Soma launches Safe Mode with friendlier monsters
Certainly still horror
Being terrified in the sea is undignified. In space, no one can hear you scream but in the sea, everyone can feel you wee yourself. Thankfully Soma now has a 'Safe Mode' for people who want to be deeply unsettled in the 2015 undersea technohell from the makers of Amnesia but not full-on terrified from being chased by monsters. The dreadful monsters are still in the explore-o-horror game, mind, but they won't murder you to bits. Their presence will still be awful. As someone who hasn't finished Soma because they're a giant baby, I appreciate this.
The official Safe Mode is similar to Wuss Mode, a fan-made mod which stops monsters from attacking, but it goes a little further. Frictional explain:
"The important thing to point out is that we don't simply turn off the creature's ability to attack and harm you. Instead, we've redesigned their behavior. Our goal has been for Safe Mode to not feel like a cheat, but for it to be a genuine way of experiencing the game. So we've considered what each creature should be doing, given their appearance, sound, and voice."
None of these creatures looks, sounds, or speaks like it wants to make me a cup of tea. I am sure they will still be dreadful, as they should be.
Soma is still very much a horror game without the risk of death, still a frightful and unnerving place. I'm glad this will let me explore a little more boldly.
Frictional say they "actually considered releasing something similar at launch, but chose not to because we felt it would make the core intent of the game too unfocused." They saw the Wuss Mode mod prove people could still have the bejesus scared out of them without violence, but "going back to a game you have already completed is not tempting so we put it off." Making an Xbox One version of Soma gave them a reason to return, and now that's out today they're spreading the mode around.
Soma's Safe Mode update is now live on Steam and GOG. If this safety makes you interested in playing, hey, check out Adam's Soma review.