SOMA (XB1) Review

Still a classic in sci-fi horror.

I started playing Soma for review on the Xbox One recently. It’s been over two years since the game first released on PC and PS4. That’s a decent time between versions, so much in fact that I forgot I had even reviewed it for the site originally, whoops. So I’ll make this brief. If any Xbox One players never got to experience this sci-fi horror game, now is the time.

Soma don’t ya know

Soma is a first person exploration horror title. The type that has players running, hiding and exploring as they endure countless horrors a game dev throws at them, and in this regard Soma is no different. Years later, I find the game still extremely unsettling in the themes at play and overall story tone versus many other games in the same genre. There is a lot to talk about, especially after finishing the game, but this is one that will have people discussing life, death, and consciousness. I know it might not make sense for those having not played it, but believe me, by the end it will.

MSRP: $29.99
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Multiplayer: n/a
How long to beat: 7 to 10 hours

The game still knows how to use sound masterfully along with its sci-fi visuals. I won’t mention much more of the plot or what transpires as this is critical in the experience. Where most games will save their twist or final revelation for an ending, Soma breaks the mold by subverting expectations with this early on. This allows people to stop trying to guess some overall twist and embrace the themes and ideas at play. It’s honestly one of my favorite sci-fi horror experiences and stories, ending with a punctual punch to the gut at the end of the story. This game left me thinking about life at the end of my first time playing it, and with the revisit here, has me thinking about it even more.

Xbox One version

As far as the Xbox One port is concerned, it runs rather well with an odd framerate stutter or pause at times, but honestly it still looks great today and the atmosphere is still just as interesting, dark, and twisted as I remember. The biggest change to this version is the included “Safe mode” which renders the monsters in the game harmless. They still appear and still can terrify players but they won’t end up doing any damage. This can be a make or break feature for some players, and the frustration of dying can prove too much for those just wanting to experience the story. Now players have the best of both options for their preference, though I never really thought the game was tough in general so I recommend trying it as the devs originally intended first.

So as it stands, Soma is still as enthralling for me as I remember, even two years later. It’s burned its story and themes into my brain, ironically enough, and while I forgot little bits here and there, I was shocked at just how much the game has stayed with me all this time later. I could go on and more in depth but our other review has readers covered. Like re-opening and reading a great book, or re-watching a fantastic movie, Soma retains its strong story driven focus and themes it transpired through videogame format and I still have just as much admiration for it as I did on release, and it still gets the same score it originally earned.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Atmosphere
  • Story
  • Sound design
  • Safe mode
  • Enemy frustration
  • Getting lost
Written by
Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.