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Least favorite part (spoilers)
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cantremember Offline
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Post: #1
Least favorite part (spoilers)

Hello there. Doing something opposite than the regular favorite part/monster...
What is your least favorite part in SOMA and why?

Mine is probably Phi. Every other station felt ominous before entering them and each had a distinct atmosphere.
But you enter Phi kind of in a rush and once inside it looks kind of plain and didn't have an interesting ambience to me. It's not affected as much by WAU, the healing flowers don't cause a section to blackout like before, there aren't really many notable story elements going on besides the body which only provided an extra line of dialogue. Also no monster or making you feel any dread of one.
Before getting there you think Phi will be another station like the others, but it's just some corridors and a matter of walking around to the space gun and I felt it was kind of a waste of opportunity, the game kind of stops right after the big worm in a way.
08-09-2017 12:04 PM
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Abion47 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Least favorite part (spoilers)

I'd disagree about Phi. At that point, the game is over, and the only thing left to do is launch the ARK. Sure, they could've made this a frantic sequence where you are racing against the increasingly growing WAU army as they charge down your doors, but I feel like that would undermine a lot of the tone that the game has been striving toward. Instead, Phi is meant as a place where Simon can finally have some peace of mind as he accomplishes his mission, gets on board the ARK, and launches into space, leaving the hell hole that is Pathos-II behind. It also serves as a nice point of stark contrast for the moment when Simon realizes that he isn't actually getting onto the ARK, that he is, in fact, trapped on Earth. It's one of a lot of factors that go into making that ending have the punch that it has.

To answer your question, though, my least favorite part of the game is the post-elevator tunnels of Theta. It's a dark maze where you have to follow the same formula over and over again - hide in the dark, find the way forward, hide from the proxies, solve a puzzle that involves making a lot of noise. It felt like the laziest part of the entire game, made even more tedious by it being the third time in a row you've had to deal with this kind of monster. It's in this part where you can really see the internal dichotomy that rages throughout SOMA's philosophical design come to a head - the split between whether to make an atmospheric horror (a la Amnesia) or a psychological thriller. These two directions are constantly at odds with each other throughout the game, so much so that when the focus switches from one to the other, the change is abrupt and drastic and it undermines the weight of the moment while you're recovering from the mental whiplash.

08-10-2017 12:42 AM
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Mudbill Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Least favorite part (spoilers)

In regards to the Phi section, I think it would be nice if we were given the choice of launching the ARK or not. I think it would fit well with the slower pace of that part and the psychological discussions between Simon and Catherine to be given some more control of what happens next.

08-10-2017 10:13 PM
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Abion47 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Least favorite part (spoilers)

Could you imagine Catherine's reaction would be to Simon deciding not to launch the ARK?

Now that I think about it, though, that could potentially be a really interesting way to end the game. Simon finds out (or finally puts two and two together) before the launch that he himself wouldn't end up on the ARK and that he's doomed to remain in Pathos-II for the rest of his artificial life. At that point, the player can choose to launch the ARK or not.

If you don't launch the ARK, Simon and Catherine get into a huge fight that ends up with Catherine overloading, possibly after trying to forcibly take over Simon's body and do it herself. Afterward, you have the second chance to launch the ARK, but it's too late. Catherine is gone forever, and you have to live with that guilt.

If you do launch the ARK, Simon and Catherine have one last philosophical discussion which ends in a final choice - return to Tau, climb the barrel, or sit in Phi and pull your battery. Depending on your choice, there are another couple of philosophical lines of dialogue, and the game fades to black.

The after credits scene could also potentially change. It would be pretty much the same if the ARK gets launched, obviously, but if it doesn't get launched, what would it show? An ARK devoid of life? An ARK breaking down? Just a deep black limbo with literally nothing at all? Depending on how the final sequences play out, Simon might not even be there, and instead, you're playing the failing ARK scene through the eyes of the original Catherine, wondering how it all went wrong.

This could potentially be an even more powerful ending than the already powerful ending of SOMA. And now that I've thought about it, I'm a little sad that we don't see those possibilities of choice.

08-13-2017 01:54 AM
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TwoCatsYelling Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Least favorite part (spoilers)

(08-10-2017 12:42 AM)Abion47 Wrote:  I'd disagree about Phi. At that point, the game is over, and the only thing left to do is launch the ARK. Sure, they could've made this a frantic sequence where you are racing against the increasingly growing WAU army as they charge down your doors, but I feel like that would undermine a lot of the tone that the game has been striving toward. Instead, Phi is meant as a place where Simon can finally have some peace of mind as he accomplishes his mission, gets on board the ARK, and launches into space, leaving the hell hole that is Pathos-II behind. It also serves as a nice point of stark contrast for the moment when Simon realizes that he isn't actually getting onto the ARK, that he is, in fact, trapped on Earth. It's one of a lot of factors that go into making that ending have the punch that it has.

Yeah, it was kind of a nice, extended "breath of fresh air" arriving there. Though I kept expecting something to go wrong at any moment, as I progressed, I realized "okay, I think the worst is behind me".

It was a nice contrast, after the darker and deeper hell you'd just gone through to revisit some place that was, largely, unaffected by the WAU and still holding together, well lit, etc.

(08-10-2017 12:42 AM)Abion47 Wrote:  To answer your question, though, my least favorite part of the game is the post-elevator tunnels of Theta. It's a dark maze where you have to follow the same formula over and over again - hide in the dark, find the way forward, hide from the proxies, solve a puzzle that involves making a lot of noise. It felt like the laziest part of the entire game, made even more tedious by it being the third time in a row you've had to deal with this kind of monster. It's in this part where you can really see the internal dichotomy that rages throughout SOMA's philosophical design come to a head - the split between whether to make an atmospheric horror (a la Amnesia) or a psychological thriller. These two directions are constantly at odds with each other throughout the game, so much so that when the focus switches from one to the other, the change is abrupt and drastic and it undermines the weight of the moment while you're recovering from the mental whiplash.

Same here. The post elevator bit made Theta overall seem to drag on too long. It also felt the least, hmm.. "coherent"?... to me. I honestly did not know what I was supposed to be doing and found myself going in circles for a while, just avoiding that frankly annoyingly ever-present enemy that was everywhere. Rather than feeling moments of "a ha!", the post-elevator bit felt more like accidentally stumbling my way through it. The area toward the end was fun, though, reminded me of some of the deeper areas of Portal 2.

I finally got to the point of using the 'wuss mode' mod just to get past it uninterrupted, because I was starting to feel frustrated at how long this section of the game had been dragging out; knowing me, when frustration firmly sets in, I lose interest in continuing at all. I feel like they could have greatly shortened that bit, especially with how long the combined previous segments were. Maybe one final encounter with it, a la Curie and Omicron, and then move on. I generally don't like using 'cheats', as I like to experience a game as the devs intended... but Theta brought me dangerously close to saying "forget it... this isn't fun anymore", which would have been a shame, because SOMA is an incredible game. So, 'wuss mode' basically "saved" the game for me in this case.
(This post was last modified: 09-17-2017 01:26 PM by TwoCatsYelling.)
09-17-2017 01:22 PM
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