Developer: Outpost Games
Publisher: Outpost Games
SOS is a first-person battle royale game along the same vein as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Unlike the many copycat games out there ruffling the PUBG developer’s feathers, SOS is not a new skin slapped on a popular idea. This game isn’t simply a game of hunting and killing every other player. While that’s one way to go about it, killing the other contestants isn’t even the primary goal of a match. Thanks to the folks at Outpost Games, GameZone got a first-hand look at a preview build over the weekend and we can say first hand that SOS is a unique experience.
SOS puts people 16 players on an island and tasks them with escaping the island by collecting relics and extracting via helicopter. The catch is that there are only three relics and 16 players. You have to decide who to team up with, who you can trust all the way to the end, and who can keep you alive while you escape with the relic for the team.
The coolest innovation here is the way you interact with other players.
Mics are a must in SOS. When in close proximity to another player, you can hear their mic, and they can hear yours. You also have a radio with 16 channels. The default channel is channel 1, but you and a teammate can decide to hop on another frequency to chat on in case you get separated from shouting distance. This does mean, however, that you can be spied on by a crafty player.
The game really plays itself out like a reality show. You pick an ‘actor’ and all the players get introduced in pairs like a reality show. You even get a three-second countdown before your intro so you can plan to say something clever. At the end of the match, survivors (and particularly notable losers) get a closing comment as well. The cleverness and creativity of a player may make or break the game’s staying power, but the time spent with developers and other internet personalities in our private preview matches was more than enjoyable and worth the charisma gamble of other players.
Death puts you in the audience seat.
Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are fun. Is anybody really shocked by that statement? But it’s pretty understandable that it’s significantly less fun to spectate after death. But with the reality TV motif SOS has, dying doesn’t mean game over. After kicking the bucket, players are put in the audience. Currently, living players can see at the bottom of their HUD how many people are spectating. This includes dead players, those who choose in-game to watch, and Twitch viewers. Each match populates its own Twitch stream. Dead players can choose what the next airdrop will supply the remaining players with. Did that last guy betray you and you later saw him get infected by one of the rage zombies? Better make sure he doesn’t get an antidote. Or maybe you’d rather supply the enemy team with a gun or other weapons to take out your betrayer? It’s like getting to haunt your killer! Viewers can also react to the action in a Facebook Live-like fashion with react buttons, which players can see in the aforementioned HUD.
SOS is more about negotiation than loot hoarding.
You have a limited amount of space for inventory. There’s no body armor, and defensive items include skulls, hatchets, crude knives, and the rare pistol. There are also healing items like papayas that regain health and mushrooms that stave off infections (but doesn’t cure them completely, that’s what the even rarer antidote is for).
Killing other players is thus no longer a no-brainer, as an ally may prove more advantageous than a corpse riddled with loot. Plus, killing particularly vengeful players could end up hurting you when supply drops come and all they vote to send you are items you don’t need. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have him cover your back while you bring the relic to the extraction point?
SOS is still in closed beta, so the action is still able to be curated by developers somewhat. The hope I have coming out of the preview is that the creativity keeps rolling and a fanbase is found to keep the game as unique as it is in its current form.
SOS is set for full launch in early 2018. Keep an eye on GameZone for more news and the eventual release of the game!