What if you could talk to the monsters? The Wuss Mode: Monsters Won’t Attack mod for SOMA [official site] doesn’t quite allow you to hold conversations with the denizens of Frictional’s latest creation but it does prevent them from chasing you around the place until you die. I’m excited to try this because it might just improve the game significantly, simply by focusing on the fact that fear does not need to be followed by violence and death. Vague spoilers ahead for those who haven’t played.
If you haven’t played SOMA, this might seem like a sort of Easy Mode but I reckon there might be more to it than that. SOMA felt like a fascinating sci-fi adventure with occasional interruptions from a different, lesser horror game. The sci-fi core was creepier without the detours into habitual hide-and-seek horror, and the game’s various ‘enemies’ felt as if they were pursuing and attacking me because that was expected of them due to the genre of game they’d landed in. I wasn’t convinced by their motivation.
The text from the creator of the mod, The Dreamer, explains the shift in atmosphere well:
“…the servants of the WAU quietly patrolling the abandoned halls of Pathos-2 have a chilling poignance to them. Puppets slowly stalk you through hallways instead of madly dashing for you, as if they are confused by your presence and don’t know what to do with an intruder that shares their flesh and blood. Constructs beg you for structure gel, and angrily chastise you for not sharing, but they cannot take it from you, and as you walk by them, a cold chill overtakes you as you realize they will slowly starve in the inky black depths. Playing it is an incredibly surreal experience, and while I personally prefer the vanilla gameplay, I think for those with weaker countenances, this is certainly a worthwhile way to play.”
You can see the mod in action below. The video shows every encounter, as experienced in Wuss Mode.
The scariest and most effective moments in the game all took place when there were no monsters around. If anything, I imagine this might make the creatures of the deep even creepier, ensuring they don’t become stubborn forced respawn points. And, yes, my headline contains a slight untruth – some sea creatures are still hostile but they can’t actually cause any damage to you when the mod is in place.
Installation instructions are on the Workshop page, as is a download link for non-Steam players.