Put a few humans in outer space for a story set in the future and the result always seems to be that nothing will go their way. That’s once again the broad strokes of this latest space thriller, Fort Solis, but the intrigue, as ever, is in the details. Developer Fallen Leaf does a good job of hiding the satisfying answers to its central mysteries up to the very end, which makes its story consistently absorbing even as some of its gameplay elements betray its own Hollywood-inspired intentions.
Fort Solis is a third-person adventure game that tells a story reminiscent of Moon and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s slow, sometimes to a fault, and more concerned with its message and themes than action set-pieces. That doesn’t mean it’s a low-stakes tale. On the contrary, the secrets tucked away in Fort Solis are existential, but it’s expressed through the eyes of a small cast of interesting characters whom you’ll get to know over the game’s five-hour story.
Fort Solis has AAA aspirations, and it shows quite clearly in a few ways. For one, the game looks gorgeous. Built in Unreal Engine and presenting gameplay in an over-the-shoulder style, it would be easy to mistake this indie for the next big-budget cinematic thriller. That’s further solidified by its exceptional cast headlined by Roger Clark and Troy Baker, but the complete cast of about 10 or so people is just as well-written and with great performances to match. Clark’s Leary and Julia Brown’s Jessica Appleton do well to color in the world in the first hour, including their own characters who would otherwise be amorphous Mars transplants in drab uniforms.
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