Summer Games Fest 2022 was fantastic for galactic horror fans. Not only was the awesome Dead Space remake right around the corner, but The Callisto Protocol also had people hanging on to director, Glen Schofield’s every word that the game would be a glorious return to form. Even though the latter was met with a mixed reception, one title called Fort Solis was announced at the festival and came at the perfect time, casually riding that space horror hype of 2022.
Somehow, this small team of developers had managed to rope in several prestigious voice actors and put together amazing AAA graphics that look even better than a lot of current big-budget games today. However, does it compare to its budding rivals? Or is it more of a classic ‘style over substance’ case? Let’s find out.
Well?… We’re Waiting!
In case you wondering who the developers managed to pull in, you might be familiar with the names Troy Baker, Roger Clark and Julia Brown. You know, only some of the most respected actors in the business. No biggie. And as you’d expect, they absolutely crushed it in their roles with some consistently solid banter and Oscar-worthy performances that truly sell these characters as genuine human beings. Every breath and slight movement of the face in and out of cutscenes is captured as well, making it almost seem like you’re controlling real people in a Black Mirror episode.
Although, since Fort Solis is so focused on immersing the player with its stellar graphics and sci-fi presentation, it often forgets to build up enough tension for any of the scares to actually land. Plus, the exploring-an-abandoned-station storyline is so cliche and predictable that any sense of mystery is washed away quicker than you can say Jack Rob—that fast. The game’s 4-hour length is also blatantly padded out, being predominately spent staring at video logs, inspecting objects and strolling around a desolate outpost… slowly. Because running around is banned on Mars, apparently.
The sparse QTE elements won’t pressure players much either. Most of them can be failed without any repercussions or branching pathways and often feel like mindless busy work. The mid-section of Fort Solis has a character moving on a machine through a tunnel while constantly jumping on and off to manually lever open a door three times in a row. Who thought this would be entertaining? Seriously? In a similar same vein, the general puzzles of the game are a tad too basic as well. One part has you sequentially pressing buttons in an overly drawn-out manner, while another shoves the answer to a code puzzle directly into your face. And here I thought games were supposed to be fun…
Yep, Still Waiting…
If there’s one thing that the game gets right, it’d have to be the design of Fort Solis and its surroundings. Trudging through the abandoned outpost feels very futuristic, yet very eerie and unsafe, as if many dangers could be lurking around each corner. Although, like the rest of the experience, nothing of any real significance happens for the majority of the game. This makes walking from one side of the facility to the other feel like a chore, rather than emitting that cling-to-your-seat dread which Dead Space delivers in droves.
Just like The Callisto Protocol that came before it, Fort Solis does suffer from the occasional frame lock-up for several seconds on PC, though definitely not to the same extent. I was mostly sitting around 55-60FPS on Ultra settings with NVIDIA DLSS on Performance and had a relatively smooth time throughout., even though there was some visual In all honesty, it can’t be overstated how stunning the Unreal Engine 5 visuals and life-like animations are for this indie project. I just wish the same amount of quality and care was put into the rest of the experience.
Believe it or not, I’d much rather play The Callisto Protocol than Fort Solis. At least that game has something tangible to engage with. Fort Solis is only 4 hours long but still feels unnecessarily padded with protracted walking sections, the constant observation of objects and puzzles/QTEs that barely add anything to the overall package. What’s left is a glorified walking simulator that’s lite on scares, story and satisfying gameplay. Almost everything that makes this medium enjoyable.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
Fort Solis is a major disappointment, missing almost all of the aspects that make for an enjoyable horror/thriller experience. Whether that be a lack of tension, an in-depth gameplay system or a worthwhile story to latch onto, Fort Solis is clearly content on letting players casually saunter around… hopefully looking for a better game.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Plan of Attack. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.