In these last few years, one gaming genre that has made a valiant and triumphant return is that of First Person thriller/horror games. The genre usually revolves around you playing a protagonist who is being put in a drastic, most times dire, situation and your only options are to run, hide or forage for survival. You read that right… You CANNOT attack! Developers CBE Software (most famous for their J.U.L.I.A. series) have returned after a 6 year absence to drop this brilliant new game, ‘Someday You’ll Return’.
You play as Daniel, a father who is in search of his missing daughter, Stela. Her GPS tracking (via your in-game phone) has led you to Moravia, a forest region in East-Czech Republic, to which you’ve promised yourself ‘never to return’ to. Upon your return to the forest, you’ll discover that everything in this forest is not what it appears. Something, somewhere is following you. Clues are being left, but from who? Your daughter tries to call, but the reception cuts out. Strangers appear, knowing all about you, your daughter and your journey. When asked how they know, they simply respond with ‘the forest told me’, definitely an eerie tagline at best.
Most of the ‘Someday You’ll Return’ takes place inside the forest. Your only way of navigating the dense lush environment is via the Blue, Red and Yellow marked lines on selected trees (these are also mapped via line paywaths on Daniel’s phone GPS). The game does a remarkable job at making you feel helpless, should you decide to venture off and get lost in the process. I can safely admit that I wandered around aimlessly for what felt like hours before finding my way back to the yellow lined pathway. Not ashamed in admitting that, it’s probably the only time in recent memory that I felt so overjoyed to see a yellow line in front of me.
But let’s not get it twisted, there’s a ton of things to search for and find off in the wilderness. Perhaps you stumble across a clue, a book, an item or some sort of side-quest upon your venture. The game simply adds it to your collection, and the story will continue. You can climb up certain rock formations using their grips, this sometimes leads to a new way to progress or enriches the mystery to be solved. It actually pays to get lost in this game, for there is a chance you could complete the game and not know (or find out) the entire story.
But how does one survive? Surely it can’t just be GPS and that’s it? Correct you are! During his travels, Daniel stumbles across ‘his old tools’ that he’d left on site many years prior. Certain moments will happen in-game that will require you to use the tools in order to proceed. These range from combining items together to removing nails from an old board or even fixing a ladder. The beauty of this game is that when these moments occur, it presents it in such a way that it feels extremely natural. Many games will abruptly stop the games progress, forcing you to undertake a certain task or activity in order to progress further. This game does a wonderful job of presenting these moments naturally and effortlessly, almost instinctively rather than forced.
Other interactive skill based moments occur in the form of herb collections. Why would a man, who is searching for his lost daughter, have time to collect herbs and flowers?! Fear not, as each recipe you discover (or, in some cases, are given) boost the overall game experience. There is one option that allows you to listen to certain memories, which appear as vibrational bubbles or strange wind patterns in certain spots. Using the potion and uncovering these memories adds such a huge range of both backstory and depth to your travels.
Being of the horror genre, there is indeed the element of sneaking and avoiding combat as much as possible. Considering you can’t fight back anyway, it’s probably best not to go out of your way to initiate any in-game fights.
GRAPHICS + SOUND
The development team has made a beautiful game, full of immersive devil in the details graphics. From the sunlight reflect, fog, water and the special effects. The wind mechanics, building decay, forest density and layout are all aso impressive too; definitely a sight to see. All of it is such a wonder to play through, all boosted by the fact that it’s all built inside the Unreal Engine 4.
The sound levels were a bit up and down for me though. Some scenes were forcing me to turn the audio up, however, after I’d done so, the next scene was incredibly loud. This doesn’t happen all too often, but you really feel a bit removed from the storyline/ game when it does take place.
If you’re a fan of the FPS horror/thriller games, then do yourself a huge favor and dive right in to Someday You’ll Return today as it is a thoroughly enjoyable and haunting journey of discovery.
- Deep story
- Beautiful graphics
- Easy to play mechanics
- Sound levels sometimes bounce
- Voice acting in some scenes feels dull