Sons of the Forest

edited August 2023 in Gaming

Sons of the Forest was released in early access format on Steam on 23 February, 2023, and quickly became one of the most popular survivor horror titles after selling more than two million copies within 24 hours. This long-awaited sequel to The Forest introduces a much bigger map, more complex mechanics, and an AI companion system, and brings the survival horror genre to a whole new level.

The Forest 2

Sons of the Forest (The Forest 2), is the sequel to The Forest, which was first released in 2014. Both games are the creation of publisher Endnight Games. The Forest was a brilliant survival game that blended survival and horror into one terrifying, tense experience. Like so many survival games, The Forest started you off with nothing. You got an axe early on, and from there your journey was whatever you could make of it.

The basic premise of The Forest was that you and your son, Timmy, survived a plane crash and were abandoned in the middle of nowhere, having to fend for yourselves in the wilderness. To make things worse, Timmy was taken away by a pack of hungry cannibals in the first scene. The Forest broke the traditional mold when it came to gameplay in that death was expected and necessary to keep you continually learning and plotting your next play-through. As soon as you became used to surviving, the game continued to surprise you. The Forest was one of the big success stories in the post-Minecraft open-world survival boom, and its successor is a welcome addition to the genre.

Sons of the Forest trailer and storyline

Set several years after The Forest, Sons of the Forest challenges you to survive and uncover new mysteries on a lush, temperate island reminiscent of the American Pacific Northwest. Because the game is in early access, it still has some gaps to fill. For example, a lot of the cool stuff is around the starting zone, and the further east you go, the noticeably emptier the map becomes. That said, what is currently available is definitely solid, and the developers seem to have a consistent upgrade schedule in mind. Although the Sons of the Forest release date was originally May 2022, the launch was delayed several times. Currently, the game is expected to remain in early access for approximately eight months.

The story begins with you heading to a remote island in an attempt to find a missing billionaire who had started a mining operation on the island. The intro shows your plane crash landing on the island, and from that point onwards, you must survive and fulfill your mission. In many ways, this familiar storyline, paired with the familiarity of the environment, makes Sons of the Forest feel less like a sequel and more like an upgraded version of the original game. The basics are the same: survive cannibal attacks, explore the island, and fight mutants in spooky cave dwellings. It combines the challenge of survival with an environment designed to horrify you, and it ramps up the chill factor more than most survival horror games.

As an open-world game, Sons of the Forest is not linear, and part of the fun is working out what to do next. Everything is a survival resource, and you must take care to conserve the tools and items you need to survive. For example, ammo, which is extremely useful, is in very limited supply. The game has a riveting story that you can easily miss if you are not paying enough attention. There is a lot going on in this world, and it is up to you to find it (or not).

Sons of the Forest gameplay

Alone or with friends, you will be left to explore, craft, survive, and hunt in order to stay alive and fend off cannibalistic threats to your life. Sons of the Forest leaves your journey up to you to tackle as you see fit. You will be fighting to fend off the many Sons of the Forest mutants and fighting back against mother nature, as all four seasons are represented in Sons of the Forest

The map is about four times the size of its predecessor’s map. The amount and variety of vegetation adds fullness and richness to the landscape. Some of the vegetation can be used as a food source or to make medicines, so you will want to collect as much as you can and store it safely at your base.

Further adding to the believability and hostility of the environment, Sons of the Forest has a full set of seasons. In fall, you can see orange leaves on some of the trees, and summer brings more sunny daylight hours compared to winter. In winter, food is scarce. For example, salmon becomes impossible to procure due to the water sources freezing up, and most of the edible vegetation is killed off. For this reason, in winter, enemies become more desperate for food and you will notice they are more aggressive. During winter and fall, your mobility will become more limited and you will need to keep warm, otherwise the cold will drain your stamina. Warm clothes and fire help with this, so make sure you keep your winter jacket handy. 

Sons of the Forest mechanics

The guidebook is your gateway to the game’s building mechanic. Using the building mechanic, you can craft fires, build shelters, and construct anything you need to live in your new world. Regarding the way The Forest uses resources, your survival is tuned to make you always feel on the brink of despair. You always have just enough food, water, and anything else you need to get by, and you eventually stabilize at a point where you are uncomfortable but alive.

The innovative AI system in Sons of the Forest has a strong impact on the game’s overall experience. The system allows for some really interesting and creepy encounters with enemies. Also, solo players can have a helpful AI companion. Both AI enemies and companions behave in a highly sophisticated manner, making decisions and pursuing actions according to their individual experiences and objectives.

NPCs can experience simple survival states like thirst and hunger. They can also get bored, angry, and afraid. The way their emotions affect their behavior is highly realistic. The AI system allows for better coordinated attacks from hostile mutants, in addition to sneakier tactics like stealing and using ziplines to gain access to a player’s base.

The AI companion system is a new introduction to the franchise. Solo players can ally with a deceptive mutant named Virginia or buddy up with a human named Kelvin. Kelvin can be given simple instructions, and he silently completes tasks, such as building your base, while you are exploring the vast world. More AI companions besides these two characters are planned for the final release.

The unique inventory system is designed to emulate a real backpack. The way the game strays from typical inventory systems used in other games adds to the immersion factor, but you have to be mindful of where you place items in your virtual backpack in order not to waste time trying to locate them later. You will want to take advantage of the shortcut system, which allows you to access four items quickly without having to shuffle about in your inventory.

The game offers a multiplayer mode in which a maximum of eight players can join a server at any one time. The maximum does not include the AI companions. Tackling the game’s challenges solo is an option, but Sons of the Forest is a lot more manageable with a whole team of people working together to gather resources, build defenses, and hold back the mutants and cannibals.


The scenery in Sons of the Forest is gorgeous. The lighting is incredible; experience the ambiance turn suddenly as clouds block out the sun on what was previously a clear, sunny day. The developers have done a fantastic job creating a realistic-seeming world to rival those of AAA studios. The ferns and shrubbery appear to have texture, and the snowy night visuals have the effect of making your physical environment feel cold. Mix in some burly cannibals and sinister background screaming from deranged humanoid creatures, and that beautifully-designed backdrop becomes a hellscape designed to exploit your worst nightmares 

Sons of the Forest takes everything its predecessor did well and does it a little bit better. Exploring this huge and beautiful yet deadly island through the changing seasons is a treat on its own, and all it needs now is some healthy performance optimizations to bring it out of early access. The game brings the survival horror genre to a gorgeous new world, and is definitely worth a play.

To play more exciting games, check out the Xbox Game Pass and see why the Xbox Game Pass is Acer’s official sponsor. 

Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.


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