Fort Solis first got the attention of video game fans due to its talented voice cast. The Last of Us star Troy Baker and Red Dead Redemption II standout Roger Clark play two key characters, with the talented actress Julia Brown in another pivotal role. With great performances and an intriguing story, this small-scale yet highly polished sci-fi adventure time is worth experiencing for the four or so hours it lasts.
Besides the occasional quick-time event prompt, there’s not much actual action in Fort Solis. Instead, the adventure game focuses on exploration and the occasional puzzle in order to let the atmosphere soak in. Called out to explore a sector on Mars that has sent out a distress signal and went into lockdown, players start their journey with little information. It’s up to them to piece together the story by finding documents, video logs, and voice recordings. It’s nothing revolutionary, but there’s a real sense of unease — especially as the game goes on — and the story stays compelling the entire time.
What I particularly enjoyed about Fort Solis’ story was that there was room for ambiguity. While so much media nowadays is obsessed with giving you every single detail and leaving little up to interpretation, there’s still some wiggle room and questions that linger once the credits roll here. This all makes sense — people wouldn’t document every small detail — and allows for the game’s themes and plot lines to really sink in.
Fort Solis is also quite polished, with impressive visuals and enough sheen that you might think this is a bigger production than it actually is. Rather than being a triple-A title like Dead Space, this game is on a much smaller scale and built around it. If you come to expect big action setpieces and to be running around a ton of varied space environments (you can’t even run in this game), you’ll find yourself quite disappointed in what the game isn’t. However, this works in its favor as many smaller games try to be overly ambitious, and Fort Solis knows exactly what the team could pull off and doesn’t overstep that line.
The most impressive part of the game is undeniably Troy Baker’s layered performance. Baker is almost always a highlight in any game, show, or movie that he’s in, but it’s great to see him have so much to work with here. His character’s video logs are thrilling as he imparts such realistic pauses and small details into his performance. It’s some of the best work in his career, one that is already filled with highlights. Baker acts his ass off, and it’s worth checking out for his performance alone — so the fact that there’s a captivating story on top of it is all the better.
There are some minor gripes that hold the game back from reaching its full potential. The in-game map is terrible and sometimes misleading. In general, text is far too small for a television, and it was clearly meant to be played on a PC. The player’s walking speed is a bit slow, so backtracking can become an annoyance. There’s the occasional performance issue, but there’s no real action, so it doesn’t matter much. A few puzzles are simpler than they seem and just obtuse due to poor explanations or interface issues. Ultimately, these slightly detract from the experience but never get in the way of the larger picture.
Fort Solis Review: The Final Verdict
Fort Solis isn’t without its issues, but the sci-fi adventure game tells an interesting mystery and is unafraid to deal with ambiguity. Troy Baker puts on a marvelous performance that is likely the year’s best in video games, and he has enough compelling material for it not to be wasted. Overall, if you’re willing to overlook some rough edges, you’ll find an intriguing story that is worth the four hours it takes to beat the game.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7.5 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.
Disclaimer: This Fort Solis review is based on a PS5 copy provided by the publisher. Reviewed on version 1.000.000.