Sons Of The Forest 1.0 Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]

A sequel to ‘The Forest,’ released back in 2018 as Early Access to avoid further delays, ‘Sons of the Forest‘ is another survival, mystery, and open-world title developed by Endnight Games, and it has just got a major update, ‘1.0‘.

There have been several open-world survival games released over the last decade or so. Many of them have shown merit in their unique ways, albeit with occasional flaws. However, it’s the games that offer a surprising and intriguing narrative woven into the gameplay that fans of the open-world survival genre truly yearn for.

The Forest franchise is more than meets the eye. While it presents itself primarily as an open-world survival game, there’s depth hidden beneath the surface that makes it a topic worthy of discussion. The game is a blend of well-crafted story, gameplay mechanics, and graphics—three crucial elements essential for any game aiming to captivate a broad audience of gamers.

When attempting to compare this game, or rather the franchise, one title that comes to mind is Days Gone. It’s not claimed that they’re entirely similar, but they share core aspects such as an intriguing backstory, survival mechanics, and environmental effects. Days Gone, developed by Bend Studio, features creatures known as Freakers that bear resemblance to the scientifically altered humanoids encountered in the caverns and caves of Sons of the Forest. Additionally, the human tribe referred to as the ‘Cannibals‘ in Sons of the Forest shares similarities with factions like the Anarchists or the Rippers in Days Gone.

Its calm and serene visuals up front serve as a blindfold to the much darker depths and underbelly that will grip the attention and take gamers on a journey to unimaginable revelations.

Enough of the introduction; let’s delve into the changes they have made with the update 1.0.

The article will discuss and critically analyze the aspects of the game that have significant effects on gameplay.

Opening Sequence

One of the first visuals players will notice is the opening sequence or cutscene of the game. This marks a significant update, as the creators have essentially replaced the previous cutscene/sequence with a vastly different version to start the game.

In the previous Early Access version, the protagonist Jack Holt and the team’s rescue chopper are fired upon by the island’s residents, presumably affiliated with one of the foes in the game, Jianyu Zhang. The team ends up at a beach area of the island with a different animation. One of the rescue team members falls into the water, and Kelvin (more on him later) is found lying semi-unconscious a few feet away from Jack.

However, in the 1.0 version, it has been completely scrapped and replaced with two entirely new cutscenes and sequences.

The first one plays out in a similar fashion where the chopper gets attacked by Jianyu’s men from the island. The chopper comes spiralling down onto a snowy patch, a bit far away from the real action on the island.

Sons Of The Forest

However, the second opening cutscene begins with the same premise of the rescue/investigation team getting attacked, and the chopper losing control. However, instead of crashing onto the beach or in the snow, the chopper ends up in the forest which is very close to the dangers of the game. Similar to the previous version, they lose one member of the team, but Kelvin also survives in this version. The animation depicting Jack falling from the air and landing on the ground is different.

Sons Of The Forest

The verdict from the reviewer writing the article is that while the new cutscene/sequence represents a major revamp of the game, perhaps it was not entirely necessary. Although there must have been reasons for the developers to change or revamp the opening sequence, the old one may have been preferable. The landing spot in the previous version, which was the beach, seemed like a perfect starting point for players to acclimate to the vast open space before delving deeper into the island’s action. Throwing players who are relatively new to the game right into the thick of the action might not be the most suitable approach.

Ending Sequence

Similar to the opening sequence update, the developers have also revamped the ending sequence, cutscene, and even the ending itself.

In the previous version, the ending was not very polished; it was quite bare-bones. However, in this update, the ending features more animations, additional voice acting and sounds, and overall more content.

Sons Of The Forest

Notably, when Jack enters the cave with Eric LeBlanc, which leads to the golden cube revealing a city or perhaps a world in what seems to be a different dimension. In the previous version, there were basic animations. However, in the update, the entire sequence has been significantly enhanced with more intense music, new dialogues by Eric, and different visuals of the alternate dimension shown through the cube. These visuals include ghost-like beings emerging from the dimension and circling around Eric and Jack.

Sons Of The Forest

As a final note, similar to the previous version, the game offers players three different endings. However, this time, the creators have added a plethora of other content.

Sons Of The Forest


Before delving into the differences, it’s important to discuss how the final moments of the game unfold. After the cube sequence, the game abruptly transports players to the beach area where two choppers can be seen approaching Eric, Jack, Virginia (optional), and Kelvin. A fight ensues between a deformed version of Jianyu and the players. It’s not explained how Eric’s father managed to arrange for two choppers to rescue them all from the island.

The sudden appearance of the Cannibals amidst all the commotion as they attempt to flee in the choppers is a new addition. However, no explanation is provided regarding how or why they are suddenly attacked by the Cannibals; it simply occurs.

Sons Of The Forest

Additionally, the choppers are now CIA choppers, whereas, in the previous version, they were a couple of black choppers presumed to be somehow affiliated with the LeBlancs. However, they are now explicitly identified as CIA choppers. The involvement of the CIA in all of this is also left unexplained.

The choppers get swarmed by all the cannibals, who try their best to bring them down until the last one of them is left. However, they ultimately fail in their attempt.

Ending Scenario 1

Similar to the previous version, in this ending, the player boards the chopper with the LeBlancs, Kelvin, and Virginia. This triggers the post-ending cutscenes, revealing the fates of each of the remaining companions of the protagonist. The article will discuss the post-end cutscenes shortly, but first, let’s explore the other endings.

Ending Scenario 2

Similarly, the second ending scenario remains unchanged, wherein the player decides not to go with all of them on the chopper, resulting in the chopper leaving them behind on the island.

The plot of both scenes remains largely unchanged, with only a few added cutscenes and animations as new aspects.

However, two new ending sequences have been added that can only be activated if the player collects all the pieces of the orb artefact scattered around the island and the cave systems. After collecting all of them and piecing them together, Jack suddenly throws the orb towards the swarming cannibals while everyone tries to get on the choppers. The orb will immediately initiate a constant bombardment of lightning as it spins around the cannibals, essentially assisting the heroes in defeating them.

The game will then, as before, give players the choice to either stay on the island after using the orb or to go with the team. If a player decides to stay then they will be rewarded with a new cave.

Post-Ending Cutscenes

The developers have included a variety of post-ending cutscenes dedicated to each companion who safely boards the chopper with the main character.

In all scenarios after the ending, the very first cutscene features Eric LeBlanc.

Sons Of The Forest

In the cutscene, he could be seen speaking with a scientist or doctor, informing them about his deteriorating condition (suggesting he might be transforming into the abomination himself). He then places a Solafite (a golden, glowing substance found inside the caves around the island), which grabs the scientist’s attention.


If the player saves and gets Kelvin safely on the chopper, then following Eric’s cutscene, the game will prompt a cutscene for Kelvin. In this cutscene, Kelvin could be seen inside a care facility’s ward for patients with brain damage or similar conditions. Critics and fans are referring to this scene as a nod to all the memes and fun people online continue to have with the ever-adorable Kelvin!

Kevin could be seen playing with Lego-like building blocks, constructing a box, while Jack sat down with him.


If players end up saving Virginia towards the end, then the cutscene will start with her being carried away on a stretcher, a scene that everyone can understand the significance of.

Sons Of The Forest

And if players save both of them, then right at the very end before the credits roll, a new secret cutscene has been added. This addition is generating a lot of buzz around the game, and people are simply baffled by it.

Sons Of The Forest

In this cutscene, it shows that 5 months have passed. Jack can be seen walking towards the car where Virginia, now with normal legs instead of the mutated ones, is waiting. Upon sitting inside the car, it is revealed that Virginia is pregnant with Jack’s child, and Kelvin is sitting with them in the backseat as they set off on the highway road.

Many fans, critics, and gamers complained about the abruptness of the ending in the previously released version of the game. The story, along with some subplots or revelations, felt random and lacked an explanation for why and how they occurred. The creators attempted to address this issue in various ways, such as having Jianyu’s men swarm around the players from the skies in the chopper from time to time to keep an eye on them. However, the creators failed to realize that the problem lies much deeper within the foundational aspects of the game’s story, which cannot be improved or corrected with patches alone.

One of the glaring confusions towards the end was the sudden appearance of Eric and his father on the island, as well as Eric’s sudden appearance in certain main areas towards the end of the game, among other occurrences.

Many fans found it challenging to come to a conclusion about the quality of the storyline in this game, and even after the update, the confusion persists.

The developers did everything they could to enhance the ambience and quality of the last cutscenes. However, what they missed in the update is the story aspect. The writer of the article believes that fans of the franchise would not have minded the lack of new animations if the creators had focused more on providing a cohesive storyline and plots towards the end.

Now, there’s a dilemma whether to be too harsh on the game for its numerous loopholes and plot holes in the story or to let them slide. Because, at the end of the day, it’s a survival open-world game with a story attached to make the game look and feel more interesting.

If the creators of the game decided to include a story and made efforts to incorporate hints, clues, and cutscenes to give importance to the story aspect of the game, then it has to be judged in the same way as well. If they could make all of these updates, then surely they could have added something to fill those gaps in the story and the plot.

New Sickness Feature In Sons Of The Forest 1.0

The game already had a pretty functional sickness system in terms of weather, sleep, and hunger, but the developers have now added features that could make Jack feel sick if he eats bad food or drinks unclean water.

There are a couple of features like this that show the creators are aiming to make the game feel as realistic as possible, along with all its mythological, scientific, and fictional aspects. Not many games consistently achieve this level of realism when developing open-world survival games. Games like ‘Stranded Deep‘ by Beam Team Games do include similar features, but they do not quite hit the mark like Sons Of The Forest does.

Sons Of The Forest New Foes

Although the game is already filled with hostile foes that cause considerable trouble for players throughout the game and the island, the developers have now added two more of them!

There are three basic types of hostile entities on the island:

  1. Cannibals
  2. Mutants
  3. Hostile Animals

The new additions among the Mutants are Holey and Legsy.

Holey is one big fatty! It has a lot of gaps and holes all around its body, hence the name ‘Holey.’ It is quite slow in movement, but that does not mean it is not dangerous. It can launch itself in the air directly towards players, resulting in heavy damage or, in the worst-case scenario, death. They are found in the caverns and caves, but sometimes they could be seen wandering outside on the island near the caves.

Legsy is exactly what its name suggests—something that is all legs! Instead of a torso, face, or even arms, it just has legs at the top. It could also be called an ‘Upside-down’ mutant because the rest of its limbs are its legs, which help it move faster than other mutants. They can quickly reach players and launch attacks.

Sons Of The Forest

Legsy and Holey are clearly introduced to increase the threat level on the island. Many players and critics were of the opinion that the enemies in the game were too easy compared to those in the previous game. This was most likely the studio’s attempt to add more threat level to the game, but in all fairness, the game is still not that difficult.

The game’s AI saw a significant improvement from the previous instalment, with different enemies and creatures reacting differently to various actions by the players. However, it’s important to remember that it’s still just a game, and the focus is more on survival than on fighting these enemies. Therefore, the game could be given a pass in this aspect as well.

Sons Of The Forest New Locations

Another complaint from fans of the franchise upon the release of the Early Access version was the lack of interesting things to explore on the vast island. While everyone praised the developers for rendering such a vast horizon for players to explore, fans were disappointed to find that apart from a few interesting and important locations, the rest of the island was almost barren with nothing else to do. They felt that there was no point in having such a large piece of land when players could complete a mission in one small portion of the game without feeling the need to travel far.

However, in version 1.0, it appears they have attempted to solve this problem. They have included several new mini-caves and caverns and many other things (to be discussed further).

Additionally, to guide players to areas of interest, the creators have strategically placed injured members of the rescue team in the second chopper that was hit, alongside the chopper carrying Kelvin and the player. The injured and stranded rescue team members alert players with flare gunshots, which are visible from afar.

Some locations and sites with points of interest have been included to give more character and depth to the island itself.

This is a nice and convenient way to direct players’ attention to the new and intriguing locations across the map and assist them in exploring the vast island. However, some critics and players have shown their disapproval of this new approach. They argue that the animation of the dying team members upon players’ arrival is essentially the same every time. Critics and gamers feel that by not giving proper characterization to the dying rescue team members, the creators have missed an opportunity to add more depth to the story. The creators could have used these dying rescue team members to provide more hints and directions to many new aspects of the game.

Since it is a 1.0 update, they believe that the creators may listen to this plea and might end up giving the rescue team members some character and depth. This could help players learn more about them or the things they might tell the players

Sons Of The Forest Island Is More Lively

There were already a lot of animals on the island in the previous version of the game. These animals kept the island alive in their own capacity by appearing at certain, and sometimes random, places around the island. In addition to improving their AI for new behavior, the creators have introduced a new animal into the mix: the Raccoon.

The raccoons are depicted as very friendly in the game and are a nice addition because of their cute and adorable behavior when players interact with them. They, along with the squirrels, can now climb trees as well. It could be deduced that they will be releasing new animals as they continue to make updates for the game. Surely, they would not just add one animal and call it a day like that!

Sons Of The Forest Voice Acting

Voice acting has been significantly improved for this update and the game in general, which was very minimal in the previous version.

The famous actor from The Boys, Shawn Ashmore, has joined the project to voice Eric LeBlanc, who now has more dialogue in the game to further solidify his importance in the franchise.

Sons Of The Forest

Not only that, the antagonist Jianyu Zhang has also received a bunch of new dialogues.

The decision to cast a Hollywood TV star for the role of the character, who likely plays a central role in the story, hints at the creators’ plans for the future. Additionally, there are hints in the game that suggest there might be a third instalment. However, this is currently just speculation.

Glider And More Additions

The game was already filled with many items for players to use to their advantage, and the glider simply provides more freedom for players to move from one place to another easily on the island.

As interesting as it may sound, many fans and critics have expressed concerns about the game’s easy access to high-powered guns and items. This makes the game much easier than it should be, considering the circumstances and the game’s setting.

It is understandable to make it a little easier for the players to move around, which is why the article does not criticize the existence of golf carts, as they align with the story and the situation of the island. The island does have a bunch of golf courses scattered around, as it was intended to be made into a vacation resort by the Pufftons. The Pufftons are the family of the founder of PuffCorp, Edward Puffton, who tragically meets a very grim end, along with his wife.

Golf carts aside, the game did not need a glider or even so many guns. After all, it is a game about surviving on an island, not about fighting a war. This all adds to making the game easier for the gamers and fans of the franchise who appreciated the challenge of the previous game, where they had a very limited amount of weapons to survive across the island with so many threats around.

Perhaps the creators, in their efforts to do more, ended up doing more than enough in the process.

Sons Of The Forest 1.0 Graphical Advancements

From the outset, the series has represented a significant graphical leap in the world of survival games, with stunning views, terrains, and overall ambience, along with an integrated smart weather system/cycle. Sons Of The Forest has taken this to all-new levels with much more dynamic weather and its impact on the game world’s appearance.

Especially notable is the way the atmosphere affects things on the ground and the ground itself. One example is how a patch of clouds, sliding under the sun and covering it, creates shade for a time, just like in real life. When the autumn breeze swirls around the trees, it makes leaves swing wildly and creates wheezing sounds, mirroring real life. And when winter strikes, the snow covers all ground vegetation, grass, and trees, providing a true feeling of real-life winters.

Sons Of The Forest creators should indeed be commended for their dedication and great attention to detail.

Now, to add to all the advancements, they have integrated AMD’s FSR3 technology, which improves the visual quality of the game even more for players across all hardware.

Sons Of The Forest Music

While there were some music and sound effects in the Early Access version of the game, they have now added more sound effects, dialogues, and music for different scenarios and cutscenes in the game.

The choice of music is quite good if one were to point it out. The old Synthwave kind of music seems to fit into the narrative and the type of story the creators of the game intended it to be. The music feels good.

Whole Lot Of Additions And Updates In Sons Of The Forest 1.0

Due to the sheer number of upgrades and additions in all different aspects of the game, the article has only critically analyzed and reviewed the aspects which have some kind of impact on either the story or the game itself. If one wishes to read all about the rest of the new things in the game, here’s a link.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The game is undoubtedly graphically superior to almost all the survival open-world games currently being played by fans of the genre. Stunning visuals, ambience, and realistic aesthetics set the game apart from the rest of the bunch. Considering that it is made by a relatively small and still fresh gaming studio, this is indeed praiseworthy.

However, the story aspect of the game is hit-and-miss. As discussed in the above sections, the previous game integrated storytelling and narrative aspects with such perfection that it elevated the quality of the game. With this game, fans were hoping for the same seamless integration of the story, but unfortunately, it was not to be. And the current 1.0 update did little to nothing to improve upon it.

So, if anyone is going into the game thinking that they would get the same kind of story integration, then they would be greatly disappointed. But, if they just want to experience the graphical spectacle that it offers, then they will surely have a good time playing the game.

It is considerably easier than the previous game, which shouldn’t be the case given the amount of threat present in the game. The addition of so many military-grade weapons, as well as items like gliders and vehicles (sort of), only serves to make the game easier, which is unfortunately quite disappointing. It’s so easy that even the addition of two more threats did not have any effect on the difficulty level of the game.

Given the game has such a vast island, likely bigger than any survival open-world game, it could have spread itself more evenly across the island, utilizing the large chunks of land that currently lack significance. They did try to improve upon it by adding a few interesting points here and there, but given the size of the island, there is still a long way to go.

Hopefully, fans will get to see more improvements and upgrades that address all of these concerns to help the game reach the heights it truly deserves. Since it is just a 1.0 update, there could be more to come.

In conclusion, the game is absolutely stunning and should be played for its amazing design, ambience, graphical quality, and of course, gameplay. While it could have improved in some aspects, nothing can take away from the fact that it is a breath of fresh air in the genre of open-world survival games. Everyone reading this should experience the game for what it is.

We at EsportsNext strive to provide readers and gamers with all the latest news, guides, reviews and everything gaming. Please check out the rest of the work too, and keep yourself updated.

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Abdullah Jan
Abdullah Jan
Abdullah is a die-hard PlayStation fan and believes in Red Dead Redemption II supremacy. He is a storyteller himself, so his love for story-driven and realistic games is a no-brainer. He gives his two-cents on everything, he's that generous!

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