension with relative safetiness is way more scary then just running and hiding around like Newt in the Aliens movie all the time.

The Developers or even the gaming comunnity could easily make a patch to fix this problem...no need to redesign the game or anything like that... Just tweak the AI or a few doors...
But if they don't, we still have a gaming masterpiece just the way it is! Its brilliant plot and beautiful envirnoments and superb settings make us ignore any flaws!

The whole hide-and-seek approach could be greatly enhaced by makeing it a more interactive experience.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2015, 04:06 PM by Omnitool.)
10-07-2015, 03:26 PM
molivier Offline
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RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

As many have suggested, variation in the encounter mechanics would go a long way toward improving the hide and seek moments.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2015, 09:21 PM by molivier.)
10-07-2015, 09:06 PM
lightbug Offline
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Wink  RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters

"Very scary, but also a bit annoying"

first of all, IMO the scariest monster was the "the sound". I remember seeing a monster, but it doesn't matter how creepy it was (over time you get used).

the monster that I enjoyed the most in soma was Akers and DiscoHead, why?

- akers actually has an "alien" type of patrol (other creatures too). I mean, he moves around and appears wherever you are, it's not like a traditional horror AI. In alien isolation that was a key feature of AI and makes the game more fun (i mean more scary of course). The part with the keycard and the elevator was a great moment in the game

- disco Ball, the mechanic "don't look" is brilliant, i remember staying at a corner of a room of the ship, totally freezed, while the monster was teletransporting from one place to another, being careful to look over my shoulder.

another moment totally scary: all theta part, specially when you go back to the scanner and the door that was previously closed it's now open. That was scary! and with no need of monsters!

the last monster in tau was really annoying and maybe unnecessary Sleepy

maybe an invisible monster for the new game Big Grin

beyond this poll , Soma is incredible, and almost has no loading screens, yeeahh!Big Grin
10-07-2015, 09:14 PM

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